The last Shrum Bowl? Vancouver Sun practices lazy journalism.

The NCAA—SFU—UBC story, and all the various entanglements therein, is complicated story. It's a nuanced story, a story in which there are many different truths, different issues, and entirely different perspectives to every issue.

So if you're writing a story about, say, the future of the famed UBC-SFU Shrum Bowl, it might be an idea to talk to someone other than the most biased source imaginable.

“It would be a real shame [if the Shrum Bowl dies], but that’s the reality of the situation,” said UBC athletic director Bob Philip when asked if SFU's entry into the NCAA would kill the Shrum Bowl.

Yes. Clearly the Shrum Bowl is doomed, doomed, doomed after SFU joins the NCAA, and Philip knows without a doubt that this is the case. Because the fact that when SFU was in the NAIA for decades, the Shrum Bowl grew into the great tradition it is today is irrelevant.

But that was in the past. Today apparently, it would just be impossible for the game to continue—or at least that's what Philip thinks. Why?

“There could be several problems making that work,” notes Philip. “With SFU gone, Canada West football will become a balanced, six-team conference. That means there will be no bye weeks. It would be difficult seeing Canada West granting us a special week in our schedule to play SFU.”

This sounds plausible on the surface. However, from 1999 to 2001, the Canada West was a six-team conference. And there was a bye week, specifically for UBC to play SFU in the Shrum Bowl. Oops. Too bad that information isn't anywhere to be found in the article. That would disrupt the narrative of the Shrum Bowl being ruined forever, unless...

"The best hope for future Shrum Bowls lies in UBC joining SFU in the NCAA."

(Sound of palm hitting face)

Well sure, technically that's true. But when your only source in an article is the person who has been obsessed with getting UBC in the NCAA for years, that's a pretty easy conclusion to come to, isn't it?

So a wag of the finger to the Vancouver Sun, for taking the one university football game in British Columbia that people care about, and wantonly speculating on its future with a less-than-objective judge of the situation.
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home


  1. Next time you slag a paper (or writer for that matter) for "lazy journalism" don't use "lazy journalism" to slag said paper or writer. You offer nothing but conjecture and random musings and when your only source is you, it's pretty obvious what side of the fence you are going to land on.

    Agreed that the Sun article lacks depth, relevance, and/or accuracy but I fear to say I feel the same way about yours.

  2. Anonymous,

    I never though I would be sending a ‘you’re dumb-letter’ to Anonymous. They usually do such a great job picking on Tom Cruise and the rest of the Scientologists.

    Those who follow and believe in Canadian university sport run into the Sun's type of media all the time. Usually, those types of uninformed columns pop up when a Canadian championship is about to played. On those occasions we simply smile, glad for the added attention, but cringe on the inside as we realize that 'major' news agencies have virtually no interest in stand-alone Canadian sport, let alone Canadian collegiate athletics.

    Was the tone of the column harsh and accusing? Yes, sometimes our frustration and annoyance gets the better of us but everything spelled out in the blog column is correct. Those types of 'what is wrong with Canada' or 'what is wrong with Canadian talent' articles fail on several levels. One, it is apparent that no or minimal effort is made to explore the whole story. That tells the informed reader that the news outlet doesn't care to spend time on the topic. So, the only reason we should we care what they have to contribute is to refute their inaccuracies and flawed logic. Two, the dreaded 'if only we were in America' syndrome lives in the author or assignment editor's mind. At this point in our country's history we should be beyond this type of inferiority complex, at least those in the media should be. Media's job is to be aware of the issues in the topics they report. Clearly, the Vancouver Sun failed in this attempt and they should be publicly reprimanded, which this blog article did a wonderful job of doing.

    McElroy, you and the rest of this blog do a great service to university sport in this country. Don't ever back off from engaging the issues like ‘y'all’ do (Do ya like that Anonymous. It gives ya the ole Texas, hook'em horns, appeal that will make your heart feel at home). Good work, guys.

    Super Fun Happy Slide