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Simon Fraser University Becomes First Canadian School in NCAA

Kyle W. BrownContributor IISeptember 5, 2010

The Simon Fraser Clan have taken one giant leap for Canadian post-secondary institutions, as they prepare for their first season as a member institution of NCAA's Division II Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the Globe & Mail reports.

After playing as a provisional member in the conference last year (supposed to be a two-year process), they were granted full membership for the 2010-11 season after Canada West, the Canadian Interuniversity Sport association that SFU played in, put all of the Clan's athletic teams on probation, not allowing them to participate in this year's season.

With the GNAC offering full membership a year earlier, the Clan become the first non-U.S. member to join the NCAA, and definitely set a precedent for other Canadian institutions.

It has long been argued that Canadian institutions could not recruit the same calibre athletes as American schools because of the lack of athletic scholarships and stricter regulations that CIS has than NCAA. Many have criticized this system saying that Canada's top high school athletes leave the country to pursue positions at American schools, which is for the most part true.

Now that SFU has become an NCAA member, it will follow it's recruiting and scholarship regulations, and will be a definite draw to high school athletes across western Canada.

That's got to get the mind flowing for other major Canadian university sports programs, and bloggers are already speculating that the University of British Columbia (located just down the highway from SFU) and Universite Laval, which is located in Quebec City.

The school will also save money on football travel, due to taking bus trips as opposed to having to fly across four Canadian provinces, and on football playoff costs as NCAA foots those bills.

They will enter teams in men's football, men's and women's soccer, basketball, track and field, swimming and diving and cross-country, as well as women's volleyball and softball.

The SFU football team will begin their season tomorrow against the Western Oregon Wolves at home.

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