To better support student-athletes, U SPORTS announced significant policy changes to Athletic Scholarships (AFA) and Eligibility on Thursday, effective the 2024-25 season

Beginning next year, first-time entering student-athletes will be permitted to participate and receive an athletic scholarship so long as they have been accepted to a member university and enrolled in degree-granting courses.  

The new direction replaces the existing policy that requires entering student-athletes to have an 80% average in their final year of high school or CEGEP to be eligible for an entering athletic scholarship and a 60% average to participate athletically in their first year of study. 

“These changes intend to remove systemic barriers impacting a student-athlete’s ability to participate in U SPORTS and receive funding assistance for pursuing their education,” said Pierre Arsenault, U SPORTS Chief Executive Officer. “Our focus is to make university studies and sports participation more accessible. For current entering student-athletes participation in U SPORTS depends on their high school or CEGEP grades. Therefore, we chose to align participation and scholarship qualification with admission to an institution.”  

Also, beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, U SPORTS institutions will be required to distribute a minimum of 45% of their total Athletic Scholarship units to student-athletes on men’s teams and a minimum of 45% of their total AFA units to student-athletes on women’s teams.   

An AFA (athletic scholarship) unit equals 100% of tuition and mandatory fees for any student-athlete during an academic year. Therefore, a student with tuition and required fees of $ 5,000 and who receives an athletic scholarship of $ 5,000 would use one unit.   

“Student-athletes commit many hours to represent their university,” added Arsenault. “Between attending classes, studying, practice and competitions, it is difficult for student-athletes to hold employment in-season. We are proud to work with our member institutions to ensure equitable opportunities for AFA support.  We know that the changes adopted this week set all U SPORTS students up for greater success in the classroom and on the field of competition.”