Is USports Good or Bad for Canadian University Sports?

USports Good or Bad
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Last week, the CIS announced that it was re-branding itself, and changed their name to USports at a press conferences in Toronto and Montreal. It was the second time in 16 years that the national organization has switched their name, as they changed from CIAU to CIS in 2001. But is the USports good or bad for university sport in Canada?

U Sports Rebrand paves way for future

Is Usports Good or Bad for Canadian University Sport?

Remaining Bilingual

One of the reasons that the re-branding occurred was the fact that the old name in french, SIC did not make sense. The new name, USports can be kept the same in both languages.

Concordia Stingers quarterback Trenton Miller discussed his impressions of the rebranding and the importance it had for Canada’s two languages and cultures.

“Personally for me, I think the new branding is a perfect mesh of the Quebec/French culture and the rest of Canada,” Miller stated.

NCAA influence

One of USports main goals is to focus on student athletes as well as their schools. Today, many student athletes want to leave for the United States to play in the NCAA. Miller, who played football in both the CIS and in the NCAA at the University of South Florida and Mars Hill University, the rebranding is essential to keep Canadians in Canada.

“I think the logo and the concepts are sleek and current, and I think the marketing campaign is clear, that Canada is serious about not coming second to the NCAA. I know first-hand having played in both that U Sports is on the right track to be a serious developer of students and athletes,” Miller said.

In a Q and A with Sportsnet, Donnovan Bennett  and U Sports CEO Graham Brown discussed the NCAA aspect as well.

“When kids are recruited in the NCAA you hear them say “I’m going down south” or “getting a full ride.” There is clearly positive language associated with the experience. We want to change the language around choosing to play at “U Sports” institutions and add an appropriate level of prestige and accomplishment,” Brown said.

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Football Games on National TV

With the rebranding, there is some hope that Canadian University football games will be shown more often on national television. Gone are the days when the Score used to carry football games every weekend. Though, there has been some developments to achieve this goal. This season, City TV and the CIS made a deal to show four games from September 17th to October 15th.  

Since 2013, Sportsnet has shown the Uteck Bowl, Mitchell Bowl and the Vanier Cup. This year will be no different. The deal runs out in 2018-19 academic year, so it’s going to be interesting to see what happens afterwards

The Rebranding was not needed

Not everyone was a huge fan of the rebranding. Chris Cochrane, writer for localxpress.ca argues that changing the name doesn’t fix any issues. He argues that there is a lack of balance between football teams around Canada. For instance, the AUS conference has played interlock against the RSEQ conference since 2002.In that time,  the RSEQ has a record of 68-23 against AUS schools including this year, where it swept all four games.

Cochrane also brought up the fact that what makes student athletes in Canada so unique in comparison to other athletes in the world  is the fact that they do not get paid and many will not make it to the pro leagues

The other thing that many people did not like was the timing of the announcement and the lack of sponsorship included.

 

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USports might have amazing logo and fantastic ideas, but the impact it will have is unknown at the current time. There is strong potential that USports could compete with the NCAA in the near future.