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By James Mirtle

Wondering what this announcement of a referendum means?

Well, the administration has gotten their way, but this may go down as a darkweek for Ryerson’s varsity teams. Aside from the obvious problemswith the RAC moving away from a user pay system-namely the mass influx of users to an undersized facilitythe threat that a no vote couldbring an end to some inter-university teams should raise concern.

Keep in mind that the RAC’s current pay-for-use system has worked well in its current incarnation, as those who use the facility fork over the extra $45 for two semesters.

It’s also debatable whether the RAC could accommodate the additional load a free system would create. As for the proposed free intramural programs:

Why should the onus for special services be placed on people who have no need for them? One would be hard-pressed to convince this student body that intramurals constitute a core part of the university.

This is not to mention the prohibitively high costs of some intramural teams-ice hockey especially – which would be sustained by everyone. The downfall of the referendum may not be in its intentions, but rather in the outcome.

One finds it hard to believe that students-many of whom are commuters and don’t use RAC facilities-will rally behind this cause.

Many students feel tuition fees are already too high and subsidizing intramurals and gym costs will be a tough sell. Many also already begrudge having to pay $60 apiece for the current services provided by the school’s sports department.

The most unfortunate aspect of the deal is the notion that should the referendum be voted down, the school’s varsity teams would be threatened with having to fold. Details about where the funds would end up are still hazy, but it seems that a yes vote would benefit the RAC and intramurals, and a no vote would lead to the extinction of select varsity teams.

So Ryerson’s beleaguered sports teams have little to gain and everything to lose in this referendum. If this really is a vote to save our teams, like RAC director David Dubois has said in the past, let’s put the bulk of the funding towards varsity teams. Now students are being asked to vote for one aspect of the university to save another.

It’s an unfortunate situation for a program whose hardworking coaches and athletes deserve much better.

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