UTM Varsity Update
UTM ceases OCAA participation as campus focus shifts to greater sport, fitness & wellness program options for all students, that support mental and physical health, build peer connections, and enrich student experiences.
Over the past several months, the Department of Recreation, Athletics & Wellness has focused on delivering a variety of program options for students to engage in sport, fitness, and wellness both on campus and virtually. During this time, we have evaluated the feasibility for UTM to continue competing in Ontario collegiate varsity sports through the OCAA. Following the OCAA suspension of sport in 2020-2021, and a continued suspension of the varsity program at UTM in 2021-22, UTM will not be resuming participation in the OCAA varsity program. This difficult decision was made after careful consideration of student engagement across all programs and specifically within multiple sport programs, departmental operations, resources, and future programs and services to serve UTM students.
Our commitment to all students means we allocate time and departmental resources to ensure that a variety of recreation, athletics and wellness programs are available in our facilities. We recognize the benefits that sport, recreation, and fitness programs can have on overall student well-being and mental health, and are increasing our focus to provide welcoming and accessible opportunities that benefit the broader UTM student population. No longer being tied to the OCAA, provides us with flexibility to re-allocate financial and other resources to offer additional sport, recreation, and wellness options to more students and at more times.
Each year, we see over 1,000 students participate in intramurals and tri-campus leagues, which offers a higher level of competition, dedicated coaches, and practice times. These are the efforts we plan on building upon. Expansion efforts for accessible participation and additional sport times and types continue, for example wheelchair basketball, pickle ball, and new sport interests of our student community. We recognize the importance of competitive sport, and have ensured that the opportunities for competitive sport remain with flexible schedules and a variety of sport offerings (see chart below). The reallocation of funds allows for this expansion to engage students at all levels of sport, not just varsity level performance.
University of Toronto Varsity Sport Continues:
U of T Varsity level competition continues to remain in place and open to UTM students through the Varsity Blues, which competes against other universities belonging in the OUA (Ontario University Athletics). Unlike the U of T Varsity Blues, the UTM varsity teams competed at the college level (e.g. Seneca, Mohawk). Efforts over the last six years have failed to produce the interest in UTM varsity sports with very limited spectators or engagement from the broader student population. We continue to support the University of Toronto Varsity Athletics, as a member of the larger university community. The University of Toronto Scarborough campus supports this program in the same manner. We have partnered to ensure that any UTM students who are interested and meet the qualifications are directly connected to this program.
In total, 4 sports are affected: badminton, cross country, soccer, and basketball. These four sports will continue to be offered at competitive and intramural levels, along with over 25 different sport offerings at UTM.
We recognize that this news, along with other impacts of the pandemic may be difficult, particularly for the approximately 65 UTM students who participated in the program. Support is available to students by contacting the Health & Counselling Centre or My SSP (Student Support Program), and academic advising through AskRegistrar. We also continue to be available to those students as needed, including discussing options to remain engaged in sport as athletes or to engage in sport leadership opportunities within the Department of Recreation, Athletics & Wellness.
The Department of Recreation, Athletics & Wellness would like to thank past UTM participants, the OCAA and its members, for 6 years of positive engagement in collegiate sport.
Sport Program offerings for UTM students
UTM students are encouraged to participate in individual and team sports, ranging from drop-in to varsity competition. Below is a summary of levels and sport options.
- Drop-In Sports: Open gym times by sport, open to all UTM students
- UTM Intramurals: UTM students compete against teams of other UTM students
- Tri-Campus League: Unique to U of T, this league offers a higher level of competition. UTM Eagles compete against teams from the other 2 University of Toronto campuses (UTSC and UTSG). This is a competitive league with dedicated coaches, uniforms and scheduled practice time.
- U of T Varsity Blues: Varsity program where teams compete against other Ontario Universities as part of Ontario University Athletics (OUA).
|DROP-IN SPORTS||UTM INTRAMURALS||TRI-CAMPUS LEAGUE||U OF T VARSITY|
Notes: Not all sport options were reintroduced in Fall 2021 due to the pandemic, and expansion efforts continue in programs accessible to all students.