McGill athletes shutout

McGill athletes shutout McGill University

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Home > McGill News > 2000 > Fall 2000 > Newsbites > McGill athletes shutout

McGill athletes shut out


Despite recent changes to the policies governing athletic scholarships set out by the Canadian Interuniversity Athletic Union (CIAU), McGill student athletes still aren't being shown the money. That's because the Ontario University Athletic Association (OUAA) -- in whose leagues most McGill athletes compete when outside Quebec -- still refuses to allow the scholarships. "Even though most of their schools voted for the CIAU changes," says Bob Dubeau, McGill's Director of Athletics.

Athletic scholarships have been a controversial subject for the CIAU, the federation that coordinates and regulates university athletic competition, and its 48 member universities.

Last year, the CIAU was on the brink of disintegration over the same issues, specifically the awarding of athletic scholarships to first-year university students. Supporters argued that Canadian athletics was suffering a "brawn drain" as the best university-age athletes headed south where U.S. scholarship dollars flowed like Gatorade. Opponents objected that the academic entry standards of universities could be compromised and that such awards could be a financial strain for smaller universities. Ontario in particular was steadfastly against such awards.

Now Quebec schools, which favour the awards, find themselves stuck in the middle and fear a brawn drain within Canada itself. "I know there are a number of Quebec schools that say 'we will cease to be competitive because we'll be losing athletes to Atlantic Canada and the West,'" says Dubeau, "and I don't think some of those schools are willing to let that happen."

The OUAA will decide later this year on the issue of athletic scholarships for the year 2001-02. "If Ontario chooses not to abide by CIAU policy, then Quebec schools will have a very difficult decision to make," says Dubeau. Possible scenarios include withdrawal or expulsion from the Ontario leagues in which McGill teams compete in football, hockey and many other sports.

Under CIAU rules, a new student has to have a minimum grade average of 80% to qualify for an award. The new policy allows for athletic scholarships from universities or private funding to match students' annual tuition fees (plus all compulsory fees), instead of the previous limit of $1,500 a year. With average tuition fees in Canada currently at $3,379 and some schools charging much more than that, the new rules are very attractive to athletes.

"This better reflects the cost of university education and the dedication required to be a student athlete," said CIAU president Wendy Bedingfield. According to CIAU statistics, Canadian student athletes received nearly $2 million in athletic awards in 1997-98. Student athletes in Quebec will have to wait and see whether some of those funds make it their way in the 2001-02 season.

Twin degrees


They were seeing double at the University of Edinburgh this July, and it wasn't from the single malt scotch. Bernard (on the right) and Harold Shapiro were in town for a special honour.

While they aren't given to dressing exactly alike every day, the identical twins are certainly starting to make a habit of accepting twinned honorary degrees. The McGill principal and his brother, president of Princeton University, were awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Edinburgh, the fourth joint trip to the convocation podium for the university leaders. They have previously been awarded honorary degrees together by McGill, the University of Toronto, and Yeshiva University in New York.

"I'm not sure why people want to do it," Bernard Shapiro told the Montreal Gazette. "I think that perhaps it's because it's not common to have twin brothers doing the same kind of thing." Said University of Edinburgh Vice Chancellor, Sir Stewart Sutherland, "The millennium is an exceptional occasion on which to make twinned exceptional awards to honour two eminent scholars and university heads."

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