Adopt-A-Cougar athlete is one program MRU is depending on to play in the university level

 After a decade-long lobby, the Mount Royal Cougars are ditching college sports for university level competition.

When MRU transitions to Canada West (University Athletics Association) next year, the cost to play varsity sports will increase by $500,000.

A point for Trent Offereins, a fifth-year basketball player, who managed to score himself a sponsor through Mount Royal University’s Adopt-A-Cougar Program.
Photo by: Sibyl Bigler

To run a varsity program at Mount Royal University, it currently costs anywhere from $20,000 to more than $220,000 per team.

These funds pay for things like transportation, accommodations, meals, equipment, and conference and membership fees.

“As we head into Canada West the cost will increase due to the change in

travel,” said Karla Karch, athletics director for the Cougars. “Beginning

in 2012 we will be traveling across four provinces instead of our current

conference, primarily in Alberta.”

Karch added the increased budget will be made up from fees, school financing, and donations, like those made through the Adopt-A-Cougar program (ACC).

That program has been in place since 1993, designed so that the student athletes

find their own sponsors that will improve each of their varsity programs.

By sponsoring an athlete, the funds go towards, but not limited to, costs associated with travel, hotels, transportation, scholarships, team clothing and more.

“For the breakdown of individuals, budgets range depending upon the length

of the season, number of student-athletes per program and where they have

to travel to for competition,” Karch said.

For a general season running from September to March, a player on the Cougars men’s basketball team is asked to find a sponsor that will donate $500 at the

beginning of the season.

“I love playing basketball and if it wasn’t for the A&V Contracting Ltd. company that sponsored me, I wouldn’t have gotten a chance to play,” said Trent Offereins, a fifth-year basketball player.

Some players like Offereins have it in their mind if they don’t get the money from a sponsor, they won’t get to play until they do.

Luckily, that is not the case.

“Students who can’t raise money aren’t kicked off the teams but we make

other arrangements,” Karch said.

By sponsoring a specific athlete, it helps give the team the necessities

they need to play the game. The athletics department does not always cover some of a team’s specific expenses, such as new equipment and practice jerseys.

Aaron VanderVeen, manager from A&V Contracting Ltd. said, “Watching and knowing Trent personally, and knowing how motivated he is, it was the least that we could do for him and the MRU basketball program.”

But due to current economical situations, companies that were once sponsors

are now hesitating.
As of next year, when Mount Royal University transitions to Canada West the cost to play varsity sports will increase by $500,000. This will affect players, like Trent Offereins, to find sponsors that will aid with the cost.
Photo by : Sibyl Bigler

of how the year and timing of everything plays out,” VanderVeen said.

From an athlete’s point of view, every year it becomes harder to find a

sponsor, especially with the future increased costs of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport athletic fees.

Offereins agreed with the statement, saying it got harder and harder asking for sponsorship especially going into his fifth year. He feels bad because he has continually asked the same organizations in the past.

“It just costs so much money for the program in general that we need that kind of donation money [$500] per player,” said Offereins.

Click here if you want to get involved in supporting Mount Royal University’s Adopt-A-Cougar Program.

sbigler@cjournal.ca