Basketball: RMC drops out of OUA

The Royal Military College of Canada has announced that its men's and women's basketball programs will no longer compete in OUA play:

RMCC has created a new competitive club program, and will shift the taekwondo and running teams from the varsity program to this new umbrella. Like varsity teams, competitive clubs will represent RMCC and compete at a high performance level outside of the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) and the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) leagues. In addition to taekwondo and running, there will be five other competitive clubs: rowing, sailing, swimming, military skills and women’s rugby.

Moving forward, both the men’s and women’s basketball will no longer be played at the varsity level. Men’s and women’s basketball will solely be played at the intramural level.

“The Royal Military College of Canada is a founding member of Canadian Interuniversity Sport and will continue to be an active member in the league,” said Darren Cates, RMCC Athletic Director. “We are confident the changes being made will strike the right balance for the College and will allow us to better allocate our resources to the benefit of all officer and naval cadets.”
-- RMC Athletics release

It's not the first school to realign programs and won't be the last, but as we've seen over the years, basketball has been one of the least successful sports at RMC and across the country. At the time of that post last year, RMC's two basketball programs had exactly ten times as many losses as wins (32-320), and their combined record was even worse when you remove the Kevin Dulude years: 2-240, or a microscopic .008 winning percentage.

Those win-loss totals don't include the two most recent years, but they don't help RMC's case. Our rankings say the men's basketball team was twice as bad as the second-worst CIS team last year (-34.4 SRS; second-worst was -17.1), and three times as bad in 2010-11 (-32.4 vs -10.6). They haven't won a game since November 2006. The women are also far below the CIS average, if not quite the worst by the numbers, at -24.3 and -27.8 the last two years.

I think we'd all agree that RMC faces unique challenges with its athletic programs, but the majority simply aren't competitive. Decisions like this one, while unpleasant for those who lose a spot on an OUA team (the intramural level, of course, does not compare), are likely inevitable in a league where wins and losses do matter. If you're going to realign some of your programs out of the OUA, it makes perfect sense for the ones with streaks of multiple winless seasons to be first on the list.

And who knows, maybe this allows them to provide more resources to a more successful team, then reconsider their basketball situation down the road.

Anyway, this is probably better for the other basketball programs in the OUA, overall, since there wasn't much to be gained from playing RMC in recent years. It looks like the 2012-13 schedule will go ahead with one fewer team: a 20-game schedule for the OUA East and 21 for the OUA West. (It would be interesting to see how RMC's absence would affect rankings such as the RPI, especially between teams in different conferences, and a future post will look at exactly that.)
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