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This is the year to tune into the variety of varsity sports McMaster offers

The 2020-2021 school year was a frustrating year, with no varsity or intramural sports happening on campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the 2021-2022 season offered a full variety of sports opportunities and activities students could get involved in, there were still a handful of disruptions, including the January lockdown that prohibited OUA competitions from continuing as planned.  

This upcoming season provides a sense of hope and continuity for sports enthusiasts and novices alike. There are many reasons to watch the sports the university has to offer and below are our top five reasons for why you should get involved this upcoming school year. 

1. Everything is open!  

As it stands in July 2022, all the facilities on campus will be open to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, students will not be required to sign up to access any on-campus facilities. Finally, the COVID-19 screening tool used in the 2021-2022 season, MacCheck, will no longer be required for students or student athletes wishing to get involved in any sports activities on campus.   

2. More athletes involved in national teams  

As the new season approaches, there are more opportunities for student athletes to be involved with junior and senior national team call ups. Although last season had its fair share of athletes being called up to the national teams, this season is promising comparable results.   

Although we are still two months away from commencement, Canadian U-21 women’s volleyball team included Marauder Sullie Sundara for the team at the upcoming U21 Pan American Cup in Mexico. Meanwhile from the men’s team, Sam Cooper was named to the Canadian senior national team. Finally, from the wrestling team, Serena Di Bennedetto qualified for the Canadian junior national team. 

3. More fixtures added to the teams’ schedule  

While the teams were allowed to play last season due to the timing of the pandemic waves their fixtures were somewhat limited. For example, if a team typically had 15 fixtures in the regular season, they were cut down to 10.   

From the schedules released thus far, there have been more matches added to the upcoming OUA season. For example, both the men’s’ and women’s’ soccer teams have seen an increase in their schedule from 10 games last season to 12 for this year's regular season

4. Greater focus on 2SLGBTQIA+ in sports 

Over the past season, the Athletics and Recreation Department at McMaster University has organized numerous events students and athletes alike could get involved in. Events like this are key for connecting with the wider McMaster community. Many events have been tailored towards supporting and recognizing particularly communities, including the 2SLGBTQIA+ community on campus.   

An event that shed light on this community last season was the Pride Game taking place at McMaster men's and women’s basketball game against the Waterloo Warriors. The goal of the game was to highlight and increase the visibility of 2SLGBTQIA+ student-athletes. Although not confirmed as of July 2022, the event among others to shed light on the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are likely to held again.   

5. More racial equality implementation  

Over the past couple of years, McMaster has been grilled for consistently letting down their athletes. There were numerous allegations regarding the mistreatment of the athletes representing the school, including the prioritization of white athletes while not responding to Black students for varsity meetings.   

This year McMaster put effort into combatting these allegations and has taken action. In late June 2022, the Athletics and Recreation Department hosted multiple peers at their inaugural anti-racism symposium. The goal of this event was to further the conversation within the OUA and OCAA about creating actual changes in athletics and recreation departments at the post-secondary level. Although this one event doesn't signify a complete change in the community’s stance towards racism, it certainly is a step in the right direction and shows a glimpse of hope for the future of McMaster athletes.   

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