As the final second ticks off the clock, Sasha Vujisic (right) and the rest of the Burnaby South Rebels culminate the 2019-20 season as B.C. champs. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2021. All Rights Reserved)
Feature High School

A SUNDAY READ: What both sides are saying in the emotional debate regarding BC School Sports’ proposal for a new power structure in BC high school sports!

LANGLEY — Varsity Letters is presenting both sides of the debate leading up to the pivotal voting day on B.C. School Sports’ pioneering governance proposal, set for the association’s May 1 annual general meeting.

If passed by a two-thirds majority plus-one vote of the province’s eligible base of 460-plus athletic directors, all 19 of BCSS’ member sports — including football, wrestling, boys rugby, and boys and girls basketball, volleyball, track and field, cross-country and soccer — would be brought together wholly under the umbrella of the association’s administration.

For its part, B.C. School Sports has trumpeted the governance as a way to bring uniformity to its ranks.

Noted the BCSS within its most recent governance recommendation, sent to all athletic directors on Thursday: “We have 19 BCSS Sports Commissions, each operating at various levels of autonomy and each with different memberships, rules, processes and procedures.”

And therein lies the conflict.

Approval of the BCSS proposal would mean the immediate extinction of all of the various high school sports commissions in B.C., many of which are not simply collections of individuals but rather committed groups of coaches, teachers and administrators who have passed the torch through multiple generations while serving as the unpaid caretakers of their sport at the high school level in this province.

Today, Varsity Letters gets down in the trenches with three long-serving high school coaches, teachers and administrators, and it’s through their insights that we hope you gain a clearer picture of the high-stakes future of sport in our post-pandemic high schools over the coming decades.

First, let’s meet the voices:

Few could be more qualified to speak on behalf of B.C. School Sports’ governance proposal than its vice-president Brent Sweeney, a long-established co-head coach of both the fall-season senior boys and spring-season senior girls soccer teams at Tsawwassen’s South Delta Secondary.

Sweeney not only serves as South Delta’s athletic director, he is also the president of the newly-formed South Fraser zone, now in its second season representing high school sports in the Richmond, Surrey and Delta regions.

Walter van Halst is the commissioner of the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union and a teacher at Surrey’s Lord Tweedsmuir Secondary.

A few seasons back, van Halst proved himself as something of a visionary, tweaking the rugby tiering system to provide more schools with the opportunity to compete for B.C. titles, thus re-energizing the entire sport at the high school level in this province.

On Thursday, van Halst followed the release of B.C. School Sports’ final version of the governance proposal to athletic directors and principals throughout the province with a letter of his own, this one endorsed by 14 other B.C. high school sports commissioners with the message for B.C.’s athletic directors to vote against the proposal on May 1.

One of those endorsing van Halst’s letter was Ken Dockendorf, the head coach of the senior boys varsity basketball team at Maple Ridge Secondary.

Dockendorf, one of the most invested head coaches in any sport in B.C. high school history is currently the president of the B.C. Boys High School Basketball Association.

Dockendorf completed his 50th season in the coaching ranks in 2019-20, and while denied the opportunity this season, he is determined to enter his second half-century of coaching when the 2021-22 season tips off in November.

(Editor’s note: All three subjects were interviewed separately, and none were informed that the other two would be a part of this story, and thus none of their comments are directed towards the others)

Semiahmoo players celebrate the 2019-20 B.C. senior girls Quad-A basketball championship. (Photo by Paul Yates property of Vancouver Sports Pictures 2020. All Rights Reserved)


Approval of the governance proposal would trigger a new rules-making body within B.C. School Sports in the form of a 54-member Legislative Assembly.

BCSS officials endorse the body’s merits for what they feel is a breadth of inclusivity at multiple levels, yet those opposing the governance are quick to point out that individual schools, who under the current model all have the right to vote on policy at the Annual General Meeting through their athletic directors, will have no such right under the proposed new model.

As mentioned, approval of the governance would reduce all of the 19 sport-specific commissions, including such time-honoured entities as the B.C. Secondary Schools Football Association, the B.C. High School Boys Basketball Association, the B.C. Secondary Schools Girls Basketball Association and the B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union, to entities exisiting in name only.

In their place, the new governance proposal will have a total of nine policy committees and five operating committees, all of whom sit under the legislative assembly.

