Gord Grace hired as OUA CEO

Gord Grace, a lifer in the Canadian university sports sphere, has been hired to take helm of the new OUA Chief Executive Officer position.

Grace has been everywhere in the CIS it seems, starting as an athlete in the late 70's and then becoming a coach in the early 90's. He completed his Master of Science at the University of Michigan before moving up and taking roles at Mount Allison University, then the University of Windsor before worked in a variety of positions for the OUA.

His most recent position was Chief Marketing Officer of the CIS, a role he will continue with in a smaller capacity as the governing body rolls out the Vanier Cup 50th anniversary tour.

From a critical angle, it is tough for me to take a strong stance one way or the other. It is a new position, so you probably want someone who knows the conference and challenges that come with the territory. But at the same time, an in-the-family hire leaves something to be desired.

With the loss of Sportsnet football and basketball coverage - a corporation Grace worked with to get national championships broadcast - the OUA is at a crossroads for growth. "Conventional television" is a stated goal for the OUA as per the league's 2014-2020 Strategic Plan (which, given the lack of actual tangible goals, should not be labelled "plan").

There are some critics I have spoken with that think OUA leadership is stale. That is a criticism I do not have the insight or experience to chime in on. It is worth considering, as the conference seems to have reached their plateau, if they have not already started their decline. There are too many teams that are simply not competitive, parity is non-existent and, in a combination of those two factors, the league cannot draw a television audience. 

And that's where I think it could be positive to have Grace come in as CEO. He has to know these problems - he has seen the league change over the past 25 years. It is yet to be seen whether he has the ideas and creativity to fix the issues. 
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