By Sean Tepper
They can’t compete with other university programs.
They put too much emphasis on their team’s academic performance.
They’ve never been considered as a legitimate title contender.
They’re not even known as a sports school.
Say what you want about Ryerson’s varsity teams, but the fact of the matter is that most of them will be title contenders in the near future, if not already.
A bold statement? Not really.
Years of mediocrity have forced the Ryerson Rams to fade away from the Canadian university sports scene, but fourth-year athletic director Ivan Joseph has breathed new life into the school’s athletic programs and is making a strong case to be the university’s MVP.
Sure Ryerson’s president Sheldon Levy has plans to turn Ryerson into an all-Canadian campus one over-priced building at a time, but Joseph has managed to recruit some of Canada’s most acclaimed coaches to a university whose accepted nickname used to be “Rye High.”
Now more than ever is a good time to hop on the Ryerson Rams bandwagon: both of their basketball teams and their men’s soccer team have legitimate chances to win an Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship, while their men’s hockey team and women’s soccer team are both in line for lengthy playoff runs; not to mention the fact that their women’s hockey program will be competing in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) for the first time in team history.
Couple those programs with a new rebranding of the athletics department, a wardrobe upgrade and a new facility that may or may not be ready in the next 10 years, and there’s a good reason why Eggy looks fiercer than ever.
Although you can argue that all of these changes have helped transform Ryerson from a joke of an athletic program into a potential championship contender, the most underrated and perhaps most important change that has come to the school is the support they are getting from their student body.
Despite being 98 per cent empty throughout the course of the season, the Rams managed to fill up Lamport stadium for their historic playoff run, and the stands in Kerr Hall gym were regularly filled with fans that wanted a first-hand look at Roy Rana’s men’s basketball team.
While Ryerson has a long way to go before it can consider itself an elite sporting university, the ground work has been laid and all of the necessary steps have been taken to ensure that the future will be filled with success.
And although at first he may deny it and pass off the praise to both his coaching and administrative staff, the man you can thank for thie revival of Ryerson athletics is Ivan Joseph.