Half of that 54-member assembly would be fashioned by representatives from the province’s nine different geographical zones, each of which would have three reps (all of which cannot identify as the same gender).

Also included are all nine members of BCSS’ Board of Directors, reps from eight of the nine policy committees, and a final group representing 10 other groups including the B.C. Teachers Federation, the Ministry of Education and the B.C. Schools Trustees’ Association.

For his part, Dockendorf felt that the sheer number of committees sitting beneath the legislative body would prove a hindrance in servicing various sports in an ideal manner.

“A bureaucratic nightmare,” he said, putting on his BCHSBBA president’s cap before continuing. “There are 14 committees and at some point, we would have to consult with 11 of them to get all of the decisions that we can currently make with nine people, all within the period of about one hour.

“It’s so overbearing and cumbersome,” he continued. “It’s like taking a pie that’s got 20 slices for all of the different sports and then further cutting them into 100 slices.”

Sweeney, however, offered a contrasting opinion on how the governance’s focus on uniformity would actually bring a level of simplicity to the equation, albeit from a different perspective.

“I am going to put on my athletic director’s cap here,” he began. “One of the things that makes life difficult for us as AD’s is the number of different sets of rules from sport to sport. Understanding what changes take place on a year-to-year basis, when the different AGMs happen for the various sports, if berthing and the path to provincials has changed… Having one body make those kinds of decisions and having the information distributed in a timely and really accessible way, that is a huge thing for ADs.”

Sweeney also celebrates the composition of a potential legislative assembly, arguing that its diversity has been a long time coming.

“There’s a place for (representation) from the Ministry of Education, the BCTF, the Principals and Vice-Principals Association,” he began. “Here I am as a coach and I have been through a number of job actions where extra-curricular sports is the first thing that gets suggested to be put on the side. We’ve had no relationship with the BCTF, so it’s a good thing to have someone to reach out to and speak with. Yet it is very intentional that there are more school- and zone-based individuals on the board than there are partners who for too long have been at arm’s-length at best.”

Yet Dockendorf insists that when it comes to having an actual sports-specific voice with the power to affect policy and change within the actual legislative assembly, too much is left to chance and thus the system falls short.

“So the people that are in this group of 27 (zone reps), who even knows what they are representing?” he said. “Do they have a real commitment to any certain sport? It’s a real hodgepodge of people.”

To clarify Dockendorf’s point, he says there is no guarantee what sports-specific background any of the three appointed representatives from each of the province’s nine zones will bring to the assembly.

B.C. Secondary Schools Rugby Union commissioner Walter van Halst. (Photo property of subject. All Rights Rerserved0


To Walter van Halst, the potential loss of a school’s ability to vote for its best interest at the B.C. School Sports AGM is not to be taken lightly.

“Every school, whether independent or public, large or small, indigenous, multicultural, faith-based or whatever composition your school has… every school has it own culture and with this you’d be losing your own individual voice,” van Halst said.

“Take Lord Tweedsmuir and Earl Marriott, two large schools in the Surrey system,” he continued, before later looking to a pair of deeply-established Vancouver schools. “They are very different. Each school has its own culture and their own demographics and their own history. And then, who is going to fight for Killarney? Who is going to fight for Charles Tupper? Every school should have a voice in what is going on, because every school is affected by what is going on.”

In the new year, B.C. School Sports moved forward with an addition to its governance proposal, one which it felt demonstrated more clearly its understanding of the value and expertise that its longtime sports-specific commission members could bring should it gain a majority vote May 1.

And thus in the latest proposal 3.1 (linked at the bottom of this story) they have proposed the creation of a Sports Advisory Committees for each sport.

And while there has been transparency from the outset regarding the fact that the so-called SACs carry no official power to change policy, Sweeney says that their potential formation would represent a group whose concerns would not fall on deaf ears.

“As an example,” Sweeney begins, “boys basketball says ‘We want to have a two-year tiering cycle’ but they can’t make that decision on their own. They show us the work they’ve done, why they think it’s a good idea and they want to bring the motion forward. What we’ve done as a Board of Directors is made recommendations on AGM motions. By and large most of the proposals put forward by the commissions, we have supported, and I see a similar situation with the SAC.”

