The University of Regina (U of R) has eliminated both men’s and women’s wrestling from its athletics program as well as the men’s volleyball team.
Faculty of Kinesiology dean Harold Riemer said in a statement that this was an extremely difficult decision.
“While our elite sports teams are a source of pride for the University, reducing the number of teams on campus enables us to concentrate efforts,” Riemer said.
“We will look to meet the teaching and programming needs of a faculty where enrolments have increased by 31 per cent over the past five years, and more effectively support competitive excellence within our remaining U SPORTS teams.”
The discontinuation of these teams come from recommendations in the January 2017 U of R Athletics Programming and Operations Report. The review included consultations with many stakeholders, including student athletes.
The report stated “supporting 16 programs is unsustainable.”
Now, there are 13 teams at the U of R. The university says this is more sustainable and more closely aligned with similarly sized institutions.
“We recognize that this is a difficult announcement for our student athletes. We are committed to supporting those athletes affected by this announcement by honouring scholarships and other accommodations made as long as the students remain in good academic standing at the University of Regina,” said Riemer.
The U of R’s statement goes on to say that due to this transition, two full-time coaching positions will be reduced and one term-contract position will not be renewed.
The U of R saw a five per cent funding reduction in the 2017-18 budget, and the status quo in this budget. U of R president Vianne Timmons said more layoffs are coming, but Advanced Education
Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said the end of these teams is not reflective of provincial funding.
“Those recommendations came out in 2017, prior to the last two budgets. So I think it was a matter of consulting with industry experts; as I understand it athletic associations, and making decisions on that basis,” Beaudry-Mellor said.
Beaudry-Mellor said she has spoken with Riemer about this, and is pleased to see the U of R will honour the scholarships of affected student athletes.