Athletics seasons cancelled at the University of Alberta 'for financial reasons'
EDMONTON -- The University of Alberta has pulled out of the Canada West seasons for hockey, basketball and volleyball for 2020-21 because of a lack of revenue.
The decision impacts both the Golden Bears and Pandas teams and up to 120 student-athletes.
"The Athletics budget is no longer able to support participation for the 2020/2021 season," athletic director Ian Reade said in a written release. "While this is an extremely hard decision for us, it is in the best interest of the student-athletes that we make this decision now so their future is somewhat more clear."
Golden Bears and Pandas Athletics said it will focus on training and athlete development for the upcoming season and will maintain funding for student-athletes who receive Atheltic Financial Assistance.
Reade said the funding shortfall is due to cuts to the Campus Alberta Grant, the temporary waiving of the University of Alberta Athletics and Recreation student fee and the need for the university as a whole to reduce its expenditures.
The U of A is facing over $100 million in cuts after funding changes outlined in the province's 2020 budget, released before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alberta's advanced education minister said that he was disappointed with the U of A's decision.
"I have been clear with our institutions that they are to look first at administrative spending when finding cost-savings and efficiencies," Demetrios Nicolaides said in a written statement. "While some might wish to see tax hikes - during extremely tough economic times – to fund university sports, this is not a position the government shares."
Canada West announced on June 8 that all team competitions in the first term were cancelled because of COVID-19.
The organization released a statement on the U of A's decision online.
The university will participate in Canada West tournament sports including curling, swimming, wrestling, track and field, cross country and rugby sevens.