One point of a hobby blog is to present ideas that would seem cockamamie to people 'inside the bubble,' but which are actually salable and realistic. Hey, no one likes blue-sky thinking.
Credit where credit is due of course, so kudos to Canada West for realizing the perfect divisional alignment is not having one. The conference is going to the RPI-offs format with "a single conference, featuring a 20-game regular season schedule. Each team will play four geographical, or historical opponents every year, with games against six of the remaining 12 opponents every other year."
That is brilliant, on a couple counts. It basically means a coach and her/his players only have to prepare for 10 opponents during the conference season, which would ideally help facilitate better matchups (but hey, you never know, since basketball will happen). The athletic directors just made that part of the job easier, so it seems confusing that the coaches are so disgruntled about it.
It should help with promotion. Utilizing RPI here also makes sense, since the conference is adopting an unbalanced schedule.
Last, but not least, no more slowing people up by explaining why schools in the same city are not in the same division, as was the case with the Explorer and Pioneer groupings.
What is not to like? Probably, and maybe this is the 'over in Ontario perspective' talking, leaving the playoff format untouched.
Asking student-athletes, at this level, to play best-of-3 series on back-to-back weekends, and possibly travel for a final four, is too much. That can — although for sake of perspective, it seldom does — lead to a team playing eight games in 15 days.
Over in OUA, the maximum number of playoff games is four. Given all the carping from men's coaches about how expansion has made it harder to compete with Ontario, it seems odd there is no push to give the players more recovery time during the last three weeks prior to nationals.
More than a few non-followers of CIS have said they don't understand why the semifinals decide nationals berths. Far be it to point out No. 1 and 2 seeds in March Madness often don't win their conference tournament. It is a spur to thought.
Missed marketing opportunity
Every sport conference should be studying whether it could pull off a single-site basketball tournament, since it might help with exposure and with making the product more relatable to fans weaned on Division 1. Atlantic University Sport does so since there is a buy-in from the eight schools as well as the Halifax, or Sydney community. It probably helps that AUS is a one automatic-berth league.
What Canada West could do, on the first weekend of the postseason, is play four six-team regionals (two female, two male) at the campuses of the top two seeds in each league. Those decide the Final 8 berths. The next weekend, have a championship doubleheader, and find a media partner like Global to get it on broadcast TV.
Just a thought.
Again, these are micro issues. Funding full scholarships is the macro.