Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Mike Aylward Column

Mike Aylward was the Sports Information Director at Lakehead University for eight years. This is the first of his new opinion column on things CIS. We thank him for sharing his insights with us.

From The Middle of Nowhere 1

What’s In A Name…

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Juliet: Romeo and Juliet (II, ii, 1-2)

Ill-fated lovers aside; this famous quote got me mulling on CIS terminology; specifically how sports information departments and the media in Canada label and identify the eligibility year of a Canadian student-athlete.

Looking at various school websites; you can see that some schools don’t use any specific words to describe eligibility words; while others say rookie, first year, second year, third year, fourth year, and fifth year. There has been a movement in the past few years by some schools to use modified American collegiate terminology such as freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, and fifth-year senior. But even here; there have been differences as one school uses fourth-year senior and fifth-year senior as designations.

I think it is way past high time that the CIS mandate a uniform way of designating the eligibility years of its athletes and get rid of this confusion. I think it would be a simple thing for the CIS to do; and one that wouldn’t need a wait until their Annual General Meeting held each summer. I prefer the use of American collegiate terminology (with some fix for the fact that CIS has fifth year athletes such as fifth-year senior) as I think it is understood very well by Canadians who have grown up watching NCAA sports and it is clear in their minds that this terminology means university student-athletes.

Many would consider this is a trivial point but I would beg to differ. The CIS is still looking for a way to get out of the media wilderness in this country and one small way is to have a consistent and uniform way of naming its athletes. This consistency would bring familiarity to the media and fans and also stress the distinctiveness of the university athlete in Canada; and especially make the CIS distinctive from the general hockey culture that is pervasive in this country.

It would be just one small step of the many that are needed to be done by the CIS and its member schools; but from small things; big things one day come.


Anonymous said...

"Many would consider this is a trivial point"


Anonymous said...

It is a good point. The need to distinguish the CIS from other organizations (particulairly the hockey establishment) is something that can easily be done with a little effort and organization.

Totally agree with your point Mike. Canadians are more than familiar with the FR, SO, JR, SR and know they are talking about university athletes. Adopt them along with fifth-year senior.

Another thing that needs to be eliminated from the CIS lexicon is "exhibition". This word really has no positive value for the competition, media potentially covering it, or respect for the athletes/coaches involved and the time they've put in. The word should be non-conference.