Canadian colleges decry limit on international student-athletes

February 16, 2012

Holland College is leading a fight against a 20-year-old rule that limits the number of international students who can dress for varsity sports teams, arguing that it hampers international recruitment. The Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association caps the number of foreign students who can play on these teams to one in 6 players in order to maintain parity and guarantee spots for Canadians. International students make up 4% of Holland College's population, but that proportion is growing fast. Positive word of mouth is key in maintaining interest, says a Holland College official, and every student who goes elsewhere or has a subpar experience dulls that buzz. The college appealed to Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore last month to use his influence over Sports Canada, a major funding source for collegiate athletics, to spur change. The institution has yet to receive a reply, but Minister of State for Sport Bal Gosal told the Globe and Mail that colleges must make their own decisions, and he hopes "they will balance the interest of Canadian athletes with the goal of increasing international students." Globe and Mail