Kwantlen student athletes face new school season without varsity athletics program Gurneet Samra
Kwantlen Polytechnic University students have returned this fall without cheering on the Eagles varsity sports teams for the first time in 14 seasons. The athletics program was cut last year due to budget realignment. Former women’s soccer co-captain Chelsey Lal says she feels blindsided by the decision. Administration gave short notice and did not consult with student athletes when the school parted ways with sports authority PACWEST. Lal is passionate about soccer and says that it motivates her to continue post-secondary education, as student athletes were required to maintain a 2.0 GPA at Kwantlen. She also received a sports scholarship. Angered by the decision, Lal has not registered for classes this fall and questions her future. “I was scouted by other universities but I have always wanted to represent the Eagles. The school let me down. They don’t believe we can stay competitive. I’m eligible
to play for one more year and now I feel lost because if I leave [KPU] for good, I face problems – some of my credits are non-transferrable, and I’ll lose my scholarship.” Kwantlen Vice-Provost, Students, Jane Fee acknowledges that it was a shock to students. “It wasn’t a conversation where we could consult [with students] because of PACWEST’s structure.” Fee says there are alternatives for students who want to play sports. The university introduced an intramural program this fall that has 122 students involved in various sports, compared to the 95 students that played on varsity teams last year. The intramural sports are available to all KPU students, but the games are facilitated at the Surrey campus and there is a registration waitlist. Lal says several of her teammates left KPU this year to continue playing varsity level soccer. According to Fee, the loss of the athletics program has not impacted enrollment.
Sources Chelsey Lal, former student athlete. Contact: 778-628-0796 Jane Fee, Vice-Provost, Students at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Contact: 604-5993477
Where I found the story I was aware that Kwantlen cut its athletics program when I read about it on The Surrey Leader’s website in 2015 (http://www.surreyleader.com/news/313027911.html). More recently, my sister told me that her friend knew someone named Chelsey Lal who played for the women’s soccer team for 4 years and was very upset about the decision. I got in contact with Chelsey to hear how it impacted her and decided it would be a good angle to write an existing story from. I think my angle on the story is original because this is Kwantlen’s first year in more than a decade without having any varsity athletics (they allowed most of the teams in to finish their 2015-2016 seasons when the story first broke). I had a phone interview with KPU’s Vice Provost, Students, Jane Fee as well for new information such as if enrollment was impacted and what sports alternatives are being offered.