A delegation from U Sports, formerly known as Canadian Interuniversity Sport, recently met with their U.S. counterparts from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
One of those who made the trip was Glen Grunwald, the athletic director at McMaster University in Hamilton.
“Oliver Luck, who is the executive vice-president for strategic partnerships at the NCAA, came and visited the AGM for USport last summer,” Grunwald said. “We started building some relationships and talked about sharing some information and understanding each others best practices and that led to a trip to Indianapolis, where the NCAA is headquartered.”
Usually, Canadians look at U.S. colleges and see huge crowds at football games, lots of excitement during men’s basketball, and various revenue streams that make it appear all is rosy.
As Grunwald pointed out, all is not what it appears to be.
“The key distinction between the NCAA and Canadian university sports, are men’s basketball and football. They get a lot of revenue from those two events, and that allows them to run all of their programming,” he said.
Most of the NCAA budget comes from men’s basketball, Grunwald explained. Most of the conferences and schools and bowl organizing committees keep all the money from football.
Outside of those two sports, however, we’re pretty much alike, he said.
Grunwald pointed out a recent example. McMaster’s men’s volleyball team swept Ohio State in the teams’ two-match Nike Team North America Challenge at the Burridge Gym at McMaster.
The win improved McMaster’s record against the two-time defending NCAA champions to 5-2, including wins in each of the teams’ last five matches.
The victory was McMaster’s second sweep of Ohio State, and second in the team’s past three matches. The Marauders also handled the Buckeyes in straight sets in the inaugural edition of the Nike Team Challenge on Dec. 30, 2016.
“When we talked with the NCAA, they realize we do a great job for our student athletes here,” he said, adding that Canadian teams have beaten NCAA teams in a number of sports.
“Carleton often has a number of victories against NCAA schools that are visiting for exhibition (games),” he said. Sometimes everyone perceives everything in the NCAA to be like the Final Four in men’s basketball, but it’s not. What we do here in Canada is very similar to what they do down there in most sports.”