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Selkirk Saints set to play exhibition-only season

The Selkirk Saints men’s and women’s volleyball teams will not be playing in the British Columbia Colleges’ Athletic Association (BCCAA) league this year, but will undertake an exhibition season in preparation for a stronger, revitalized program in 2011-2012.

The Selkirk College Men’s Volleyball program has experienced some challenges to start the 2010-11 season. Some of the student-athletes on the men’s team could not commit to the BCCAA league schedule and as such, the team did not have enough players to adequately fulfill league requirements.

With this in mind, the college had to make the difficult decision to withdraw the team from the league for this season.

An application for dispensation was made to the BCCAA Executive to allow only the women’s volleyball team to participate during the 2010-11 season. However, the request was denied due to the fact that league schedules are based on both genders traveling and competing at the same time.

“This was a tough decision for all parties,” said Athletic Director Kim Verigin. “The good side to all of this is that Selkirk College is still a member of the BCCAA and the Executive is very supportive of our situation.”

The BCCAA league Executive Committee recommended that Selkirk College play an exhibition season and use the year to rebuild the program.

“The men’s and women’s teams will continue to operate with regular weekly practices,” explained Verigin. We are currently working to confirm a competitive exhibition schedule for 2010-11 and we will continue to support the student-athletes and coaches who have committed to both programs.”

Overlaying this issue, declining enrolment in volleyball programs in the West Kootenay and Boundary regions and a changing dynamic within the BCCAA league has made it difficult for smaller colleges like Selkirk to recruit student-athletes and stay competitive. Many BCCAA institutions are in transition to make the jump to Canada West (Canadian Interuniversity Sport)—the highest level of intercollegiate sport available in Canada.

“We are hopeful that this year will be a positive turning point for the volleyball program,” said Verigin. “But, we are not certain. We are going to have to work hard and see what the future will bring.”