Humber men’s rugby domination raises questions

Oct 22, 2012 | Sports

humber rugby

The Humber men’s rugby team has been absolutely unstoppable thus far this season. COURTESY: HUMBER ATHLETICS

The Humber men’s rugby team has been so successful that the competitiveness of the entire OCAA divisional structure has been called into question, and could be changing in the near future.

By Elton Hobson


There’s hot streaks, and then there’s the Humber Hawks men’s rugby team.

The squad has been on an absolute tear thus far this season, raising questions about the competitiveness of the Ontario College Athletics Association (OCAA) itself. The Hawks numbers this season speak for themselves:

Humber Rugby

Humber News spoke with Doug Fox, Athletic Director at Humber College, as well as Joshua Bell-Webster, Marketing and Communications Coordinator at the OCAA, to get to the bottom of the issue.  Is the lack of strong competition a problem for Humber? Is the team or the league concerned about the disparity in skill? And what steps are being taken (or could be taken) to address the problem?

Interviews with both men can be heard here:

Humber News also spoke with the OCAA convener for men’s rugby, Alex Paris, to get the full details on the OCAA’s perspective, and the process of changing rugby’s divisional structure. Some salient facts:

-The season-end meeting is between schools’ athletic directors only – OCAA not directly involved in the final decision making process.
-Any changes to the OCAA’s divisional structure will have to be approved then, once the season has concluded, in order to be fair to all schools and teams.
-Formerly, schools were organized into Division 1 and Division 2 groupings, similar to NCAA divisions in the United States.
-The inclusion of several new schools to the OCAA required the re-division along regional lines two years ago. Current divisions are East and West (Humber’s current division).
-Humber shares the Western division with Mohawk, Sheridan, Conestoga, and Georgian.
-Any reversion to an earlier divisional model – or the introduction of a new one – would require the consent of the various athletic directors, something Paris does not anticipate as being difficult given the circumstances.

Paris, who coached college rugby for 13 years, declined to give his own feelings on the OCAA’s divisional organization, because as the OCAA convener “it’s important that I maintain my impartiality. It’s not my place to voice an opinion until the athletic directors have had a chance to speak and decide upon the best direction for all schools involved.”