I've never understood why some schools don't do this. The U of S has a self-sustaining women's softball team that is actually very good every year. Since Canada West and USports don't sponsor softball, there is a piecemeal arrangement of teams around the nation. In the West, only the U of S does not have some affiliation with the athletic department. They have asked many times to wear the Huskies logo and use the Huskies name, they have repeated a number of times they don't want any money from the Athletic Department, just the rights to call themselves Huskies. Every other team goes by their school's nickname and uses the logo.

I also remember when I was on campus 12 or 13 years ago, one of the community women's rugby clubs was trying to put together a U of S rugby team. I have no idea exactly what their goal was, but my assumption was that they wanted to get out of playing in the North Saskatchewan Rugby Union (the local Saskatoon and area rugby league) and join Canada West. My girlfriend at the team had signed up to play on the team and from what I understand, their idea was going to be the same as the softball team's, no money from Huskie Athletics, but an affiliation to allow them to play in Canada West and the use of the logo and name. Again, they were denied.

I know that various groups from the U of S have put together teams to compete at the Rugby Canada University 7s championships for both genders over the years and of course there was no allowance from Huskie Athletics to use the name and come in under their umbrella. I may have unwittingly caused a stir as I noticed Rugby Canada was calling them the Saskatchewan Huskies on their website one year, so I had emailed asking why this team was allowed to and the softball team could not. I received a terse reply from someone stating they absolutely did not have permission and Huskie Athletics would be taking it up with Rugby Canada shortly. From then on it called them the U of Saskatchewan I believe.

I also believe there was a curling team in the early years of CCA/CIS Curling Championship and I am not entirely sure how entering it works, but again a team representing the U of S went, but could not carry the Huskies name. I suspect they were able to enter through the Canadian Curling Association, so technically circumventing being officially affiliated with Huskie Athletics.

The cheer team was the biggest thing that upset me. Forever and a day they were members of Huskie Athletics and were able to call themselves the Huskie Cheer Team. They were fixtures at Huskies football games as long as I could remember. One day for whatever reason, they were booted out of Huskie Athletics, stripped of the right to call themselves the Huskies and not allowed to cheer on the sidelines at football games. They have continued to operate as they always have otherwise as the University of Saskatchewan Cheer Club and continue to go to the cheerleading competitions in the US that you see on TV. So if it was a budgetary thing, they have resolved it.

All of these teams could easily fall into a category like what Ottawa is doing. If it doesn't cost Huskie Athletics a dime, why not let them use the logo and the name. Other than uniforms, I doubt there would be any unapproved merchandise that the teams would be selling. If they were selling merchandise, I suspect they would do what Huskies hockey and football have done and create logos that are not the traditional Huskies logo. Can't stop the team from selling merchandise that is using a different logo.

What is ironic is that I received a survey from Huskie Athletics the other day, mainly relating to what my feelings were with regards to ticket prices, concessions etc. at the new Merlis Belsher Place arena that will open next fall for the Hockey Dogs. However, it started out with what do you like about Huskie Athletics and then what do you dislike about Huskie Athletics. I wrote 10 paragraphs about what I disliked about Huskie Athletics, constructive criticism of course, but criticism. My Dad said he got the same survey and did likewise and I suspect that thousands got the same one and I am sure at least the faithful here had plenty to add to the conversation too. Part of my answer involved the above, so hopefully when they get these (and hopefully read the responses, the new AD seems very keen on cleaning up the image that Huskie Athletics has in Saskatoon, the past few ADs have not made friends with many of the fanbase) they will take action. The simplest one is to bring the softball team and the cheerleading team (and any of the other sports that have teams every year and participate representing the U of S) in from the cold.

On the softball front, I think they need to do one better and join the NAIA and bring the softball team in as a legitimate funded sport and play the spring NAIA season and the fall Canadian season. If I remember right there are plenty of NAIA schools in North Dakota, Montana and Minnesota that play softball. I am sure they would be happy to add the U of S as a member. But even if they don't go that far, add them as an affiliate team under Huskie Athletics. They are a good team every year, it would add prestige to the sign saying whatever number of conference championships won. Hell, they have two soccer programs that have rarely done anything under their banner, but they leave a consistent championship contender, who play in a world class stadium, out in the cold.

At any rate, the U of S should be looking very hard at this model and bringing in what amounts to a no brainer. The rugby and curling (and whatever else there might be that gets no media coverage) might be looking for money, but the softball and cheerleaders aren't. How hard is it to extend the olive branch to those teams? I shake my head every time this comes up, both seem to be doing fine without Huskie Athletics money, just give them the name and logo rights (and for the cheer team invite them back to the football games).