A fundamental shift has taken place in Ontario regarding athletics awards.Ontario universities will now be able to offer awards to entrance athletes. Lakehead University took a leadership role with this issue and played a critical part in bringing it forward and ultimately seeing it reach approval by the OUA (Ontario University Association). As Tom Warden, Director of Athletics, points out – Lakehead University, from the Board of Governors and Senior Administration, has been solidly behind this move and consistently demonstrated support for the policy change.
Prior to this development in policy, awards for athletics were available only to continuing students. As a result, Canadian universities were at a distinct disadvantage in recruiting top athletes. Students can now be recruited on the basis of athletic ability and Ontario universities will be in the position to offer those athletes significant assistance.
Ontario universities will now be in a more competitive position when recruiting top athletes from across Canada. Each potential recruit will be assessed by the respective coach and the athletics director, to determine status as an elite athlete. This status, along with an academic component, would make the student eligible for an athletics award. An athlete entering university must have an 80% average, and to qualify for the athletics award in continuing years, the athlete must maintain a 70% average.
This change has exciting implications for Lakehead University as it seeks to strengthen and build upon an athletics program, already recognized for its innovation and success.