Tuesday, September 09, 2008

CIS Corner: The year of the talented transfer

Notes on our teams of interest from The 613...

Gee-Gees: There's probably a good story to be had about the conspicuously high number of fifth-year transfers seem to be popping up on CIS football rosters.

It's not clear what grounds there are to oppose a football player using a fifth year of eligibility after playing four years somewhere else, as long as he is in school for the right reasons. Most of you lot would probably start squawking about, "Where's the loyalty?" and these brave young men putting their bodies on the line once a week for the ol' school colours, but beyond that, what have you got? Schools which don't offer a lot of post-graduate degrees -- Laurier, Guelph -- might have reason to be ticked off.

Cornerback Nial Both who last played football in 2006 at Saint Mary's (he started out at Laurier), is due to begin practising with the U of O this week. He's the second former Huskie to sign on with the Gee-Gees, along with wideout Ron Kelly, who's in his fourth year of eligibility.

As you probably know, the Gee-Gees have added receiver Ivan Birungi, centre Sean O'Donnell and linebacker-end Ian Hazlett, each of whom made all-Canadian or all-conference during his four seasons at another school. Elsewhere in the OUA, defensive back Jon Hood and tailback Marvin McCooty, who each played at St. FX, are now with Western and Waterloo, respectively. Ottawa native Joseph Mroue is also at Sherbrooke after four seasons at Montreal.

The feeling here is that to some extent, you have to squash the feeling that this has the sickly scent of opportunism -- guys going to a school that offers them the chance to be on a winner. (McCooty, by going to Waterloo, is obviously an exception.)

Life is not that cut-and-dried and for the most part, there's no knowing what factored into each individual's decision. People in general have become more transient in their working and personal lives. It's considered a milestone when you stay in the same job in the same city for two years. Sports is no different, even in a last bastion of amateur sport such as the CIS.

That being said, the glut of transfers is definitely newsworthy. Also, no one is expecting to see Hazlett and O'Donnell stand with their former Queen's teammates and sing an a capella version of Imagine instead of the national anthem before the Ottawa-Queen's game in Kingston on Oct. 11.

The point is, it's nothing to get riled over. It's just reality.

Golden Gaels: The football Gaels are in the top 5 of the CIS Top Ten for the first time since the dizzying highs of the Tom Denison era. They face Laurier on Saturday on a day when Queen's is honouring the 1968, '78 and '83 championship teams.

Given the magnitude of the day, Queen's has a real challenge to stay loose and full of swagger and not come out tighter than Cindy McCain after her last facelift. It should be a good one.

Hate to harp on this, but we need the principals to know there are people who do care. At this writing, Dan Brannagan is listed on the CIS website having passed for 1,450 yards in two games (it's actually 725, so his stats were entered twice). Small wonder a media friend of ours jokes that CIS stands for Completely Inaccurate Stats.

The Sept. 16 edition of The Hockey News has an item on Alyn McCauley becoming a Queen's hockey assistant coach (try to look the other way when the coach is ID'd as "Brent" Gibson). It's a pretty rich issue for Kingston-area hockey lovers. There's a nice photo of the Belleville Bulls goalie Mike Murphy, of Inverary, to go with the article that ranks them as the No. 1 team in the OHL and No. 2 team in Canada. (The Frontenacs come in at No. 12 in the league: "The future is bright, but the present is dim.")

Former Gaels volleyball Amanda Maze is also helping coach at Ryerson.

Ravens: The Kingston Whig-Standard has a feature today on Carleton's Kingston trio, Stu Turnbull, Rob Saunders and Aaron Doornekamp and the near-upset they helped pull off against the Kansas Jayhawks ten days ago. Stu Turnbull is as good with the quotes as his with knocking down the open shots.

Dave Smart offered a take on the inevitable hypothetical about the CIS champs going in the U.S. version of March Madness.
" 'I'm not big on those first-round games, anyway, because you play at a high level all the way through, then your reward is to go to the NCAA tournament, where you lose by 40 points to North Carolina,' mused Smart.

"... 'You finish your season on a high note playing well, then they call it a reward to get your head handed to you by a No. 1 seed."

