The University of British Columbia announced Tuesday that it will not join the National Collegiate Athletic Association but instead will maintain its membership with Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The university considered moving to the NCAA’s Division II -- which opened up membership to Canadian institutions in 2008 as part of larger efforts to differentiate itself from Divisions I and III -- partially “because of concerns that the CIS was limiting the opportunities available to student athletes.” Though university officials say that “the CIS has not yet resolved these issues,” they say their institution is staying in the CIS to “drive change.” Stephen J. Toope, university president, said in a statement: “I believe that significant reforms within CIS, which must also include enhancing scholarship opportunities, will offer Canadian student athletes the kind of competitive opportunities they need and deserve. [The University of British Columbia’s] consultation process has contributed greatly to preparing the ground for the changes that are required for CIS to become the effective competitive arena that will offer student athletes here at [the University of British Columbia] and across Canada a better future.”
Simon Fraser University, a neighboring institution in British Columbia, announced in 2009 that it was making moves to become the first Canadian institution to join the NCAA, specifically Division II. Simon Fraser is currently in the process of being reviewed for accreditation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and University because the NCAA is mandating that all Canadian institutions seeking membership be accredited in the United States.