MRU soccer team set to join the CIS
As far as rivalries go, it doesn’t get much better than Mount Royal and SAIT. Unfortunately for Trojans and Cougars’ fans alike, they’ll no longer be able to see these two post-secondaries battle it out on the soccer field
MRU announced that starting next season the Cougars are leaving the ACAC to join the larger Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) league.
“It’s a jump up in competition level which is going to be a huge challenge for us and we’re excited to take that opportunity,” said MRU head coach Jamie Pollock.
“It’s unfortunate in some ways that we won’t get to see an inner-city rival like SAIT, but we’re pretty excited about taking the jump that we’re taking.”
MRU will compete against much larger schools, which will be a challenge for recruiting.
“We’re going to need a bigger squad,” said Pollock. “The competition level and the physicality of the CIS, combined with the increased travel means that we will need more players.”
Mark Pretzlaff, SAIT’s athletic director, said he hopes some day the Trojans will be able to compete against the country’s elite, but there are currently academic restrictions preventing SAIT from joining the CIS.
“SAIT has been actively pursuing CIS involvement, unfortunately there are a number of hurdles we have been trying to overcome,” said Pretzlaff. “There is a level of accreditation you have to get, and right now SAIT does not have enough undergraduate programs.”
Pretzlaff said he’d like to see a system in place much like that of the NCAA in the United States.
In the NCAA, different tiers exist, ranging from division three, which is the lowest, to division one, the most elite level of competition.
Teams can have a football team playing in division one, and a volleyball team playing in division three. They’re not limited to a single competition level like the system currently in the ACAC.
“We think our facilities and our athletes are top notch and some of the best in the country, and we would love to have the opportunity to compete against teams like University of Alberta and the University of Calgary,” said Pretzlaff.