Football: Ah-ooh, where was everyone in London

"The lack of fans was an embarrassment, not just a local embarrassment but a national embarrassment.

It was an Ontario championship semifinal. It was played in one of two cities that actually attract university football fans. It was a gorgeous fall day with nothing else of interest in the city to keep fans away.

The attendance was 3,307. -- Morris Dalla Costa
The magic words might be "Ontario championship."

Some might wonder if attendance is due to calibre of the competition. Take Western's home game against Waterloo off the schedule and replace if with an interlocking game against Laval or Saint Mary's, and maybe you'd generate more interest that would carry over to a playoff game. Better yet, there are the realignment ideas we have floated over at Out of Left Field.

Western seems to like the status quo (and with 30 Yates Cups, can you blame them?). Mustangs coach Greg Marshall, on the FAN 590's The Bullpen some time back, said he was down on the idea of tiering. His answer was that he wondered if it would have taken away coaches' incentive to go to a struggling program, like the McMaster one he took over in 1996. If that's the case, why did Ohio State coach Jim Tressel ever coach at Division 1-AA Youngstown State?

It probably was on the marketing side. Queen's made the effort and it had 6,552 fans out for the other OUA semi-final (presumably Kingston is the other city in Canada which can "actually attract university football fans," which means Quebec has obviously separated, at some point since last Friday). However, the format of the OUA could be a hidden part of the problem.

(Realignment is probably not happening -- the position seems to be that schools should be in one conference all sports. Talk about forest-for-the-trees stuff.)

No-show Londoners a real embarrassment; The Western Mustangs played an Ontario football semifinal in front of a more than half-empty stadium (Morris Dalla Costa, London Free Press)
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