The latest governance states that each Sports Advisory Committee will be made up of 10 people. The acting commissioner of each current commission would be invited to chair their respective SAC, with one person appointed by each of the nine zones.

Dockendorf, however, has serious reservations about the effectiveness of just such committees.

“It’s clearly stated that it has no decision-making power,” he began. “There is just no way that they will be able to provide the same kind of services the commissions currently do. How can the B.C. high school boys and girls basketball, wrestling and volleyball championships be organized better that they currently are? I don’t see how they can do a better job.”

Sweeney and BCSS see things from a different perspective.

“The commissions have accrued power over the years, (but) they are standing committees of B.C. School Sports, and at the end of the day this is school-based sport,” he said.

“Increasingly, in our championships, we have individuals who are not associated with schools… we have people who are outside coaches. You have a situation where you have people that don’t necessarily have the broader-based picture in mind and are focussed on individual sports.

“So there definitely will be some decision-making and control taken away from commissions, but I think the positive aspect of that is the people who will now make those decisions are going to be athletic directors, they’re going to administrators, they are going to be people who have a broader landscape in mind as opposed to the nitty-gritty individual aspect of their sport,” continued Sweeney of what would transpire if the governance passes.

Maple Ridge Ramblers senior boys basketball coach Ken Dockendorf. (Photo by Wilson Wong property of Wilson Wong 2021. All Rights Reserved)


The letter sent out Thursday by boys’ rugby commissioner Walter van Halst, and endorsed by commissioners from 14 other B.C. high school sports (football and girls volleyball were notable exceptions), outlined the group’s reasons for opposing the new governance and concluded with the following:

“We urge you to VOTE AGAINST the proposal on May 1 so that the process to develop new governance is not rushed during a global pandemic and an appropriate level of consultation can take place.

“We invite BCSS to work in partnership to collectively develop a new model of governance that will create excitement about the future for student-athletic participation in this province.”

Dockendorf has studied the structure of the new governance, and he has says a common sentiment has emerged from those opposing it.

“They have tried to construct a model where each group cannot work independently,” he said.

“With this new system, I compare it to Donald Trump… how he basically worked as diligently as he could to remove democracy from the whole legislative process in the U.S. Everything he touched, he was trying to reduce the amount of democracy. That is what this thing does, too, because instead of 400 people (athletics directors) having a chance to vote, now there will be nine zones and only three representatives from each who represent all of the people in their zone.

“And no matter what the size (of the zone),” Dockendorf continued. “Vancouver might have 100 schools and the Kootenays might have 20, so democracy has just been shattered.”

South Delta Sun Devils’ boys and girls soccer co-coach Brent Sweeney. (Photo by Howard Tsumura property of Varsity Letters 2021. All Rights Reserved)


Ken Dockendorf admits the B.C. Boys High School Basketball Association, some 10-to-12 years ago, was filled with a level of inner bickering that was stunting the group from reaching its full potential.

“So we set out with a goal to make our sport as democratic as possible, and we achieved it,” he said.

The results have helped lift the association, by anyone’s standard of measure, to their loftiest heights ever. Yet these days there has been a palpable swing in emotions with the potential to have its association dissolved of its power pending the results of the May 1 vote.

“It’s been time consuming, interesting, and challenging to get to the point where we are now,” Dockendorf said. “In terms of our championships, the venue, the whole operational menu… it’s the best it’s ever been.

“Now with our democracy and our equal opportunity, we have all four championships at the same site receiving equal treatment. So when you watch all those championships on Saturday, the team that wins the Single-A title thinks they just won the world championships, but so does the Double-A winner, the Triple-A winner and the Quad-A winner. We couldn’t have created a better format than we currently have. It’s the best of times and we’d certainly hate to see it go.”

Sweeney mutes the alarm bells.

“The main function of what commissions do now is run provincial championships,” he said, speaking towards how he would envision the future with a positive vote for the governance proposal. “Those individuals, we hope, will still take on those roles. The fear from some of the commissions is the unknown. What will the championships look like in the future? We anticipate they will look very similar to what we have now because our hope is that the same people will continue to run them.”

Right now, however, it’s about seven weeks until the votes will be cast and everything about the future of B.C. high school sports is surrounded by question marks.

For his part, van Halst has questions not only with the make-up of the potential new structure, but also the means in which the governance proposal been introduced.

