Can West review sidelines football application for UBCO

UBC Okanagan and the Okanagan Sun will have a little extra time to plan for the anticipated arrival of Canadian university football to Kelowna.

Due in large part to rapid growth in membership over the last decade, the Canada West Universities Athletics Association this year placed a moratorium on accepting new applications for varsity teams.

Following a strategic review, the conference executive chose to put on hold the possibility of adding football at UBC Okanagan.

With the moratorium expected to be in place for the next 12 to 15 months, it will be mid-2015 at the earliest before UBCO will be eligible to submit an application for a Canada West football program.

Still, UBC Okanagan Director of Athletics Rob Johnson said the decision doesn't adversely affect plans between the university and the Sun to field a football team.

“We are not yet in a position to make formal application to Canada West, as there are still a number of issues to be negotiated between UBC and the Sun,” said Johnson. “The moratorium is not a huge setback at this time. In fact, the time frame Canada West suggests falls roughly in line with our thoughts on the earliest time we would be in position to submit an application.“

Serious negotiations between the Sun and UBC Okanagan to bring CIS football to the valley have been ongoing for the last two years.

While Sun president Paul Carson regrets the delay in the process, he admits it may strengthen the application in the long run.

"There is still a lot that needs to be done, ongoing issues that need to be addressed, so the good thing is, this will give us an opportunity to revisit and focus on those," he said. “We have spent a lot of time and energy on this project and intend on seeing it through to the end regardless of delays. It has no bearing on our situation, we'll proceed as planned.

"Yes, we're disappointed, but it may work out well in the end.”

Regardless of the time frame, Carson said the Sun will continue to groom and prepare the program for an eventual step up to the university level.

Discussions between UBC Okanagan and Kelowna's junior football team will also continue.


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