In less than two weeks, the TRU WolfPack athletics department will take a major step toward moving four more teams into the CIS, Canada's top university sports league.
Ken Olynyk, TRU's director of athletics and recreation, will be in Banff from May 8-10 to attend the annual general meeting for Canada West, the CIS conference of which the WolfPack is a member.
It will be an important three days for the WolfPack, which is looking to move its men's and women's soccer teams, along with its cross-country team and a still-to-be-developed swim team, into the CIS. TRU already has four teams playing in the CIS - men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's volleyball.
Olynyk said Thursday that he has submitted a letter to Canada West president Sandy Slavin outlining TRU's intention to move those four teams in the conference for the 2013-14 season.
The WolfPack actually is coming into the process at an odd time - normally, Olynyk would have declared TRU's intentions at Canada West's winter meetings in February.
Instead, he has submitted the letter so Canada West's members can vote on it in Banff. If the members vote 100 per cent to approve it, there will be a discussion in Banff; if not, the members will discuss it at the next AGM, in May 2013, which would still allow the WolfPack to join Canada West when the season starts in September 2013.
"If it's allowed to go to the table, the members might discuss (the sports) separately," Olynyk said.
The reason the WolfPack has submitted its intentions late, Olynyk said, is because "We wanted to make sure we had the funding in place."
That funding came available when the university's board of governors unanimously approved the relocation of funds raised from the Campus Activity Centre levy to the athletics and recreation department. The levy, which has been part of students' fees since 1992-93, is expected to add around $400,000 to the department.
The board of governors voted on the relocation on March 30, after the TRU Students' Union also approved it.
Olynyk didn't say Thursday how the relocated money, along with the increased costs of the CIS programs, will affect the department's budget.
"I don't know the exact figures, it would depend on how much each program will cost," Olynyk said. "That will depend on schedules."
The WolfPack soccer teams play in the Pacific West Soccer Association (PacWest), which features teams on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, along with Squamish, Prince George and Kelowna.
Canada West currently has 13 women's soccer teams and 11 men's soccer teams - it stretches from Victoria to Winnipeg.
"(The cost) of soccer would definitely increase," Olynyk said, "going from PacWest, which is very provincial, to Canada West, which is regional, in B.C. and Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba . . ."
There also is an added wrinkle for the soccer teams - with more teams planning to enter Canada West, travel schedules will change.
"If you add UNBC (in Prince George) and UBC-Okanagan (in Kelowna) and Grant MacEwan (in Edmonton) . . ." Olynyk said. "You can't play everybody, there isn't enough time."
The WolfPack's cross-country team, which has been around for two years, is coached by Jack Miller and Duane Seibel.
It has been the only B.C. team in the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association - it played host to the CCAA championship in November - but would be joining seven other Canada West teams.
The swim team, which is still just an idea at this point but will likely partner with the Kamloops Classics Swim Club, would join eight others in Canada West.
"We have a great facility on campus," Olynyk said of the Canada Games Aquatic Centre, located adjacent to TRU. "It would be great for branding and it's a sport that has a solid foothold in the community."