University sport in Canada as we know it is over. With the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Division Two voting to allow Canadian universities to apply for membership, Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) will undergo major changes in the not-too-distant future.
With the University of British Columbia all but deciding to go forward with their application, and the University of Alberta’s athletics department going on record saying that they too are interested in moving to the NCAA, the shakeup in CIS looks to be a significant one.
UBC leaving the CIS would not in itself kill the Canadian league. However, like was written in a story printed in this newspaper last year, the potential for a “ripple effect,” as Dr. Marvin Washington from the University of Alberta put it, would be disastrous for the CIS.
If UBC succeeds, you will probably see more and more universities going to the United States, and then where does that leave the rest of the teams in the CIS, especially in Eastern Canada in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces?
These teams are very far geographically from their would-be American rivals and smaller budgets will doom them against the high-revenue teams of the NCAA, even in Division Two.
The major difference between the NCAA and CIS is the fan interest. I’m not surprised at how popular University sports are in the U.S, but I am surprised at how not-popular they are in Canada, and something has to change.
I must concede that this move makes sense for UBC. They will save quite a bit of money in travel – the conferences they are considering joining are much closer to them compared to traveling to some of the Canada West teams like the University of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
There is also a silver lining for the CIS in all of this. This should put the fear in them. This should force them to panic and make some changes for the better and do a better job to promote their product.
However, if you look at the comments made by CIS CEO Marg McGregor, you will see that the CIS barely even cares. They concede that they will lose UBC, and they don’t see any long-term danger for the CIS. With an attitude like this, long-term doom for the CIS is not only likely, but also inevitable.
However, the CIS has admitted that they are looking into membership satisfaction, saying that they will send out a survey as well as giving the CIS “cause to reflect”.
Let’s hope that the reflection brings change.
Manning to the Super Bowl
All season long we heard that a match-up between Manning and Brady would be for the Super Bowl. Of course, most football fans thought it would be Peyton and the Colts against Tom and his Patriots in the AFC Championship.
Well, we actually have a Manning-Brady Super Bowl now that Eli Manning and his New York Giants beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Sunday night in overtime.
We should all be very thankful. Now, we don’t have to deal with two weeks of hype between Brett Favre and the undefeated Patriots.
Before you give the Pats a 19-0 season, remember that the Giants lost both games to the Cowboys before beating them in the playoffs. The Giants lost to the Patriots in the final game of the regular season, but this time both teams have everything to play for.
It should be a good game, but I think that this game is David vs Goliath. And Goliath isn’t a Giant in this match-up.
My prediction is a Patriots win. They haven’t lost yet, and I will go with them until they lose. And, in 2007-08 they won’t. Period.