The University of Calgary announced Wednesday it has cut funding to two CIS team sports, men's soccer and women's field hockey.
It's not a final decision; the release says "alternative funding models" will be explored by both programs to keep them in Canada West. The upshot is that Calgary will concentrate on football, basketball, hockey (the women's team will likely join CIS in 2009-10), volleyball and women's soccer, along with the individual sports: Track and field, wrestling and swimming.
It seems understandable, as much as this sucks for the affected athletes. Across Canada, there's a movement for universities to concentrate scarce resources (cough) on what they do best. Offering a women's soccer program is justifiable, since men probably have more opportunities to play outside of university (more intramural leagues, more club teams, more leisure time as they move into their late 20s and 30s). Maybe they can organize a tea party.
A university doesn't owe people a varsity team. At the same time, it should preserve individual sports such as track, swimming and cross-country for the same reason a school has to have an English or philosophy department. It's sort of central to the idea of university that you offer these sports that might not be sexy, but reveal character and discipline. (Sorry to get so flowery!)
UC Dinos announce programming changes (press release)