Rhodes University became the latest member of the Varsity Sports family, when a delegation from the University signed an agreement in Cape Town on Friday.
This makes Rhodes the 12th tertiary institution to join the University Sports company and Varsity Sports, and enables them to take part in all Varsity Sports events going forward should they qualify in the respective sporting codes.
This means that Rhodes will have the opportunity to measure themselves against the likes of UP-Tuks, UFS, Maties, UJ, UWC, TUT, NWU, UCT, NMMU, Wits and the University of the Limpopo across a number of sports.
Rhodes University Head of Sports Mandla Gagayi said that although it took them a while to get involved with Varsity Sports, Rhodes is excited about the possibilities that lie ahead.
“It took us a while to get involved because we wanted to first get our house in order and look at our own principles and whether they matched up with those of Varsity Sports.
“We wanted to look at what we were getting ourselves into and make sure that it does not compromise the academic project, but we are now clear that our principles have been addressed and that the contract is fair.
“What is most exciting is that we are giving our students something to aspire to,” he said.
Gagayi said that he expects the passion of the Rhodes students and alumni to be a major factor in any Varsity Sports competition that they are a part of.
“What I can assure you is, any competition that comes to Grahamstown will be a completely different experience because Rhodes students know how to get behind their teams. Even if we play in Cape Town I can tell you, Cape Town will be purple just for that day,” he said.
CEO of Advent Sport Entertainment and Media (ASEM) and World Cup-winning Springbok captain Francois Pienaar said that the addition of Rhodes to the Varsity Sports family is exciting, especially as they excel at rowing which is one of the sports set to be added to the Varsity Sports roster in the near future.
“If you look at Universities in America rowing is massive and if you look at the UK the biggest race is Oxford/Cambridge. So just from a rowing perspective there is so much pressure on us now to try and get some funding to do a Varsity Sports rowing event live on television.
“It took a while for Rhodes to understand what we want to achieve as Varsity Sports, and there were a lot of questions but I am pleased that all of the questions have been answered which is why we are signing today,” he said.
Varsity Sports has just completed its inaugural Varsity Football tournament with sell-out stadiums and is currently in the Netball challenge phase with Sevens rugby and Beach Volleyball coming up in November.
This is in addition to other hugely successful Varsity Sports events such as Hockey and Athletics which Rhodes will now be able to take part in.