My stock answer about Carleton and the U.S. version of March Madness is that, at their peak, they could probably win one of those conferences like America East or the Patriot League, whose champion usually gets a 13 or 14 seed (think Vermont when it beat Syracuse in the first round in '05).


Duane Rollins said...

WLU has a one year business diploma program for arts grads--the biz dip--that has long been a favourite destination for fifth year Hawks...

sager said...

I'm aware ... Laurier is listed as Primarily Undergraduate in the Macleans guide to universities, as flawed as that might be. That's where I was coming from.

Mike said...

no for sure Sager, but they're definitely changing that - have even opened up a teacher's college just recently too! (waiting to build the new building before they expand the program and let in many ppl). And before the government shot down the funding, they were about to open up a Law School too!

But funny you mention Laurier losing players my Dad played football for the Hawks back in the 70's, and after 4 years with Laurier he said a number of his friends would actually leave for Western for their 5th year to play out their eligibility. Another reason to hate the 'Stangs? Possibly, but more importantly another point to bring up when Western tries to say they're so much better than Laurier because of history, how many games were bolstered by former Hawks? ;)

Duane Rollins said...

Sorry...where were the Bulls ranked again? I forgot. Could you remind me?

sager said...

And before the government shot down the funding, they were about to open up a Law School too!

Bart: "Mr. Hutz, when I grow up, I want to be a lawyer."
Lionel Hutz: "Good for you, son. If there's one thing the world needs, it's more lawyers."

Getting back to the point, Duane posted earlier on Daryl Stephenson, the Windsor running back who is closing in on the CIS rushing record.

I didn't put this in the post since I don't believe aspersions should be cast on the players who go elsewhere for a 5th season ... but Stephenson returned to Windsor, coming off a 2-6 season, to start a masters' degree in Kinesiology. There's something to be said for him that he was true to his school, but again, that's not meant to belittle anyone else's choice.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that today's Ottawa Sun (Sept 10) has taken the article about Nial Both that appears on the uOttawa website and printed it verbatim in the newspaper.

Is this a new trend, having information officers in the local universities supply copy for the local papers? I don't seem to remember it happening much in the past.

I am all for it if it means more media coverage. I do think that the coverage of university sports in the papers has been more frequent in the last couple of weeks then it usually is at this time of year. Perhaps it is too early for me to make such a judgment, but it does seem a hopeful trend.


Anonymous said...

why are u asking Nate Sager about what the Ottawa Sun does? Ask a real journalist!

sager said...

(Hmmm, guess someone knows something I don't.)

OttawaFan, to answer your question, it's not so much supplying copy outright as it is a case of many SIDs trying to help out fellow journos by suggesting storylines for them. At the end of the day, most of us like it when the news-gathering is made a little easier.

I've never worked in PR (maybe I should, since I'm not a real journalist). I can see there's a rationale to sending out a release thats's written more like a story than a dry, just-the-facts-Ma'am recitation.

Anonymous said...

After playing four exhibition games against NCAA competition and almost winning all of them, the Ravens again look like the class of the CIS.
Of course, none of this would mean anything come March if Carleton again falters at nationals.
But at the very least, this year's team appears at least comparable to last year's team in terms of depth and while it is younger, it does not seem any less talented.
One impression about the Kansas game that I came away with was that because it was only an exhibition, the Ravens finally looked relaxed and played their 'A' game at Scotia Bank Place.
In their previous four games at SBP, the Ravens to varying degrees looked nervous and uptight....which probably explains their 2-2 record against CIS cometition in that building.
If Carleton, and in particular Aaron Doornekamp, had played the way they did against the Jayhawks two weeks ago last
March when it mattered, they would be gunning for a seventh title in 09.
Unfortunately, the Ravens can't roll back the calendar but at least they know now they can play well in that building.
One thing for sure...the Ravens are WAY ahead of their cross town rivals, who, save for Dax Deserault, looked
ragged and undisciplined for the most part against those same teams Carleton played.
Dave DeAviero has a lot of work to do between now and January...otherwise, that third meeting at SBP between Carleton and Ottawa could be a full out rout for the Ravens.