March 14, 2021
by Howard Tsumura
LANGLEY — Varsity Letters is presenting both sides of the debate leading up to the pivotal voting day on B.C. School Sports’ pioneering governance proposal, set for the association’s May 1 annual general meeting.
If passed by a two-thirds majority plus-one vote of the province’s eligible base of 460-plus athletic directors, all 19 of BCSS’ member sports — including football, wrestling, boys rugby, and boys and girls basketball, volleyball, track and field, cross-country and soccer — would be brought together wholly under the umbrella of the association’s administration.
For over one year, I along with the rest of the BC Secondary Schools Rugby Union Executive have been deeply concerned about a proposed change to the way BC School Sports is governed which is coming up for a vote after Spring Break. If adopted, my main fear is that the sport of rugby would be completely unrepresented in a new “Legislative Assembly” which is being proposed and that even worse, we would lose virtually all of our ability to regulate, improve and make key decisions about the future of high school rugby in this province.
Quite frankly, as your Commissioner, I would be deeply ashamed of myself if I let down all of you and especially the people who came before me by not standing up for our sport.
However, I am just one volunteer and nothing more. Therefore, for over one year I have worked with everyone, including the Executive Director, Staff and Board of BC School Sports to prevent and mitigate any negative changes which might affect high school rugby, such as losing the right to elect our own Executive, determine the structure of our Provincial Championships and to always make decisions which are in the best interests of the student-athletes and coaches who are at the heart of our sport.
Despite frequent calls (and even one of 90 minutes) to BC School Sports, emails, repeated Zoom meetings and every type of appeal you can imagine, BCSS has now officially sent out its final package which would actually eliminate all of our Sport Commissions, including rugby, and replace them with appointed “Sport Advisory Committees” which have no real authority or ability to make decisions. Therefore, a total of 15 Sport Commissions have now gone officially on record by signing the attached letter to the Principals and Athletic Directors of BC who will ultimately be voting on this proposal.
Please take time to read the attached letter and feel free to contact me, including over Spring Break, if you have any further questions. I urge you to talk to your Athletic Director and urge him or her to vote NO to the new governance model which is being proposed.
There is a lot at stake, not just for our sport but for all sports, which is why the overwhelming majority of sports in this province have now come together.
Walter van Halst
Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary
Commissioner, BC Secondary Schools Rugby Union
Cell: (778) 855-9937