Friday, 18 September 2009

More on Mount Royal's CIS Aspirations

Calgary Sun article on this topic which uncovers an interesting factoid that says that new memberships for Canada West are only taken every four years.

So when's Mount Royal joining the CIS? U just gotta wait and see

They're the Mount Royal University Cougars now.

But it'll be a few more years -- at least -- before the Cougars are swapping baskets or body-checks with the cross-town Calgary Dinos in Canada West conference action.

"There is a definite buzz and people saying. 'Aren't you competing in Canada West yet.' Oh no, it's not that easy," said Karla Karch, the athletics manager at the newly-minted MRU. "But every step of the way has been exciting for us because it's one step closer for us to even apply."

Mount Royal's ascent to university status didn't happen overnight, but there's still plenty of hurdles to clear before the Cougars begin facing off against the Dinos, Alberta Golden Bears, Lethbridge Pronghorns and others.

Canada West officials accept applications for new members once every four years, with the next window for would-be newcomers opening in 2012. If the Cougars are approved, it'll likely be 2014 before their conference debut.

They're not the only ones knocking at the door.

The SAIT Trojans have also expressed interest in competing at the university level and have even explored the possibility of joining the U.S.-based NCAA, where some of the most storied rivalries exist between universities and the tech schools just down the road.

For now, both schools will continue to comepete in the ACAC ranks, where they've enjoyed plenty of success.

The Trojans hung their third consecutive men's hockey banner last season, while Mount Royal's men's basketball team won provincial and national bragging rights last spring. All told, the Cougars have won 91 ACAC team titles and 13 national championships.

"We are very proud of the history, but at the same time, we're looking to transition to the next level," Karch said. "Right now, we're a bigger fish in a small pond. When we can attract students for four of five years versus a college that can attract them for two years and then a transfer, we definitely have the advantage, without a doubt.

"When we go to that next level, we're going to be a small fish in a big pond. Will we see immediate success? I'm not sure, but our ultimate goal is long-term, big-picture."

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