Athletics Governance at Canadian Institutions

Topics: Organizational Structures, Athletics and Campus Recreation, Student Experience, Student Affairs

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The overwhelming majority of athletics departments in Canada employ one of two governance models: one led by a student services division or one led by a Faculty of Kinesiology.

This brief outlines the advantages and disadvantages of each structure and explains how and why institutions transition from one model to another. It also includes information on the relationship between athletics departments and other institutional administrative units.

  • Key observations from our research:

    1. Federal affairs officers prioritize campus-related issues such as securing research funds over broader issues related to the higher education sector or institutions’ roles in economic development.

    2. Federal affairs officers conduct advocacy related to broader sector issues in concert with peer institutions, system offices, and national associations.

    3. Federal affairs officers work both proactively and reactively to connect institutions with Members of Congress.

    4. The 113th Congress passed little substantive legislation related to higher education, but key issues including Higher Education Act reauthorization, sexual assault on campus, and student financial aid will remain on the agenda for the 114th Congress.