“If it was me, and I was at the top of the pyramid, I would want as many people underneath working for free as I could get,” he said. “And I would say ‘OK, you go run golf, you go run track, you go run soccer… and by the way, what do you need?’ If there was new commission or a group doing something unethical or unsafe, OK, step in. But these are people who are knowledgeable and dedicated to their sport.

“They want to see the kids have the best experience possible,” he added. “They have more invested in this than anyone. With all due respect to the outside interest groups sitting on a panel that meets twice a year, how much knowledge and daily investment do they have?

“We may have the best (high school) championships in the country, and now it’s on the precipice for a lot of reasons,” he concluded. “The rise of club sports, the decline in teacher-coaches, the job action we’ve had for 10-to-15 years, and at the same time we have the COVID pandemic. Why at a time like this would you want to restructure things in a way that doesn’t make people feel empowered, that doesn’t make them feel valued?”

Both sides have come to the table with passionate viewpoints, and although each school’s vote will be cast by an athletic director or similarly-credentialed staff member, there is no shortage of opportunity for everyone to have their voice heard in some fashion.

Are you a parent with student-athletes currently engaged in the B.C. high school system, or just about set to enter it? Talk to a coach at your high school, ask your questions and have those passed on to the athletic director. Or have a chat with that athletic director yourself.

Same for the coaches, whether of the teaching or non-teaching variety, who have maybe not given this a lot of thought. What makes the best sense for the future of B.C. high school sports? Let your voice be heard.

Whichever way you want the vote to go, engage yourself in the process. There is a lot at stake and May 1 will get here a lot quicker than you think.

(Your thoughts are also welcome here. Leave a comment for other to read)

If you want to read and study B.C. School Sports Governance Proposal Version 3.1, click here.

If you’re reading this story or viewing these photos on any website other than one belonging to a university athletic department, it has been taken without appropriate permission. In these challenging times, true journalism will survive only through your dedicated support and loyalty. and all of its exclusive content has been created to serve B.C.’s high school and university sports community with hard work, integrity and respect. Feel free to drop us a line any time at

11 thoughts on “A SUNDAY READ: What both sides are saying in the emotional debate regarding BC School Sports’ proposal for a new power structure in BC high school sports!

  1. Terrible timing by BCSS. Tried to rush this in last year and were only stopped by a global pandemic. With all the lip service being given to residents of this province by Provincial health authorities and government saying how important youth sports are (which coaches are well aware of) there is still no pay for high school coaches. Meanwhile, BCSS is trying to take away the voices of these volunteers. All of this happening at a time where there is no guarantee coaches will come back or they don’t go to private club basketball where they can get paid.

    One if my favourite arguments I hear is “well only a certain number of AD’s actually vote now” Well that is their democratic right to vote or not, but if an AD for example in Surrey, (for the most part) who is given two blocks of not teaching (25% of salary) to be an AD and can’t be bothered to vote, the Principal at the school should replace that AD as they are not fulfilling their paid duty. Still looking for examples of when people giving up their democratic right to vote has worked out.

    BCSS should be working to empower people in the commissions they believe are underserved, not punishing the ones with decades of tradition.

    You just have to look down the I-5 to see what happened with their state championships. In a state that cares a lot more about high school sports than BC does, after a few years of financial losses, they cut costs and turned state tournaments at the Tacoma Dome and Yakima Sundome from 16 teams to 8, as well as now play state football championship games at a high school strictly to save costs. A commission such as the BCHSBBA does everything in their power to put on the best high school sporting event in Canada, including donating floor/hoops, covering costs.

    When you get rid of commissions, what are the odds that BCSS is going to step up and cover costs/losses?
    If you want a look in to what I see happening, look at the boys soccer Provincials, which I have been at personally for the last number of years. From a strictly basketball viewpoint, my biggest fear for the BC boys’ high school championships is that it becomes the boys soccer championships. A tournament that completely changes their rules by playing shortened games and playing multiple games in a day, all with a handful of fans. All of this to save money by not having an extra day. Even worse many of the top players don’t play due to Whitecaps program or their HPL coaches telling them not to.

