Please find enclosed a letter sent out to all British Universities
regarding the future of BUSA rowing. I presume as this has been sent
out all information is in the public domain and free to be chewed
11 October 2007.
British Universities Rowing (BUR)
Over the last two days there has been a variety of information
circulating around the ether concerning the BUSA rowing programme, its
management and the future. I will keep you posted as soon as there is
firm information to convey, but at present the position is as follows:
1 Over recent years, there has been growing confusion around the
management of the BUSA rowing programme. Student rowing is a massive
phenomenon and the growing number of events, run by BUR (some
sanctioned by the BUSA Executive Board), while laudable, has got out
of hand. While we would all support the intention to offer many
opportunities for student rowing, there needs to be a balance of
opportunity and quality.
2 The personnel involved in the BUSA Sports Management Group (SMG) and
British University Rowing (BUR) are largely the same people, and the
confusion has led to a position where very few people, either inside
or outside of the sector, know who speaks for University rowing.
3 This has come to a head recently where people purporting to speak
for the sector have caused offence to those outside, without any clear
lines of control, authority or recourse. Following this, there have
been renewed efforts to try and establish where the line is between
what BUR and BUSA SMG do. The Chair of the SMG has been asked to
define where the boundaries are, and for the personnel in the BUSA SMG
to be different from those in BUR. I have asked for this exercise to
be carried out by the end of October and, during the interim, I have
asked for all BUSA rowing issues to come through the BUSA office.
4 In parallel to this, there have been growing tensions relating to
how athletes should be selected to attend international student events
- in this case the World University Rowing Championships (2008 and
2010) and the World University Games (2009). In all the sports where
we take teams to FISU events, this is done in conjunction with the
National Governing Body for that sport and we would like to continue
with this strategy, working with the ARA with regard to the
international student rowing programme Following a meeting last week,
selection criteria for the 2008 World University Championships were
agreed with the ARA which will give talented student rowers an open
opportunity to trial for a GB team, alongside athletes trialling for
other GB senior and GB u23 squads.
This joint event would enable the ARA to support the GB team attending
the FISU championships. A selected panel of performance coaches will
assist with trials and consider final selections together with the
ARA's nominated selector who will be responsible for final crew
formation and selection.
5 Following the announcement of this international selection route on
Tuesday, BUR have withdrawn all input into BUSA rowing events until
further notice (for clarity the BUSA events are the Indoor
Championships, Regatta, Sprints, Small Boats Head, Novice Head, Super
8's and the BUSA Championship Head). BUR will however continue to run
its own events with no BUSA points awarded.
6 A new rowing SMG will be appointed by the Executive Board at its
meeting on 25 October and, in the meantime, we are doing what we can
to ensure that the Small Boats Head continues on October 28 and a
decision will be made by the closing deadline of October 17.
7 The uncertainty is far from ideal and for that I apologise. I
remain convinced that in the medium term the interests of University
rowing are best served by BUSA providing timely, appropriate, and good
quality events for its members, for a clear pathway to exist for
talented athletes in the sector, and for the Association's point of
contact with the rest of the rowing world to be clearly designated.
We are doing all we can, as quickly as we can to ensure that this
happens, but in the short term there will, inevitably, be some flux.
I hope that by early next week we have been able to provide some
update for you. I would be grateful if you could pass this to your
rowing clubs and rowing coaches as necessary.
Essentially then to me it looks as though BUSA rowing is going to take
on an entirely new SMG. Quite how this is going to affect the years
inter-unviersity racing remains to be seen, however it may finally
usher in an era of more co-operation between BUSA and the ARA, which I
presume can only be a good thing in terms of improving competition
between universities and achieving a higher standard of rowing. I'd
just be interested to see what people who've been in the sport much
longer than me make of all this.