By Amit Shilton
Ryerson has injected the sports and recreation department with more than $100,000, but the funds aren’t making their way to the varsity squads.
Instead, teams have seen their budgets shrink as the money is spread into other initiatives.
Zouheir Fawaz, vice-provost students, said the department is planning on spending between $20,000 to $45,000 on academic scholarships for returning students for the first time ever. Students who maintain a 2.67 GPA are now eligible to receive up to $3,500. The school has already spent more than $60,000 on first-year student scholarships this year.
Additional money is also being spent this year establishing a women’s hockey team, renovating athletic facilities and sprucing up the second floor of the Kerr Hall offices among other things, Fawaz said.
“Where it might be perceived there’s less, you sometimes do internal moving of funds,” said Fawaz, adding that the moves were made in the hopes of attracting a new athletic director. “I see it as a net gain for sports and recreation.”
But Ryerson’s varsity coaches are still feeling shortchanged.
The coaches met with Marion Creery, director of Student Services, at the end of last year to negotiate their budgets for this year. Nearly all of the teams had their budgets cut, each by a different amount.
“Some got cut, some didn’t get cut as much,” said Jean Kennedy, Ryerson’s acting athletic director. “It just depended on how they worked their way through it.”
Mirek Porosa, head coach of the men’s volleyball team — arguably Ryerson’s most successful program — said budget cuts have made it harder for him to organize exhibition games.
“It’s a significant amount of money,” Porosa said. “Right now we have to focus on tournaments only.”
Graham Wise, head coach of the men’s hockey team, acknowledged that there have been changes to his budget, but feels that he already has a fair amount to operate his program. Bob Cholette’s women’s volleyball team has also had its budget reduced.
“It may seem like reducing in one area to give more in another area,” Fawaz said.
But Kennedy points out that although a team’s budget may be set in stone, coaches have the flexibility to use the money any way they want. It’s the first time this option has been available.
“As long as the coach stays within the budget, they can move stuff around,” Kennedy said.
Creery referred any questions about the athletic budget to Fawaz.