    As someone who played in the basketball, football, volleyball and track provincial championships in high school in BC, even a small chance at these being reduced or lessened by “we hope people will still run the tournaments, while we give them zero autonomy” is too much of a chance to take. It is not like we are the state of California with over 3500 high schools, it’s pretty simple now – one school, one vote.

    BCSS uses trouble getting sponsorships as an argument. How many full-time advancement people are employed? I am well aware their argument would be for easier access / accountability to gaming grant money, but need people going after more corporate money.

    As someone one who played, coached, spent two years doing a masters degree in athletic administration, volunteered at bchsbba championships for a decade, works for a school district, but isn’t a BCTF member or Principal, I am not able to have any sort of actual say. This passing would give me second thoughts of ever coaching in BC high school again.

    1. Outstanding representation of so many good points.
      I too fear the end of our iconic BC tournament and I can only hope more people will express themselves as well as you have against this proposal.

    2. Bob and Linda Forsyth
      March 23, 2021
      As a parent of 3 girls who have been participants in 6 sports and 15 BCHS Championships over the past 8 years, I would like to add my thoughts. I share Mike McKay’s sentiments when he writes, ‘BCSS should be working to empower people in the commissions they believe are underserved, not punishing the ones with decades of tradition’. I would add that in lieu of dismantling those commissions and displacing the leadership that successfully celebrate and support high school sports and their provincial championships, BCSS should second these same leaders to direct the one committee that makes sense – an action committee whose mission is to bring other sports up to their standard. The practical thing to do is to respectfully ask more from our sports commissioners and association leaders. BCSS should provide the time and resources needed for them to share their skills and knowledge, and most importantly, to keep intact their network of contacts in the community. A WIN- WIN opportunity presents itself by tapping into our strongest resource – the commissioners and association leaders – if only because they are our best problem solvers. Distrusting and alienating them will be at the peril of high school sports as we know it today.

  2. Why does BCSS continue to disrespect our extremely valuable community coaches? The notion that community coaches are selfish and only care about themselves and their narrow perspective is completely untrue and insulting.
    “Increasingly, in our championships, we have individuals who are not associated with schools… we have people who are outside coaches. You have a situation where you have people that don’t necessarily have the broader-based picture in mind and are focussed on individual sports……. they are going to be people who have a broader landscape in mind as opposed to the nitty-gritty individual aspect of their sport.”
    I have been an Athletic Director for 23 of the 30 years I have been in education and I have had some amazing community coaches who truly care about kids and about high school sport. By the way Mr. Sweeney are you telling us that every teacher coach has a “broader-based picture,” I think you know this is simply not true. In the last year I was an AD (2018) approximately 65% of my coaches were non-teacher coaches and yet BCSS somehow believes that they are not worthy of the same respect as teacher coaches. This is just one of the many things wrong with this proposal as BCSS doesn’t seem to understand that high school sport would be in major jeopardy without the wonderful community volunteers that help us keep it going. If BCSS wants to make the most significant change in it’s organization’s history one would think you would find a way to include, promote and educate community coaches as opposed to insulting them.
    We have not had school sports in a year now and the Spring season will also be lost again. The start-up (hopefully) for school sports come September is going to be the most difficult and challenging one in our history. Why would me make this change now when BCSS should be doing everything it can to help schools retain coaches and get sports started up again? Does it really make sense to do this in the middle of the worst pandemic in world history? These changes are going to be made with a virtual AGM which as all of us know ZOOM is simply not a replacement to discuss something as important as this. Like Mr. Sweeney I will also put on my AD cap and I will respectfully suggest that there is nothing about this proposal that will make my job easier as an AD. This proposal might actually just make my job harder and it will 100% take away my ability to participate in the democratic process by removing my schools vote and my ability to advocate at an annual AGM.

