The University of Saskatchewan Huskie Athletics announced the creation of a new board of trustees on Sept. 13, which will take effect on Nov. 1, 2016.
According to Huskie Athletics, the board of trustees will be responsible for advising and guiding the strategic, financial and operational decisions of the Huskie Athletics program, with the goal of enhancing the university and community importance of Huskie Athletics in Saskatoon and across the country.
The board will report directly to U of S president Peter Stoicheff. The president will hold veto power over all recommendations and decisions made by the board of trustees.
“This is new [and] this is different. We feel that as far as we know, this is unique in this country and it’s unique across other countries too. We did not borrow something from the United States, this is community-minded [and] university-centric. It’s not something what we’ve seen anywhere else,” Stoicheff said.
Essentially, the creation of the board extends the control of Huskie Athletics operations from the College of Kinesiology to several colleges on campus and the community of Saskatoon. The College of Kinesiology and its dean are permanent members of the board, with the chair alternating from the community to the U of S every three years. Board membership is completely voluntary and no members will receive a salary for their service.
Stoicheff added that Huskie Athletics is not run as a profitable organization. All revenues generated by the program go back to the students, and the creation of the new board is one way of encouraging financial support that students can benefit from.
The first iteration of the board will include community members Diane Jones Konihowski, Tom Anselmi, David Sutherland, Shelley Brown, David Dubé and a sixth member to be named at a later date.
The U of S representatives include Patti McDougall, vice-provost teaching and learning; Greg Fowler, vice-president finance and resources; Debra Pozega Osburn, vice-president university relations; Chad London, incoming dean of the College of Kinesiology; and Peta Bonham-Smith, interim dean of the College of Arts and Science.
Stoicheff has appointed Dubé, a successful local businessman, philanthropist, member of the U of S Board of Governors and long-time supporter of Huskie Athletics, as the first chair of the new board of trustees.
“We want to own our community as a sports group. You know what, we think that the community can fall in love with Huskie Athletics if we present it to them in the proper way,” Dubé said. “I often say that Huskie Athletics is the single biggest community outreach program that the university has, and it’s going to be bigger and better than ever and reporting to the president means that we better deliver results for him.”
Since this is the first program of its kind, some may be wondering why a shift from the traditional management system was necessary and why other university programs have not altransitioned to a similar model. However, according to Stoicheff, the creation of the board and the potential for greater community outreach and participation will be of great benefit to students and athletes.
“Everything from fundraising for student scholarships and student support; I think that’s really important. It’s all for the students and enhancing the student experience. I think increasing the number of people that come to the different events, and let me emphasize that this is not just for the larger sports such as football and basketball and hockey,” Stoicheff said. “It’s for all the sports — wrestling and track and field and volleyball and everything that we offer, and the board of trustees is very clear on that point. It’s not designed to build the larger sports at the expense of the smaller ones — it’s to try to encourage public involvement and spectatorship and so on in everything that we do.”
Brenden Palmer / Sports & Health Editor
Photo: Jeremy Britz / Photo Editor