It's easy is to give into the conundrum that no one wants to host a flagship championship such as the CIS Final 8 men's basketball championship.
However, there is a glass-half-full regarding the 2013 and '14 hoops tournaments going to Carleton by those two sweetest words in the English language, de-fault. (The latest round of bid proposals also elicited only one proposal for the 2013 women's hockey tournament, from the U of T Varsity Blues.) It's simply a case of CIS still having to dig its way out after getting buried from years of inaction at the national level, along with its choice to make the Final 8 (or 10) such a cash cow that some say it's cost-prohibitive to schools to bid for the men's basketball tournament. Recouping costs is impossible.
That cannot be reversed overnight. Instead of picking old sores, please keep in mind this came out the very same week Ontario University Athletics announced at long last it will have marketing committees for basketball and men's hockey. They're starting to turn it around a bit.
There are positives on the horizon for hoops. This was maybe not so discernible two months ago at the Final 8. It was easy to get caught up being surrounded by scores of empty seats, the TSN producer who ripped "boring" Carleton in the media room and that broadcaster's general indifference to covering the basketball championships (a small-town-cheap telecast of the women's final and not allowing Streaming Sports Network Canada to have a videocast of men's games).
The hoops group includes a few people who by reputation are ahead of the curve, such as Mark Wacyk at cishoops.ca, Howard Bloom of Sports Business News renown and Ravens coach Dave Smart. New OUA president Gord Grace has also touched in passing on the "introduction of a televised Final Four concept in OUA basketball."
Anyway, it sounds as if things could take a turn for the better for those who care about basketball in Ontario and across the country. The province has lost its economic clout, but it can still influence sporting tastes. It's good to see OUA highers-up (Grace: "The OUA is the largest association in the CIS and the highest profile in my opinion") trying to take more ownership in building a brand, daunting as that can be in Canada.
That seems like a decent spot to focus. Since I'm about cover a meaningless game at the Memorial Cup between Brandon and Calgary (they'll meet again in the semifinal), one does wonder how television would sell a Final Four if one team is already in the Final 8. Teams already being assured of a NCAA tournament bid never stopped conference tournaments from being appointment viewing in the States.