By Mike Ghenu
Ryerson cricketers have come a step closer to putting the sport on the map at the university level, but the onus is on them to prove how viable such a club is in the long run.
The Ryerson Student Cricket Association has reached a deal with the RAC that will give them six hours of gym time each week. As a result, the RSCA plans to organize an indoor cricket season starting next month, which they hope will attract more interested cricketers and generate further interest for the game on campus.
“We’ve heard the interest,” said athletics director David Dubois. “We’re providing space, so now we need to see them participate.”
The RSCA came together two years ago, a group of people united by a common interest who simply wanted to bowl (and bat). Since 2002, the RSCA has grown to 170 members. Students in all years are eager batsmen.
The group’s long-term goal is to organize a varsity team, and play against other universities. But for that to happen, the sport has to show viability and sustainability, according to Dubois.
“There aren’t the resources at the time to fund another varsity team,” he said.
The first step for the RSCA is gaining club status. This will earn them the right to charge club fees and also get help in purchasing equipment. Currently, the cricketers pay for equipment out of their own pockets.
Being recognized as a team could help with their finances.
“Merchandisers support university teams, so we need to be recognized,” said Umair Dossani, the RSCA’s spokesperson, and also a third-year electrical engineering student.
“We used to play in the hallways sometimes,” said Sharjil Khan, a fourth-year mechanical engineer.
When they were asked to stop, Khan went elsewhere. “We played in the quad on an off and on basis,” said third-year business student Salman Ali Khan, the president and co-founder of the group.
In the past, the RSCA has organized intra-university tournaments, involving groups like the Bangladeshi Student Association to the Business student association. Now, their newly earned gym time will enable them to build a grassroots program.
Ontario University Athletics does not yet recognize cricket as a varsity sport.
However, that was also once the case with baseball, Dubois noted.
Once a few universities began to organize teams and started playing each other. It was only a matter of time until the OUA recognized baseball as a sport.