Foreign college athlete rule deemed 'discriminatory'

Holland College is pushing for a relaxation on national rules to allow it to accept more international athletes on its sports teams.

Recruitment policy shouldn't be purview of sports association, says Holland College vice-president

Holland College vice-president Michael O'Grady would like to see more international students on varsity teams, but current Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association rules provide strict quotas. 1:27
Holland College vice-president Michael O'Grady says the Canadian College Athletic Association rules limiting foreign players on team rosters is discriminatory. (CBC)

Holland College is pushing for a relaxation on national rules to allow it to accept more international athletes on its sports teams.

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association, the body that regulates college varsity sports, limits the number of foreign players on each team roster. The rule is meant to prevent schools from gaining an unfair advantage.

Michael O'Grady, Holland College vice-president, is back from a recent trip to Ottawa, where he met with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

He thinks the rules are discriminatory.

"The policy around the recruitment of international students and/or international student athletes is a matter of concern for college and university presidents. Not a national sports association."

It's also a concern for Holland College's men's basketball coach Josh Whitty, who said the rules make recruiting foreign students a challenge.

"Certainly, we have lots of times where there's been more international students interested in playing on the team, where we've either had to cut them or sit them out come game time," said Whitty.

Meanwhile, Samuel Opel, from Kenya, said he's not sure he will be able to shoot hoops with Holland College's basketball team this fall because there's only room for two international players.

"I'd say it's a tough sport for anyone. Everyone has to fight for it, but I'd like for everyone to get a fair chance," said Opel.

The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association will vote on a motion to extend restrictions to other varsity sports this week.

Holland College and the Civil Liberties Association hope that will be defeated.