BASKETBALL Australia have flagged the possibility of pulling the pin on the SEABL.
The idea was brought up at a meeting involving all 16 clubs prior to the SEABL grand finals last weekend.
Under the plan, the sport’s national governing body would no longer administer the competition, nor sanction any other body to run the league, potentially as early as 2019.
It is believed that the teams involved would join either new or existing competitions in their home states, followed by a proposed end-of-season national tournament akin to the old Australian Club Championship, which ran until 1979, predating the NBL.
Though the future of the SEABL is cloudy, Albury-Wodonga Bandits officials believe the club will not be left worse off if the changes go ahead.
“At this stage we don’t have a firm direction from BA,” club president Steve Wright said.
“With the plans that are being discussed, we believe we’ll still be playing in an elite competition.”
The Bandits have been a member of the SEABL since 1984.
Basketball Australia issued a brief statement, confirming it had met with SEABL clubs last weekend.
“The BA board has made no decision,” a spokesman said.
“They have requested a review of the SEABL, as they do at the end of each season for all the leagues they run, including the national championships.”
The Bandits are almost certain to align with a proposed elite Victorian competition, should the SEABL competition come to an end.
Victorian clubs comprise 11 of the SEABL’s 16 existing teams.
The creation of a new league may lead to new player qualifications with a stronger focus on local player development while still retaining import positions.Basketball Ballarat CEO Peter Eddy
Of those interstate teams, it is not out of the question that the Mt Gambier Pioneers, Hobart Chargers, North West Tasmania Thunder, or Launceston Tornadoes would join the Victorian state competition.
For the Bandits, they will look to remain in competition with traditional powerhouse Victorian clubs, such as Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat, and Kilsyth.
Basketball Ballarat CEO Peter Eddy said BA’s final decision would come on October 7.
“BA is willing to run SEABL as is for 2019 or clubs could elect to move to state based models,” he said.
“There is a proposal under development by Basketball Victoria to establish a new league above, and managed separate to, Big V and open to all current Victorian SEABL teams, and the Tasmanian teams.
“The top level teams in Big V would also be eligible to enter.
“The creation of a new league may lead to new player qualifications with a stronger focus on local player development while still retaining import positions.
“Victorian clubs will meet with BV in the coming weeks to discuss this matter further and to develop a plan around this.”
Former Tigers coach and current Sydney Kings NBL coach Andrew Gaze weighed in on the news during an interview with Macquarie Sports Radio, backing the proposed change.
“The more we have all the associations right throughout the country striving for a better pinnacle and that would be a national championship, I think it’s going to be better for all concerned,” Gaze said.
By putting greater emphasis on state competitions and finding a way for them to culminate into a national championship – it’s more affordable, it provides incentives for the associations to do well at the various levels.”
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