By Caroline Alphonso
Ryerson’s basketball coaches can’t offer recruits many things to entice them to come to the school. The Rams don’t have the same notoriety, funding, or fan support that many other schools do. However, recruiters can offer something no other school can: a Ryerson degree.
The Ontario University Athletics association doesn’t allow schools to give scholarships to athletes. Even though schools outside of Ontario are allowed to offer scholarships, the OUA believe students shouldn’t be paid to play. Getting a degree should be the student-athlete’s top priority, according to the OUA.
This situation makes it harder for universities to attract athletes to Ontario. These athletes choose universities in the United States that give them big scholarships. As a result, Ontario universities lose good players.
Recruits are players that coaches actively pursue in hopes they will attend Ryerson. Rookies are players that already go to the school and try out for the team on their own.
The men’s team has two recruits on this year’s roster. The women’s team has eight.
The men’s and women’s basketball coaches (including assistant coach Richard Dean) work through the summer and the school year recruiting players. This includes driving to an athlete’s home and talking to their parents. A second trip is sometimes necessary, as well as extending an invitation to see the Ryerson campus.
“My wife thought I was crazy over the summer,” Haggerty said.
Haggerty said Ryerson is a notch above any U.S. school because it offers real courses for a real degree. Many American universities offer basketball as one of the courses a player takes through the semester.
“Ryerson’s great programs are the easiest sell,” he said. “We may bot have won the championship, but I a impressed with the people we get here.”
Even though they have never won anything significant, the men’s basketball team has still made it to the playoffs each of the past five years.
“We’ve been knocking on the door for so many years now, and we’ll keep knocking on the door this year,” Haggerty said. “You have to show new players you’re moving ahead or you’ll lose them.”
Having a winning team at Ryerson is the best way to get new players. Ryerson has been part of the OUA for the past three decades, but has never own a provincial title.
Richard Dean, assistant coach for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, said recruiting players is hard regardless of whether the school has won a title or not. The way to make Ryerson teams known is to profile the high-calibre players better.
“If you have a winning team in a high profile sport, it increases the profile of the school,” he said. “Making some of these players marquee players would help.”
The women’s basketball team has good players who are not recognized yet, women’s basketball coach Sandra Pothier said. Right now, she is concentrating on the improvements her team is making at the interuniversity level.
“We have been very competitive. When we’re losing, we’re not losing to some schmuck,” she said.
The increased competition, along with a degree, is the key to attracting athletes to Ryerson, Pothier said.