Monday, April 14, 2008

Defending my Opponents


I haven't had much free time since my birthday last month. The sheer fact that I'm writing at 1:21 am says it all about my work day length. I don't read much in terms ultimate blogs or threads. I honestly can't wait to catch up after my big Olympic Accred deadline tomorrow. That and start the long training road to peaking at nationals.

When I get free time, I read the best I know. (Jeters, Polish Prince, Jimmy P, etc). Looking at Peter Jamieson's site, I see a lot of great posts lately, and one topic seems particularly hotly contested.

Toronto has won two consecutive national university titles. Other teams are a little frustrated with their run. They don't like the fact that U of T has used the CUPA university rules to their advantage. Two national crowns, yet only one sectionals qualification in UPA college series, which lead to disqualification. Elite Club Ringers and questions of true player development within the system threaten to undermine recognition of Tula's accomplishments.

Is this fair?

I say no. I have every reason to be bitter. I helped build Western from bare foot to contender during the time of UofT's run, and I think their team was the only team to eliminate us from regionals and nationals playoffs during my masters. We also had as many UPA regional qualifications as they have, and yet we had only 2-5 players who used summer club teams as way to get better. As captain trying to lead a team full of players who don't/never played a summer season of club ultimate, it's tough to "scheme" an entire line of GOAT players from York and U of T.


At this point I don't think they cheated during this time. I think the rules are flawed and they should be changed. Until so, I won't take away from those who use the rules better than others. I think all other captains might be hypocritical to do so.

I also think the program at U of T is a lot stronger today and in the future because of the work of PJ and the other strong players. It makes a big difference on and off the field to experience winning. If they failed to truly develop players outside of already made club players, they will feel it soon enough. If that is the case, TULA will go back to being %hitty.

You can't belittle titles by a schools because they operate in a big city and have more access to talent. Ottawa has the biggest supply of talent, and failed to use it for years for both schools/genders. Big cities haven't even started to exploit their resources to the fullest yet, so small towns/schools should be happy about that.

What can other schools do?
  • Lobby CUPA to change the University Nationals rules. No more public outcries and bit%hing, go straight to the powers that be.
  • Learn from the success of Toronto/UBC and adapt what is applicable
  • Have a good plan and stick to it
  • Find out the strengths of your school/city/team and cultivate them
  • Understand the stakes have been raised and find a way to get the edge (Fitness? Skill? Player Development? Depth? Hot ladies? Tactics?)
  • Develop transfer of knowledge systems that makes your team strong and continuous long after you're finishing your final exams in grad year.


jhaig said...

I didn't mean to imply U of T was cheating in my comments on Peter's blog. Just that you can't take a university tournament series that seriously, when attending the university you are representing is not a requirement to play.

Sport Management Steven said...

I thought what you and Mooney (Man that guy can write some long posts!) had fair points on the series.

What you guys wrote is a lot more fair than what others utter passive aggressively (i.e. Like a bi%ch). That is what I'm speaking to primarily.

I think the sport is past the point where we need to borrow players from other schools.

Having said that, how do you feel about those that attend small colleges? Allow them to play with closest universities?

jhaig said...

I would like to see them either convince their frineds to play, or not play university frisbee. It's not that I don't think they should play frisbee but that I don't think we need to totally change CUUC into some strange hat tournament just so people can play. It's not about making sure everyone has a team to play on (that's what summer league is for) it's about crowning our national champion.

This should be about inter-collegiate competitive sports. Not about making sure that the two frisbee players from Larry's Dishwasher Repair Accademy of the Greater Deep River Area have a team to play for. I'm sure they could find teams to pick up with at Goosebowl, and Gut Rot if they really want to play some fall frisbee.

Patrick Mooney said...

heres a short post...i couldnt agree more with haig.

I just wanted to start a discussion which i clearly did. I also never said they were cheaters or that they broke rules, they played well within them, i just said the rules were unfair and cheapen the CUUC title as a whole, the development talk was secondary material. i also have never lost a game in my life to U of T so its definitely not bitterness just something ive thought about over the past couple years being out of school and when i saw petes post i wanted to chime in. those long posts are two years of thought pouring out of me, sorry for the long windedness

hahah that wasnt such a short post after all

Patrick Mooney said...

and by the way steve they didnt "use the rules better than others", some teams cant use these rules the way others can. who does nippising pick up from, or lakehead. Not only are they smaller schools they lack a surrounding area loaded with other academic institutions thats why this rule seems to benefit the big city teams/powerhouses the most.

if i was you i would be mad they took you out of CUUC but thats just me.

