OUA basketball realignment on the horizon
The recent influx of basketball programs has caused Ontario University Athletics to make a change.
According to multiple sources with direct knowledge, the OUA administration is in the midst of realigning the men and women’s basketball conferences. Currently, the OUA is split into two divisions: the OUA West and OUA East. The proposed realignment would radically shake the landscape and create four divisions instead of two.
Algoma University, in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., began OUA competition this season, and Nipissing University, based in North Bay, Ont., are set to join the league in 2014-15. The realignment aims to cut down travel costs, shorten the season to possibly nineteen games and balance the amount of distance that each team has to travel.
The OUA confirmed that realignment is being discussed, but would not go into greater detail about what the conference would look like. Sources say that the four divisions could look something like this:
- McMaster, Brock, Guelph, Lakehead
- Waterloo, Laurier, Western, Windsor, Algoma
- Toronto, York, Ryerson, Queen’s
- Carleton, Ottawa, Laurentian, Nipissing
Those divisions have not been confirmed by the OUA. However, it could mean that teams within the same division would play twice – home and away – and non-divisional teams square off only once. The first draft of the 2014-15 schedule has been released to athletic departments, but there are potential issues with travel already. One school has Algoma, Carleton, Laurentian, Lakehead and Nipissing travelling to their school, which means that the next year, all of those games would be on the road.
Games are slated to take place on Wednesdays, Fridays or Saturdays throughout the season, which would be a change for teams in the OUA West. Under the current system, West teams play weekend double-headers against the East and Lakehead, and play Wednesdays and Saturdays in divisional match-ups.
The OUA says that the season structure is not finalized yet, but an announcement will be made within the coming months. Playoff format has yet to be decided, and currently, there is no information available on what it would look like.