On Thursday, U SPORTS (Canada’s interuniversity sports administration) announced policy changes to athletic scholarships and eligibility, effective for the 2024-2025 season.
These changes will have a large impact on first-year student athletes, with the new policy only requiring acceptance and enrollment at a member institution in order for athletes to receive an athletic scholarship and participate in sports at their university. This replaces the previous requirement that athletes must have a minimum average of 80 per cent in their last year of high school (or CEGEP) to receive a scholarship, and a minimum average of 60 per cent just to participate in university sports.
Another change requires member institutions to distribute a minimum 45 per cent of their total Athletic Scholarship Units to student-athletes on men’s teams, and a minimum 45 per cent to the student-athletes on women’s teams. These scholarship units cover the entire tuition and fees of student-athletes.
According to statements released by U SPORTS, CEO Pierre Arsenault said that the goal of these policy changes is to “remove systemic barriers impacting a student-athlete’s ability to participate in U SPORTS and receive funding assistance for their education” as well as “make university studies and sports participation more accessible.” He also adds that they “are proud to work with [their] member institutions to ensure equitable opportunities for AFA support.”