OUA universities can't compete in American Sports

Is the NCAA coming to Canada?

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

With recent talk of some Canadian schools joining the NCAA, one wonders if this would possibly be a good idea for teams in Ontario University Athletics.

Thus far, the University of British Columbia and Ontario’s St. Claire College have been mentioned by NCAA President Myles Brand as potential “international” institutions that could apply to join the massive association of American schools.

UBC could really sink its teeth into certain athletic exploits with the move. The Thunderbirds have an excellent baseball program, with alumni like the Colorado Rockies’ Jeff Francis. On the diamond, UBC could probably be competitive with NCAA schools, even against some of the baseball-mad schools on the West Coast.

However, when we think about the OUA, the prospects get a lot bleaker. In the OUA, Western is known for consistently having strong football and hockey programs. To say our offerings would be lost in translation south of the border is a huge understatement.

On the ice, the Mustangs are beaten soundly by middle powers like Central Michigan and Western Michigan. Completely disregarding the NCAA’s elite like Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota or Ohio State, the NCAA programs are just too fast for our players.

Switching to the gridiron, realistically believing OUA schools could change their scholarship policies and join the NCAA is a joke. Even if schools like Western could compete against Division II or Division III NCAA programs, we don’t have the pool of athletes, the infrastructure or the interest in the sport to make it worthwhile.

While a move to the NCAA might actually be in the best interests of a few select programs at UBC, expecting the same in this province is wishful thinking.

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