    1. Well said Paul. As a community coach I have spent hundreds of hours creating academic accountability programs, free tutoring support for student-athletes and meeting with councillors and teachers to create individual strategies for struggling students. Add to that the hundreds of hours talking to University coaches trying to promote players and writing letters for scholarships. I spent more time on this than I did practice planning in most cases, so I struggle to apologize for not having a “broader based” view. I and other volunteer coaches should be offended by the suggestions of Mr Wallace and others behind this proposal. What we do is keep the needs and experiences of student-athletes first. I’m not interested in power or creating added bureaucracy that take us away from what’s important – the needs of the kids.
      I hear the comparisons to American state athletic associations. Don’t compare us to them when none of us get paid in BC. A thank you would be appreciated rather than an insult.
      I’ve spent 25 years as a member of the board of directors of the BCSSFA and worked extremely hard to build our sport and championships to the level they are today. That includes creating sponsorship programs and financial programs that allow us to play our championships at BC Place. Why would any of us want a bunch of bureaucrats to take what we’ve worked so hard for and water it down all in the name of equitability? They keep telling us the SACs would be doing what we did before? Non-sense. BCSS wants all the money and the SACs would be powerless to execute what we want at the level we want. This is a blatant power and money grab by BCSS that will encourage many of us that volunteer to leave our sports. No thanks!

    2. Well said Paul. Our programs would never survive without community coaches. BCHSS would die with out community volunteers.

  3. Thank you Paul and Mike for your comments. Well said. Not wanting to be boring and repetitive I want to focus on one small phrase that the BCSS Executive members seem to keep trumpeting when it comes to the diminshing role they propse for sport commissions and coaches. We don’t see the “broader-based picture”. Huh? I would really like to read a specific explanation of what they are talking about. My experience has been that these type of non specific nuances are used in response to a point of view or position that you don’t agree with but can’t specifically explain why not. Mr. Sweeney can you provide specifics please?

  4. Well said by many above already.

    The lack of appreciation towards community coaches who volunteer their time is appalling. I have coached high school basketball teams at two different high schools in North Delta at various levels (senior boys, senior girls, junior girls, grade 8 girls) for the past 15 years. None of these teams have ever had my own kid on it so there was definitely no personal agenda I had during any of this time. I simply wanted to give back to a school that did so much for me and to a sport that I absolutely love. Playing high school sports was a huge part of my student experience growing up and I wanted to try and provide similar experiences to today’s youth. I have had very competitive teams over the years and some not so competitive but that is besides the point. The end goal was to simply provide the kids I coached in any given year a great experience and to create lifelong memories with their teammates. I tried to instill a work ethic and commitment level into my players that would hopefully pay dividends for them later in life in whatever they chose to do.

    I am a university grad, a CPA, a business owner and a father of three kids. I have coached club sports and school sports and have sacrificed thousands of hours over the years in time away from the office and time away from my family to help provide these kids a great experience. I have personally paid for tournaments, personally paid for team gear, team meals and many other costs along the way because I care. I believe I have made a very strong impact in the lives of those I have coached. Somehow, in the eyes of BCSS, that is a negative and there is no appreciation for this type of sacrifice that I know so many other volunteer community coaches in their respective sports have made over many years. Every school I have ever coached has been so appreciative of my efforts (including teachers, ADs, administrators) but yet BCSS has no such appreciation.

    I personally want to thank all of you coaches out there (community based or school teachers) for everything you do for the kids you coach and for the experiences you provide to them. Also, thank you to all of the volunteers out there along with the commissions that have done so much over the years. It takes everyone to build a sense of community.

    BCSS is so far removed from all of this and from today’s athletes that it is disheartening to think they would try to throw this in during a pandemic. If they actually cared about the kids, they certainly would not be putting this forth at a time like this. Kids need sports, kids need great extra curricular experiences in their schools and they need great adult role models to show them the way. The experiences provided by all of these sport commissions has been unreal for the athletes involved and does not need to be changed but instead supported and encouraged. But then again, what do I know, I’m just a community volunteer coach and not an ‘educator’.

  5. To Whom It May Concern,

    After close examination of the recently released B. C. School Sports updated report detailing their plan for restructuring the governance model for high-school sports in British Columbia, the B. C. Secondary Schools Girls Basketball Association has several serious concerns about the proposal and the BCSSGBA opposes the adoption of these changes. The BCSSGBA is encouraging member schools to vote NO to this proposal at the BCSS Annual General Meeting scheduled to be held May 1, 2021.

    The BCSSGBA is encouraging school representatives to vote against this proposal because we believe it will produce negative consequences for the student athletes and reduce their positive sport experiences.

    The reasons for our concerns include the following:

    -The BCSS report appears based upon the hope things will not substantially change in the organization of individual sports and their championships. The proposal expresses the hopes volunteers will continue working in their present roles and current relationships between commissions, tournament host sites, sponsors and supporters will also remain in place. There is no plan for handling the governance changes if things do not remain the same which will lead to unintended struggles and challenges.

