CIS to change men's basketball qualifying format

CIS to change men's basketball qualifying format
-Tournaments to decide who goes to national basketball finals

By Wayne Kondro, The Ottawa CitizenMarch 18, 2009

The Canadian Interuniversity Sport men's basketball championship is in line for a major overhaul, commencing in 2011.

It appears the always controversial wild-card and automatic berths to conference runners-up will be ditched when the tournament returns to Halifax. Instead, a system will be put in place in which seven of eight berths in the national draw will be determined by tournaments.

The system, proposed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, has been endorsed by the CIS's powerful sport committee and is expected to gain final approval from the association's governing council in June.

As is now the case, it will see the postseason tournament champions from the nation's four conferences -- Ontario University Athletics (the CIS considers the OUA East and West conferences as one), Canada West, the Quebec Students Sports Federation and Atlantic University Sport -- automatically qualify for the draw.
A fifth berth will go to the host team or association.

The remaining three national berths will be put up for grabs at three regional tournaments. The OUA and Canada West will each hold one, while the Quebec and Atlantic conferences will hold the third in alternate years.

Berths and matchups at those regional tournaments will be strictly prescribed. Five teams will come from the OUA, four from Canada West, two from the AUS and one from the QSSF. They will be spread out across all three regionals and will automatically slot into matchups based on a team's final placement within its conference playoffs or, in some cases, where it finished in the regular season standings.

The upshot is that conferences that feel they have had a strong year can make their case on the floor, said NABC president and Regina coach James Hillis.

Hillis said the new system will help raise the profile of the game across the country and give schools an opportunity to hold what amounts to part of the national tournament.

"It'll help grow the game," Hillis said. "There'll be some tremendous matchups in those regionals; matchups people haven't seen all year."

The new system will have the added advantage of avoiding the annual wild-card controversy, he said.
"There's always sort of a feeling, whether it's one wild-card or two wild-cards or 10 wild-cards, there's always the politics of it. This eliminates that."


Last Updated: 2009-06-20
Author: Scott Stewart