Patrick Mooney said...

i know i said id be short in my posts but i lied. i just keep seeing stuff in your post that bugs me. how would other captains be hypocritical in being upset they got beat by Universities of Toronto. i think in order to be hypocritical they would have to have ringers on their team and then complain when they lost to a team with better ringers.

bottom line u of t played within the rules. the rules arent fair or effective. no knock on them or slight for what they have accomplished. however its time for a change

Patrick Mooney said...

and im assuming you are talking about me or john when you keep refering to someone bitching. i dont even play anymore or care if queens wins, at the most i help out at practice when i can. those U of T guys are also 3 of my best friends, and im also close to many of the other dudes and they know i respect there accomplishments. I just think its time to impose change in the CUUC and make the title more legit. i think something more along the lines of the UPA college series rules would be perfect

k im done i promise

Sport Management Steven said...


-No worries about the posts.

-Please see my reply to John's original post. I've had a lot of people talk about this Tula subject offline. For me, it's only bitching if you won't take up the cupa issues/problems with cupa/tula program itself. That is not the case for you or John, now is it? :)

-I agree the rules, as they exist, might favor big cities or cities with multiple schools. However, it is nothing small schools/towns can't counteract with other variables. You can also get the rules changed.

-I like John's second post. If people want to win a national title in ultimate, they better have a team at their school and play for it.

-Here's the big thing... how can we have eligibility rules without a way to police it?

Patrick Mooney said...

Hey steve,

Any idea on who is the CUUC coordinator. I looked online and it seems like it changes from year to year. Id love to talk to someone in charge and discuss this. i think over the last 30 or so posts on yours and petes blogs lots of good ideas have been generated, especially by John, ryan and taylor, suprised pete never posted anything back but id love to hear his ideas. I really liked lots of ryans ideas. For instance one pick up per team or having teams that qualify for quarters the previous year getting limited pick ups. I also support haigs ideas on no pick ups

If any one knows who is in charge let me know and id be glad to talk to them, and would do so with a group of other people with a variety of stances and ideas, sort of a conglomerate of different people and perspectives, thats the best way to approach a solution. The main point of my posts is that we should be more progressive and think of how we can improve the CUUC and ultimate in canada as a whole. Lets make it legit and fair to all. I understand that you think there are ways for all the schools to compete but i still belive that big city teams get to reap the benefits of the system more than small school/city teams

Cheers and good luck to all canadian teams competing in the UPA college series, lets put canadian college on the map.

PS: go U of O women. its your UPA crown if you want it. Make us proud and be the first canadian college team to win a UPA College crown

Andy said...

I think that Hadiya used to be the university coordinator, not sure if she is anymore.

The way the UPA checks if players are eligible seems pretty good.

The students prove they're full-time at their schools by getting the registrar to verify their registration The UPA just trusts the credibility of each institutions registrars office. Not sure if this is how other sports do things as well, seems like the best way.

From what I could see doing the rostering this spring all the UPA does is check for the number of years a player has been playing in events. CUPA could pay half a dozen people to do those checks. How much could it really cost? Trainor, maybe you would have a better idea of this.

I can imagine the problems the Canadian schools will have submitting their rosters on time, especially given the short schedule. The deadlines for roster submission would definitely have to be a little more flexible initially so that schools could get used to it.

tingle said...

hey steve, we've probably never met but ive recently started reading you're blog and i think its great.

it seems like there's a fair bit more agreement in the discussion following pj's post than contested stuff. the discussion is one everyone interested in canadian university ultimate should be having. it seems we can all agree that some sort of update to the CUPA rules should be made.

there are comments on both this discussion thread and the one on pj's blog regarding tula's participation south of the border that i think need some clarification. other posts connect the fact that tula can win in canada with ringers, but in the states the team's record is less than stellar. in some regards this is a fair post: any team would benefit from the addition of guys like the ones tula (we, cause its my team) pick up. this is an oversimplication of the situation, however. the upa tula squad for the past couple of years has taken far fewer of our top players, including but not by any means limited to the ringers, than it has taken to canadian events. it isnt as simple as "tula minus ringers equals uncompetitive team." and has much more to do with the fall focus of the team. i am not trying to defend that focus (if it needs defending; aren't we talking about legitimizing the CUUC series?), just pointing it out.

unrelated to this, but still pertinent: while tula did benefit immensely from our three external dudes, we were missing two of our uoft regulars, one of whom is a goat player and the other a goat-caliber player. It is also my understanding that UBC, the other team in the CUUC 08 finals, picked up ringers themselves, though someone who knows this for a fact might want to chime in.


tingle said...

sorry, that last main paragraph refers exclusively to CUUC 07 in vancouver. should have made that clear.