    -In response to criticism about the termination of the commissions, BCSS has stated it will create Sport Advisory Committees for some sports. However, these Sport Advisory Committees will not have any legislative authority and they are only a temporary stopgap intended to be in place for two years before the new governance model is fully implemented. The creation of these Sport Advisory Committees is only an attempt to reduce criticism while not really offering any compromise solution. This addition to the BCSS governance proposal only delays the death of the commissions and does not change the intent of the changes as originally stated.

    -The BCSS governance proposal seeks to establish one non-gendered body to oversee each BCSS activity meaning there will no longer be separate commissions for female and male sports to deal with issues directly related to their sport. As a result, female sports will be swallowed into larger bodies and female sports will lose their independent voice. Such a move is contrary to the growing international desire to increase the independent control and recognition for female sports separate from their male counterparts.

    -With a growing percentage of high-school coaches coming from the pool of community-based non-educators, the new governance model does not have any place for these non-educators to be involved in the future organization of high-school sports. The high-school sports landscape will lose the valuable experience these people have gained through years of being involved in the leadership of their various sport commissions and the organization of high-school sports will suffer as a result.

    -Coaches will no longer have a direct pathway to express concerns nor to seek positive changes to their sport and the related championships. There will no longer be a public forum for the coaches directly involved in their sport to create positive change and to improve the student-athlete experience when participating in high-school sport and related championships.

    -There is a clear threat to third-party hosts to continue in their present hosting roles. Existing contracts are between the commissions and these host sites, not with B. C. School Sports. BCSS is again hoping these relationships will transfer to their organization without any guarantee such a change will be the case. Given the success of wrestling, boys and girls volleyball and boys and girls basketball championships being hosted at the Langley Events Centre and football being hosted at B. C. Place Stadium, why jeopardize these positive experiences for our student athletes in future years?

    -Sponsors who have traditionally supported high-school sports with targeted funding or in-kind support for their sport of choice may not be willing to continue their sponsorship if their support instead goes into BCSS general revenue. The end result could be a significant negative financial impact on high-school sport in the province.

    -Applying a cookie-cutter approach to the organization of high-school sports in the province will not be successful because all high-school sports are not the same. Why diminish the student-athlete experience in high-school sports and their related championships while bringing their organization to the lowest common denominator? BCSS plans to hire tournament directors into paid positions who will replace the present volunteer groups which have organized hugely successful provincial championship events for many decades. Given how this BCSS proposal is being handled, it is a questionable assumption to expect tournament committees to return intact in the future. How is paying possible multi-sport generalists to fill this role better for our student-athletes than the work long-time sport specialists, both educators and non-educators, have provided for decades out of their love for their sport? Where will the money come from to pay for these new paid positions other than from increased school fees?

    -The promotion of high-school sports will be diminished without the collective work of all members of the sport commissions if they are replaced by individual sport commissioners. Expecting one person to perform all the current duties of a sport commission will leave gaps and lead to a lack of attention to details in the organization and the promotion of high-school sports and their related championships.

    If B. C. School Sports has concerns about branding high-school sports and their related provincial championships, this issue is one which could be openly discussed with the related sport commissions. Similarly, concerns about attracting potential provincial sponsors could also be discussed with the sport commissions. Such discussions have never taken place because BCSS has never started any of this type of discussion with the sport commissions. We are sure the sport commissions would much rather have a respectful working relationship under the BCSS umbrella rather than face a pitched battle as they have now been presented. The various sport commissioners have expressed as a unified voice a desire to work with BCSS, but they have been rebuffed and any attempts at a negotiated compromise have been rejected.

    The sport commissions and their volunteer members only have the goal of providing the best possible experiences for the student athletes they serve. The sport commissions should not be dismissed as special interest groups or non-educational bodies seeking power over their sport. While the BCSSGBA is encouraging this proposal to be defeated, we would hope if this appeal is successful we can engage in discussions with BCSS in the future to repair this relationship gap, to resolve outstanding issues and to move toward continuing to offer student athletes in B. C. the best possible sports experiences.

    Respectfully Submitted,

    B. C. Secondary Schools Girls Basketball Association Executive

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