The word out of Québec is that Laval Rouge et Or club president Jacques Tanguay is really pushing for realignment.
Laval is the best thing that ever happened to Canadian university football, so perhaps it should be heard out when it comes to ideas of how to grow the game. Tanguay, as best as can be divined via Babelfish and two high school credits in French earned half a lifetime ago, would like to see a national development plan for the university game in this country. In a general sense, speaking as a Queen's supported who is not all that enamoured with the structure of the OUA at the moment, it would be good to see the ol' alma mater, as the third-oldest program in the country, show some leadership.
The gist of Jean-François Bégin's column in La Presse is that Tanguay about realignment. Tanguay would like to see a Division 1 and growth to up to 40 teams from the current 27. He is also calling for revenue sharing that would help subsidize the smaller schools.
Queen's coach Pat Sheahan, speaking for the national coaches' assocation, cautioned that a tiered system could endanger the programs at schools such as Mount Allison and York. That is a good point. No one should push for something that means fewer students would get the chance to play.
However, if you took four upper-echelon teams out of the OUA to play in the Big East or Canada East conference, that still leaves six schools, with the possibility of Carleton or Ontario Tech starting a program in a few years. York might actually travel less in that scenario. It would likely not face Ottawa (the Lions trekked there this season -- four hours, stop laughing western readers). Similarly, Mount Allison's travel budget wouldn't be too pinched if it was in a league with Bishop's, McGill, Acadia, St. FX and maybe a new team.
It is doable. It would take a few years and a lot of finessing of various sports administrators, especially since it would not be neat and tidy. However, its time has come. Laval has changed the football landscape in Canada, and if that program has some ideas to make it better for everyone, give them a chance. And yes, the Ontario schools who have the longest histories in the game should be picking up the ball too.
À quand une division 1 canadienne? (Jean-François Bégin, La Presse)
(Cross-posted to The CIS Blog.)
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