Canberra Capitals announce ownership change to University of Canberra

Friday, May 16, 2014

File photo of Carrie Graf coaching the Capitals
Image: Bidgee.
University of Canberra sports scientist Ben Rattray explains a research project. The University of Canberra has one of the top sports programs in Australia.
Image: Leighblackall.
File video of the Canberra Capitals players being introduced before a game
Image: Laura Hale.

Earlier today, the Australian women's semi-professional basketball team Canberra Capitals announced a formal transfer of the club to University of Canberra. Prior to the transfer, the Women's National Basketball League (WNBL) club was owned and operated by Basketball Australian Capital Territory (BACT).

The deal includes the WNBL operating license, and involves the team being renamed to the University of Canberra Capitals. The transfer still requires formal approval from Basketball Australia and the WNBL Commission. It does not include ownership of other BACT teams including the Capitals Academy SEABL team, the Canberra Gunners, and the Gunners Academy.

The Capitals have failed to qualify for the WNBL finals for the past three years, and current head coach and former national team coach Carrie Graf says the change will improve the team's potential for success. She is quoted in a Basketball ACT press release saying, "The University is committed to supporting women in sport where often female athletes are unable to dedicate themselves to their sport in the same way as male athletes. The transfer will enable Capitals players to establish flexible working, living and studying arrangements through the University so that they are able to have a stronger focus on basketball while at the same time preparing for life after basketball."

The Canberra Times reports the ownership change will make it easier for the team to recruit top young talent as the team will be able to provide food, housing, tuition, and a basketball salary. On the reported downside, University of Canberra chief executive Joe Roff has said the University will not be able to increase player salaries.

The University of Canberra is recognized as one of the best sports universities in Australia, has a sports studies department, and currently has a naming rights agreement with the Brumbies professional rugby union team in Canberra.