YEAR END MESSAGE FROM GARRETT HOLMES.
The holiday season is almost here, and I would like to take this opportunity to wish all student-athlete's a safe and happy holiday and all the best in the new year!
As the year winds down, I'd like to share with you my thoughts on all that has happened this year, and on what lies ahead...
As you all know, I launched the Canadian Student-Athlete Association on July 20, 2020 in response to USports decision in June to cancel six fall championships and the related decision in mid July to not extend the age cap for football players, both which were made with little or no input from student-athletes. On the same day I launched the Canadian Student-Athlete Association I sent a letter asking the USports Board of Directors to revisit their decision relating to the age cap for football players.
I was not alone. In a matter of days an online petition started by a University of Calgary football player garnered almost 5,000 signatures asking USports to revisit their decision. Numerous coaches also voiced their opposition to the decision, including the University of Alberta's football coach who in response to the decision stepped down as head of both a university football coaches committee and a technical sub committee. Parents threatened legal action.
The opposition to the decision prevailed, and USports on July 27th reversed course on their decision. The Canadian Student-Athlete Association applauded USports for changing its stance.
This sequence of events reaffirmed to me the need for the Canadian Student-Athlete Association, and so I began to reach out to USports, the OUA, Canada West, AUS, RSEQ, the CCAA, universities and colleges in an effort to lay the foundation for developing relationships with those organizations.
That has been the primary focus of the first five months of the Canadian Student-Athlete Association's existence. I believe that it is important to reach out to the institutions to gain an understanding of their perspective.
What I have learned is that not unsurprisingly, those institutions want the status quo to be maintained. They believe that the current model(s) provide student-athletes with an independent voice and input into decisions.
So change will take time. No surprise there.
The decisions that led to the cancellation of fall, then winter sports are just the tip of the iceberg relative to decisions that will have to be made in the future as a result of the impact of COVID-19. Decisions that will have lasting impact on the lives, careers and futures of student-athletes.
As we move into the new year the issues which we have identified and listed on our websites "issues" page will be the issues we continue to focus on. As well, my focus will be in the early months of the new year to continue to work on identifying and developing relevant relationships and continuing to think through the organizational model that the Canadian Student-Athlete Association will adopt as it grows. These two areas of focus are critical to the long term success of the Canadian Student-Athlete Association.
As the year progresses I will expand the scope of my focus to include member acquisition, something which to date has not been a priority but which is clearly in the long term also critical to success.
As I said, change will take time in the "new reality".
New ideas, new models, and new thinking are what is needed to deal with the new reality. Who better to bring this to the table than students?
While much needs to change, one thing has not changed. Student-athletes are and will continue to be the future of sports. They are the foundation upon which our provincial, national, and Olympic teams are built. They are the "feeder" for many professional sports.
COVID 19 despite its negative impact provides an opportunity to re-shape the future of sports. For student-athletes like myself, it is an opportunity to shape our future. To do that we need to have a voice - an independent voice.
The Canadian Student-Athlete Association was created to be that voice, to give Canadian student-athletes the ability to realize their full potential, and to mark a new beginning for the future of sports.
I wish you a very happy holiday season, and all the best in the new year!