Maple said...

the mcgill captain (jeremy shaki) when i played there in 06 (when i was on xchnage from aus) doesnt even go to mcgill either, which i always found odd. Glad we had him rather than not though... he is a sick player, and he also convinced me to play ultimate in the first palce (and now i am posting on a canadian ultimate blog discussion when i live in sydney).

Still, does seem odd. the attitude to universty ultimate is alot more relaxed in Aus, but we certainly dont have any ability to pick up any gun players from smaller uni's who dont play frisbee. Best they can do is form a team from scraps and win MVP (as one did last year). Even in the totally differnt (read more partying) atmosphere though, there is no suggestion of ever allowing out of uni pick ups, as our Univrsity Gams are run concurrently with all other inter uni competition, so there are strict eligiblity requirements. (ps maple is my nickname because of my propensity to talk about canada and my time there incase it seems odd to anyone)

Kirker said...

Steven- I'm regurgitating this post from Pete's blog.

I am coming into this great debate a little late. There are a lot of great things being said here, and I completely agree that CUPA needs to revisit its player eligibility rules. The 3 exceptions rule was meant to be a temporary thing until schools developed stronger programs -- in the end it may have stunted programs. For example, York might have developed a strong program under Inian's leadership. Humber may have developed a strong program under Scotty and Toly. That's an debate unto itself.

The debate as to whether UofT only won because of its 3 exceptions is a different one. UofT had all the same players (except Toly) for 2 few years (2004, 2005) before we won anything. In 2004 and 2005 we got beat in quarters of semis. Our main problem then was that our vets were trying to do everything. We quickly learned that you can't win with 5 strong players. In order to win, you need to have players 5-20 playing well too. This is something that Queens has done very well over the years. After losing in 2005 we decided to take a different approach. We forced all of our players to tour. Most of them toured with Roy (The number 3 team in Toronto's club system). Some toured with GT and some with Goat. We also started running 2-hour practices at 7am Monday-Friday. The early mornings were the only time we could get good field space, but it also helped separate the "conveniently committed" from the "hardcore committed" players. Our exceptions from Humber and York also attended these practices fairly religiously. In 2006/2007, pretty much every player on the team was touring in the summers and playing every day with UofT in the fall. As players evolved in their own game, the team became much stronger. To the point where we were able to beat many teams with our bench and rest our "A line" for the semis/finals.

So, it wasn't a pickup squad of exceptions. It was a team that worked hard to develop -- and it took us 5 years to get to the point where we could win 2 CUUC championships in a row. I realize that in 2006/2007, we had a crazy stacked roster --- but I just wanted to point out that this was because of hard work and an evolution. Not because we plucked strong players from the community to stack our roster. None of UofT's top players played with Goat or even GT at the time we all started building in 2002. UofT has become a great developmental pool for Roy, GT and Goat. If you look at the timeline of things, you can easily argue that UofT fed the Toronto touring scene moreso than the Toronto touring scene is feeding UofT (ie, UofT didn't pickup a bunch of Goat and GT guys, rather a bunch of UofT guys eventually made Goat and GT).


Patrick Mooney said...

well said kirk. love to hear your insight on the subjects

i think when i started this discussion i meant for it to be more about the rules and less about you guys. i dont want to seem like im taking your accomplishments for anything less than they are. i just needed an avenue an example. sorry it had to be UofT, thats why i tried to tie linky to it, hahaha.

see you in texas

jhaig said...

Gotta echo something Kirk touched on. The schools that have big success over the past 10 years or so (UBC, Queen's, UofT) are doing it with lots of hard practice, playing both fall and spring seasons and lots of players touring in the summer. It's no coincidence those 3 teams have won every national championship for years.

I noticed a big change in the Carleton team this year at easterns this fall. In the past the team had relied on a few star players to carry the team and this year those players are gone, but the improvement in depth for the team is huge. Mostly due to a large number of role players touring this summer. I'm hopeful with their commitment to the spring series this year that they can make the leap and compete with the top teams in years to come.

Anonymous said...

I can confirm that UBC did have three pickup players at CUUC 2007. I think some of the reasoning our program isn't getting as much heat is that a) we didn't win and b) the program has had greater success playing in the US than other Canadian schools.

Personally, I believe it is playing in the spring US season that has given UBC success in Canada and I am confident we would have still made finals without pickup players and maybe even have done better.

I am not against what U of T has done and it looks like they have built a strong program without their pickup players. I agree the CUPA rules should be changed to mimic the UPA eligibility rules. This would push players to start to establish programs at the smaller schools. Changing eligibility to 5 consecutive years, like the UPA, rather than any five years would eliminate club players picking up as well.

Russell Street
UBC Ultimate, #57