The traditional Australian University Games and Championships will now be known as Uni Nationals. The rebrand is due to a shift in focus to a performance-based event for the very best university sport teams.
The traditional Uni Games will now be known as Uni Nationals Div 1 (held in September for qualified teams from the 2017 event) and Uni Nationals Div 2 (held in July and replacing the annual regional games and now acting as the qualifying event). National Body Australian University Sport will now be known as UniSport Australia after the name change was voted at the organisations AGM in May.
The UniSport Australia Case for Change document outlined a number of reasons for an adjustment in the National University Sport model, with risk management around the culture ingrained in the event, especially acknowledging that binge drinking as a driving factor for the changes.
The University of Melbourne’s Sport Performance Coordinator Tom Lutwyche has said this will mean a cultural shift for most teams that attend the event, including some Melbourne teams. “The binge drinking that has taken place in the past won’t be acceptable behaviour for Melbourne teams and students attending Uni Nationals events. Clearly it has an adverse effect on performance, and heightens the risk of things that can happen as a result of that drinking - and the University can’t accept that type of behaviour from our students or our teams. We’re going to need team leaders and students to drive this expectation of change.”
Along with the name change, 40 team sports are now limited to just 10 competing universities in the divisional structure, with 9th and 10th place each year in Division 1 being relegated to Division 2 the following year, and the 1st and 2nd place teams from Division 2 winning their promotion in the following calendar year. In a move to raise the standard of sport competitions, Unisport Australia are partnering with NSO’s which in the long-term, is planned to develop pathways for the participating student-athletes.
While MU Sport support the change to the Uni Nationals model, they will continue to develop new competition opportunities for teams in events such as the Big Blue with Monash, the Australian Boat Race and the Varsity Challenge Cup in various sports with Go8 universities. The goal: quality sporting opportunities for student-athletes throughout the year, with on-campus marquee events. It’s all about pride and passion: creating a new varsity tradition by providing spectator opportunities for the wider university community to cheer on those teams in the black and blue.