Fleming College athletics is about to put Shakespeare to the test.
After 40 years of running parallel varsity programs at the Lindsay and Peterborough campus’s, the college administration has made the decision to amalgamate the two athletic departments into a single entity.
The Fleming Peterborough Knights and the Lindsay Auks will be no more.
The announcement was made Thursday by the Ontario College Athletics Association after a biannual meeting of the league’s 31 athletic directors in Toronto last week.
“This is a decision that has been two years in the making,” comments Peterborough campus athletic director Fred Batley.
The decision is based on improving the competitiveness of the college’s athletic programs and to streamline the organizational and accounting aspects of the departments.
Although the Peterborough campus plays host to the majority of the varsity sport programs, the Fleming Lindsay Auks have rugby and curling teams that compete against their Peterborough brethren in the OCAA. The merger will combine the best of both programs to provide a more competitive product under the new Fleming banner.
The new configuration will not result in job losses and isn’t a cost cutting measure, but will result in a restructuring of programs. Fred Batley will become athletic director of both campuses, while Lindsay athletic director Jane Bolin will be named director of recreational sports.
The Peterborough campus will retain the basketball, cross country, curling, rugby, outdoor soccer and volleyball programs, while Lindsay will gain golf and indoor soccer. The logger sports and extramural programs will remain in Lindsay as well.
While there may be some logistical challenges with returning athletes having to find transportation to their new training venue, Batley doesn’t feels that the change will impact student involvement.
“Lindsay students have been traveling to Peterborough for years (for the other sports)”, comments Batley
The other deciding factor in the merger was to eliminate the redundancy of two athletic departments within the Fleming structure running two separate financial records. Other departments, regardless of location, are merged into a single financial report, falling in line with the more corporate approach to operations that the college wants to follow.
The only real objection has come from the alumni who, as of September 2012, will lose the identity that they have connected with and cheered for the last four decades.
Batley, who has been with Fleming for 34 years, has been a Knight his entire career and relates with the concerns that the former athletes have brought forward.
“Its tough to see the Knights and the Auks go,” states Batley. “(But) I’m okay with it”
The college will begin the rebranding process in the New Year, involving students in not only the renaming process, but the logo design as well. As excitement spread across both campuses, administration plans to hold a contest to allow all students a chance to submit their ideas for consideration.
Yet it is important to note, no matter how pretty the packaging is; its what’s inside that counts.
As the strength of both teams unite under a common banner, Fleming’s new identity will certainly enjoy the sweet smell of success.