I’m not a swimmer. I’m not an athlete. The greatest exposure I get to sports is the Summer Olympics every four years. But I do have friends who love to swim and play other competitive sports, and this is for them.

Dear OFSAA Executives, Parents, Students, Athletes, and our Catholic and Private Board Partners:

Student extracurriculars have been back as of last Friday, but not all students are celebrating. Because of Monday’s OFSAA Swimming registration deadline, Ontario’s dedicated public school swimmers will not be allowed to compete. For hundreds, OFSAA is one last hope for a 2012-13 swim season, with city-wide and regional meets cancelled because of the teacher work-to-rule. But for graduating swimmers, OFSAA means a whole lot more: the last meet of their high school career, a final shot at the podium and the athletic scholarships that come in tow. If Monday’s deadline is held as is, these passionate student athletes will be denied the chance to even qualify.

Earlier on Monday, OFSAA stated that “with the integrity of the championship in mind”, it will not “[accept] any new qualifying forms or amendments to the entries … [or support] any new qualifying meets or establishment of qualifying processes that circumvent what has already been established”. If we define integrity as adherence to moral principles, OFSAA is not acting with integrity. Rather, this decision undermines OFSAA’s dedication to equity, commitment, and leadership. Where is the equity in denying Ontario public school swimmers the opportunity to qualify and compete because of circumstances outside of their control? Where is OFSAA’s commitment to all Ontario student athletes, regardless of personal circumstances? Is this the sort of example OFSAA should set as “the leader in education through sport”?

All we’re asking for is that  OFSAA be pushed back one month. This may be unprecedented, but so was relocating OFSAA from Etobicoke to Milton last year. Yet compared to last year’s possible cancellation, this year’s incomplete championship is far more real and dangerous. Running OFSAA on March 5-6 out of supposed “integrity” without giving public school swimmers a fair shot at competing is more than inequitable—it is unsporting.

Give public school swimmers the opportunity to compete on April 5-6. Private and Catholic school swimmers have had their chance to qualify: public school swimmers should too.


MJ Chen

Co-organizer and Correspondent


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Editor’s note: This open letter reflects the personal views of the author and not those of the editorial board as a whole. The Reckoner understands that all extracurricular activities are performed voluntarily, and we continue to promote respectful discourse in the ongoing labour struggle. We have chosen to publish this letter in the belief that our readers will benefit from reading a viewpoint on this controversial and time-sensitive issue.

–Tommy Donnelly, Editorial Manager

–Mahan Nekoui, Editor-in-Chief