In his Nov. 28 article in The McGill Tribune, “Selective success: A McGill recruiting story,” Patrick Beacham touched on several important issues relevant to recruiting; however there were several inaccuracies in his article that need correcting.
Recruiting talented student-athletes is a complex process, much of which is governed by university leagues such as the U Sports nationally or the RSEQ in Quebec. When it comes to the financial packages offered to student-athletes at McGill and its sister institutions, there are rules to ensure parity. In Quebec schools, the maximum that can be awarded to a student athlete is the equivalent of tuition and its associated ancillary fees. In Ontario schools, the maximum financial package available to athletes is $4,500. At McGill, all of our level I teams (hockey, swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer, football) and select level II teams have financial awards available for student athletes. And while there's always room to increase the number of McGill athletes who receive financial help, it's rare for McGill teams to lose a recruit based on finances alone.
As for McGill's ability to recruit compared to other schools, Beacham was correct in stating that all athletes must meet the same academic standards as any other student applying to McGill. However, I take exception to the statement that McGill struggles to stay competitive. Last year, our four big sports—men’s and women's hockey, and men’s and women's basketball—won their divisions and competed at the national championships. The Martlet basketball team was crowned the best university team in the country. Many of McGill’s other teams had successful seasons as well, and the University is now considered a leading performer in both athletics and academics.
Also deserving of clarification is the information related to admissions. The process of admitting athletes to McGill has improved significantly in recent years, with potential recruits receiving early admittance more often, and more attention being given to cases where students face extenuating circumstances.
Much of this information could have been provided by interviewing the Athletics staff responsible for following a recruit from the time he or she expresses interest to McGill, to the time they receive their acceptance. There is indeed a good story here, as the path from potential recruit to pulling on a McGill jersey is worth chronicling, but it’s important to ensure that the process is reflected accurately.
Marc Gélinas is the Executive Director of McGill Athletics and Recreation.