The Canwest is currently back down to six schools participating in CIS football 5 of those teams are from the Prairie Region. Only one team, UBC Vancouver represents the Canwest from BC with the only other football University SFU now playing in the NCAA DII. This has turned into a traveling issue with UBC having Calgary 12 hours away being the closest school. UBC has also been rumored over the years to also join a US football conference.
Another Rumor has been that other Junior Teams, who are luring players with scholarships to the local University, joining with that University and playing in the CIS much like the Regina Rams did.
The BCFC Juniors was going strong with this until the 7 to play 5 rule came into affect in the CIS and the Junior programs are starting to feel the affect as teams average age are now at 19 with players no longer staying for the full 5 years as it gives them only 2 years of CIS eligibilty.
The Focus has been to get more Uiversities into the AUS and they have formed a 4 team Junior Division with ties to the Universities but not playing in the CIS. the Atlantic football conference and these 4 teams have only been in existance for a few year.
In BC however the Junior Programs giving players scholarships to schools have been around a lot longer and some are in very solid shape financially with their non profit organization set up already in place.
One such team the Okanagan Sun has been discussing it for some time and now may be the right time to make it happen. First the University team in the Kelowna area is now owned by UBC and has its own board of govenors and already has participation in the CIS in other major sports like Hockey, basketball, and Soccer. The Sun also have one thing that many of these Universities dont have and that is a very competative size CIS fooball stadium in the Apple Bowl which is very close to the Campus. By moving to the CIS they already have their private funding non profit organization in tact and have a base of players to start with some of which already attend UBC Okanagan. There is starting to be that there is not enough quality players to fill the 6 BCFC rosters. If the Sun do join the CIS and become officially associated with UBC O many of the Junior Players from that part of BC would not have far to go or have to leave the province to play CIS football. The school would most likley get a good deal with a sportin sponsor like in the OUA, in fact a company may want to get both UBC schools on the same account providing equipment and Uniforms which would no longer have to come out of the Suns or the Universities budgets. It also creates an automatic rivalry with UBC vancouver and sets up 2 games a year between these two schools which will lghten the travel load for everyone a bit. The lure of keeping BC recruits in BC would also be enticing that they will have a chance to have their regular seaon games shown Live in the West on Shaw TV and the chance to get to the Hardy cup and National semi both which were shown on TSN this season. A big recruiting boost for the Canadain bowl which gets no television coverage.
Other BCFC Junior Teams and CIS Universities in the same cities
Langley Rams and Trinity Western
Westshore Rebels and U Victoria
Also the VI Raiders who have an owner give scholarships to Vancouver Island College which is a Tech Trade school. Jordan Yantz was given a scholarship from the VI Raiders and atteded school there which kept in with the Raiders for all 5 year. V.I. College however is not a member of the CIS although they do have Athletic teams that play in another University sportw organization.
It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. If even two Universities from BC were to enter the Can west for Football that would get the Canwest to a more solid 8 teams and put 3 Universities in the BC province.
Both the SUN and Rebels are both near Big University programs and both have very capable veneues in which to play CIS game. Victoria Univeraity is a fairly Big University with close to 20,000 students and UBC O may only have 6,000 students but are part of the UBC University system. the Vancouver campus has some 40,000 students if I have my facts right
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