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Original Issue

Crossing Over

The Canucks are coming! The NCAA welcomes its first Canadian school

Since the school'sfounding in 1965, athletic officials at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby,B.C., have done their best to ignore the 49th parallel, the U.S.-Canada border.With several U.S. colleges within easier traveling distance than its Canadianrivals, Simon Fraser joined the predominantly American NAIA in '65. Theschool's first chancellor, Gordon Shrum, used to say that the Clan would oneday play in the Rose Bowl. That was a joke, but Simon Fraser did become apowerhouse. It won the NAIA Director's Cup, given to the organization's topoverall program, six times.

Now the Clan ismoving up. Last month Simon Fraser became the first non-U.S. school admitted tothe NCAA, in Division II. The benefits of NCAA membership for Simon Fraser areplentiful: better competition—likely in the Great Northwest AthleticConference, which includes Seattle Pacific and Western Washington—and lowertravel costs. The school has been spending nearly $1 million a year totransport its 20 sports teams, much of it on flights to Alberta andManitoba.

Now University ofBritish Columbia AD Bob Philip says his school is interested in applying to theNCAA, provided it can find a home for its hockey program. (D-II doesn't sponsorthe sport.) "We'd like to give Canadian student-athletes the NCAAexperience but have them stay at a Canadian school," says Philip.

Simon Fraser'smigration is already forcing Canadian Interuniversity Sport, the northernversion of the NCAA, to reevaluate its prohibition on full athleticscholarships. The CIS has appointed a committee to study the issue and couldmake a change by September 2010. Currently some 1,500 Canadians are playing forU.S. colleges. "We want to be the destination of choice for top Canadianstudent-athletes," says CIS president Clint Hamilton. "The NCAAdecision is an important catalyst for us."


The new coach of India's rugby team is requiring hisplayers to eat 15 eggs a day to bulk up.



BREAKING AWAY Simon Fraser will take on D-II opponents starting in 2010.