UBC not joining the NCAA -- yet

Plan to become the first Canadian university in the main U.S. college sports league is delayed for at least a year

The University of British Columbia will wait until at least next year before deciding if it will join the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division II in the United States.

The NCAA, the main U.S. college sports league, opened membership beyond the U.S. for the first time in January 2009 as a pilot project with Canadian schools. UBC is currently a member of Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS).

A report by a UBC committee did not recommend for or against a UBC application to join the NCAA.

“A lack of answers to critical questions means deferral until at least 2010 of a decision on whether or not to apply for membership,” the university said in a release Thursday.

One of the reports co-authors said respondents to surveys and open houses were divided on the benefits of joining the NCAA. David Farrar, the UBC’s vice-president academic, also said there remains insufficient information to allow the university to determine NCAA suitability before a June 2009 window for application.

“There are some critical unanswered questions that leave open options as to whether or not NCAA participation is the appropriate way to go for the university and its student athletes,” Farrar said.

Among the questions is whether or not UBC could receive an exemption from the NCAA for its academic accreditation requirement.

Further unresolved issues revolve around discussions about the level of competitive opportunities and financial support for student athletes that UBC and other universities are having with CIS, the main body in which most UBC athletes currently compete.

It is also unlikely to be clear until after the June NCAA deadline whether or not CIS will allow universities to compete in both the CIS and the NCAA.

– The Canadian Press