TRU WolfPack unlikely to join NCAA anytime soon

The emphasis of sports over school isn’t necessarily in line with university’s values

Though NCAA teams usually play in packed venues, the structure of the league is much different from both
Canada West and USports. The experience of NCAA teams makes joining a challenge as well. (Frank Gruber/Flickr)

A few years back there was talk that TRU might join the NCAA, the American collegiate sports system, a system with arguably the best college sports programs.

American college games are great to watch, stadiums are full, the contests entertaining, and the coverage is exceptional but, the structure is very different to that of USports and Canada west.

The NCAA has a higher level of competition, it has helped produced some of the world’s best athletes.

Joining the NCAA might be beneficial to athletes as they would have to improve their performance to compete with better competition.

The biggest problem one could argue, would be the increased emphasis of sports over school, a very divisive topic.

Will the WolfPack program be moving to the NCAA anytime soon?

Athletic director Curtis Atkinson confirmed that the chances of that happening are low, he elaborated on the reasons why when he graciously spoke with the Omega.

“Very unlikely, certainly not on the cards right now,” Atkinson said. “We are really proud of our membership in Canada west.”

Atkinson further explained that the idea has not even been discussed yet.

Atkinson mentioned the fact that he liked the aspect of being a student first then an athlete over being an athlete then a student, something which he is not sure is the case with the NCAA.

“NCAA is a different model,” Atkinson said, “What we see on television is exciting, and it gets a lot of people’s attention, if you look at the crowds at basketball games and football games on TV.”

Atkinson further explained that what people see on television doesn’t necessarily tell the full story about the NCAA program and the challenges behind it.

“The reality is that it is not the full NCAA experience and that’s a select few sports and schools where there is huge crowd attendance,” Atkinson said.“I honestly don’t see a real benefit right now for us to even consider that option.”

The NCAA can be considered as something that provides a financial benefit but, the issue of college athletes getting paid is often debated, an issue TRU might not want to deal with.

The issue of having to pay coaches lots of money could create major problems for TRU as well, as most competitive programs tend to have well paid coaches.

The idea of academics suffering might not be very attractive to the WolfPack program, it is something that is often maligned by some about the NCAA program.

“There would obviously be escalation in costs,” Atkinson remarked, “Travel considerations would be really challenging.”

Atkinson further reiterated the importance of being a student athlete.

“Again I don’t want to compromise the student part of being a student athlete,” he said.

One could argue TRU joining the NCAA might lead to better recruitment, as many players might see the opportunity of playing against American schools more appealing.

The money that such a transition might bring would be of great benefit to the university.

There are plenty of issues that can be debated in relation to the idea of TRU joining the NCAA but, at this point it is just a hypothetical debate, sometime in the future it may become a real option to consider.