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Memorial conducting review of competitive sports

May 7, 2013

Memorial is reviewing the role competitive sports play in the life of the university. Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor, has established a university task force to carry out a formal review of the current competitive inter-university (varsity) sports program at Memorial that will inform the development of the varsity sports program from 2013 to 2020. 

“We will look at all aspects of athletics, including past activities and future goals and expectations,” said Dr. Kachanoski.

The Task Force on Competitive Sports will be chaired by Dr. Mary Bluechardt, Memorial’s vice-president (Grenfell Campus) and a former director of the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation.

Other members of the task force are Dr. Sandy LeFort, acting deputy provost (students) and associate vice-president (academic) undergraduate studies; Dr. Scott MacKinnon, interim dean, School of Human Kinetics and Recreation; Michelle Healey, director, Athletics; Dr. Linda Hensman, dean, School of Pharmacy; student-athlete Matthew Hamlyn; Mark MacKinnon, Graduate Students’ Union; Lisa Murphy, MUNSU; men’s basketball coach Peter Benoite; Bill Chislett, director of MI International at the Marine Institute; and an external member, Mark Jones, assistant deputy minister, provincial Division of Sport and Recreation.

The group’s initial meeting takes place March 13 at which point a timeline for further meetings and reporting results will be discussed. 

The last university-level review of the competitive inter-university (varsity) sports program at Memorial, titled Now is the Time, occurred in 2005.

Memorial has about 175 student athletes, with men’s and women’s teams competing in soccer, cross-country running, basketball, volleyball, swimming and wrestling.

The varsity sports supported by Memorial on the St. John’s campus (Sea-Hawks) have been fixed for more than 20 years, said Dr. Bluechardt. Since then, there has been a number of changes with significant impact on varsity sports programs at Memorial and nationally.

“Today in Canada, we are seeing progressively increasing levels of competition in most sports and the introduction and availability of athletic scholarships at Canadian universities,” said Dr. Bluechardt. “It’s a good time to re-examine the role of competitive sport at this university.”