Sport review

Earlier this year a new model for competitive sport at UBC was developed to reflect the university’s rich athletic history and to set the Athletics and Recreation program on a path of even greater excellence in the future. The model was formed by a think-tank of experts including senior administrators, academics, and partners in the private sector, as well as through consultation with passionate stakeholders.

The key feature of the project will be to target each of the 29 varsity sport teams within the top two strands of the new competitive sport model, which has evolved to include new strands for clubs, community clubs, intramurals and drop-in participation activities. It is important to note that the organization of the strands is subject to change as the review process proceeds and further information and feedback is received.

  1. Varsity
  2. Competitive Clubs
  3. Clubs
  4. Community Clubs
  5. Intramurals
  6. Participation

To move forward this important work, the next step in the process has been the establishment of the Sport Review Project, which is the last phase of a review process that was started 18 months ago to re-imagine sport at UBC.

The aim is to move from supporting a broad number of varsity sports to a more focused, tailored structure. The strategy that drives the Sport Review is two-fold:

  1. To elevate the quality of support for a fewer number of varsity sports, engage in purposeful sport partnerships, and create an enhanced environment of excellence for UBC’s coaches, student-athletes and Athletics Department employees.
  2. To boost the opportunities, leadership, education and support for a broader number of sports at the club, community club and intramural levels, reach out to more UBC students and increase physical activity and social connections through regular, sporting participation and competition.

There is no pre-determined number of sports for each strand in the competitive sport model, however, financial analysis will provide indications on the range in number of sports that can be supported effectively and sustainably at the highest level.


Phase 1

CMS_Phases_Phase 1

In Phase 1, we focused on having the right criteria for making decisions, and that these criteria are weighted appropriately.

Phase 2

CMS_Phases_Phase 2

We are currently in Phase 2, where we will be operationalizing the criteria by developing measures, data formats and data collection processes that will allow us to turn the criteria into actionable data. There will be an opportunity for input on the measures, data formats and data collection process at that time.

Phase 3

In Phase 3, we will be engaging with each of the teams in two stages:

Stage 1

CMS_Phases_Phase 3.1

In the first stage of the evaluation phase, all teams (varsity, club, etc.) have the opportunity to share information to address each of the finalized sport  criteria. Teams are also be encouraged to share their annual and long term plan, if available.

The advisory assessment team reviews the paper submissions made by each team and provides stage 1 feedback to all teams who apply. At this point, some teams will be targeted to the varsity strand, and the remainder may choose to move on to stage 2 after having received feedback from the assessment group.

Sport Assessment Info-graphic

Stage 2

CMS_Phases_Phase 3.2

At this point, those teams that have not been assigned as a performance/varsity team in the first stage will have a second and more detailed opportunity to engage with the advisory assessment team. All remaining teams (varsity, club, etc.) are eligible to complete a stage 2 submission. This will involve a more detailed template for completion by each team, including a five-year performance plan with attention to any new, exciting and creative ways in which the team might work to better deliver against the sport model criteria.

The advisory assessment team will have in-person discussions with the team leaders to review the submissions. After an in-depth engagement period, the last round of decision making will be communicated.

Why use two stages?

In preliminary conversations with the Sport Advisory Team, alumni, and our varsity coaches, the two stage process received positive feedback. The first stage provides a simpler, less time consuming initial evaluation period in order to reach any clear decisions about where a sport might be best placed in the competitive sports model. This will put less pressure on coaches during what could already be a difficult year of change. Stage 1 decisions will provide early clarity for a number of teams and will signal to those sports targeted for stage 2 that a more in-depth process will be required.

We hope this practical approach to the evaluation phase of sport model review will be a welcomed evolution of our process.

Phase 4

CMS_Phases_Phase 4

During Phase 4 of the project, an appeals process will be established.

The Sport Model Review process will be re-done again in approximately five years.

Composition of advisory groups

A. Sport advisory team that guided development of review criteria

  • Alnoor Aziz (UBC Associate Director supporting with figures and data analysis)
  • Ashley Howard (UBC Managing Director, Athletics & Sport Advisory Team Chair)
  • Ben Pollard (UBC Director of VP Students Portfolio Initiatives)
  • Graham Thomas (UBC Women’s Ice Hockey Coach)
  • Ian Robertson (Chair of the UBC Thunderbird Council- Alumni and Odlum Brown Vice President, Director and Portfolio Manager)
  • Laura Thompson (UBC student-athlete and President of the Thunderbird Athletes Council)
  • Marion Lay (President of Think Sport Ltd and Adjunct Professor, School of Kinesiology, UBC)
  • Mike Pearce (UBC Men’s Rowing Coach)
  • Nicole Freeman (Event and Sport Tourism Manager and STAT Officer Support)
  • Professor Richard Price (UBC Senior Advisor to the President)
  • Theresa Hanson (UBC Associate Director, Intercollegiate and High Performance Sport)

The selection of the Sport Advisory Team members was done to achieve a balance of stakeholders with a range of experiences to bring to our discussions.  Members are asked to prepare for and engage at meetings, share Sport Advisory Team messages, listen to colleagues, and reflect on views from their informal and formal networks.

In selecting the coaches, we wanted to ensure we had representation from a coach from both a men’s and a women’s team, coming from different competition structures. The sports of the Sport Advisory Team coach representatives are not guaranteed to remain as performance sports. Every sport will be considered against the same criteria.

Although coach representatives and a student-athlete representative on the Sport Advisory Team are very important to offer unique perspectives during meetings and throughout the process, our engagement forums with all coaches and students/student-athletes are also critical.

B. Advisory assessment team that is assessing teams against the criteria

  • 3 alumni
  • 2 students
  • 1 recent student-athlete graduate
  • 1 high performance sport representative
  • 1 faculty member
  • 2 representatives from the Dept. of Athletics and Recreation