Simon Fraser adds to NCAA’s northern exposure: Soccer, women’s volleyball and football teams from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, begin the 2010 season in their second year of Division II candidacy. When the process is complete at least two years from now, Simon Fraser will be the first institution from outside the U.S. and its territories to complete as a full-fledged NCAA member. Read more »
By David Pickle
The Simon Fraser University athletics program may face a multitude of issues as it moves toward becoming the NCAA’s first international member, but the Canadian institution may be advantaged in one area: border crossings.
Teams from Simon Fraser have competed in the United States for so long that crossing the border at Blaine, Washington, is almost second nature for them.
David Murphy Simon Fraser
“It all depends on what’s going on at the border on that particular day,” said Simon Fraser Athletics Director David Murphy. “I’ve been there when you just breeze right through and then there are other days where there might be some sort of alert on. But generally speaking, when they see a busload of SFU student-athletes, they kind of know what the deal is. We’ve been doing it since 1965, so we’ve got a lot of experience going across that border.”
That’s not as true for their American counterparts, including Western Oregon, which plays at Simon Fraser this Saturday.
Asked whether he expects the crossing to go smoothly for his football team this weekend, Western Oregon AD Daniel Hare joked: “Well, I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!”
Kidding aside, Hare said that he and other administrators have carefully considered how the crossing will be accomplished.
Daniel Hare Western Oregon
“We’ve been dealing with that quite a bit and trying to get as much information as we can about the border crossing,” he said. “Obviously we’re trying to get all of our kids with passports.
“With international student-athletes (an issue in sports other than football), we’re trying to make sure that they have all their paperwork so, most importantly, they can get back in to the country after they leave.”
In fact, Hare said the return is his biggest concern.
“It’s one thing to call Mom and say your kid couldn’t play in the game and it’s another to call and say he can’t get back in the country,” he said. “So that’s a big one for me.”
Hare said coaches and administrators will take what they learn from this trip and use it as the template for other Western Oregon teams that will travel to Simon Fraser this year.
The team will not be the only Americans heading north this weekend.
“I know a number of our fans are making the trip,” Hare said. “It’s sort of a mini-vacation to go to the Vancouver area, especially over the Labor Day holiday weekend. So there is a lot of excitement about that.”
Western Oregon already has a popular game (“The Battle in Seattle”) scheduled annually against Central Washington at Seattle’s Qwest Field.
“I think the game with Simon Fraser can turn into another game like that for our fans,” Hare said. “It’s very drivable for us. So, yes, there are all sorts of possibilities.”