1 November 2018



Late yesterday the Pioneers Board were notified that their application for inclusion into the new Victorian “Elite League” was not successful.

The Pioneers Board is devastated by the decision. Our application to Basketball Victoria was compliant with all conditions of entry and went above and beyond to demonstrate that the Pioneers will be competitive and sustainable.

The Pioneers were the only existing SEABL team which applied for the new Elite league that was unsuccessful.

“We understand the major sticking point for the selection committee was our ability to demonstrate that we could establish a competitive Women’s team within the short time-frame required” Pioneer’s President Tom Kosch said. The Pioneer’s application provided detailed budget modelling which demonstrated our understanding of the revenues and costs associated as well as a detailed strategy outlining how a Pioneers Women’s team could be competitive as early as 2019. Our successful Men’s strategy provides the foundation for what would be a successful Women’s team.

It is impossible to demonstrate one’s abilities without a suitable platform to do so.

Under SEABL it has not been a requirement to enter both Men’s and Women’s teams. New entrants were admitted with one team only on the basis that the other team would enter within a reasonable period. The Pioneers were never pressed by BA on the issue of entering a Women’s team.

Basketball Australia (BA) should not have allowed the Pioneer’s application to be compromised on this basis. The Pioneers were completely disadvantaged by the BA decision.

Following BA’s advice of their intention to dissolve SEABL in August, BA Chairman Ned Coten provided comment in the Media “The absolute last thing Basketball Australia is going to do is leave clubs out in the cold, that won’t happen”.

Yesterday the Club was advised that the BA Board had resolved to dissolve SEABL, a league that had existed since 1981. The SEABL had always been viewed as the premier winter Basketball competition.

Well thanks Ned, it did happen and your (BA’s) action has done exactly that. It has left the Pioneers and our thirty year history in the cold. It threatens our community with the loss of a much loved community asset that continues to enrich the lives of many and has done so since 1988.

Furthermore, Coten, in that same article articulates that “our (BA’s) interests are the same as everyone in Basketball – we want the best level of competition and the maximum number of people to have the best opportunity to play the sport at the highest level they can. Somehow the spirit of equality, fairness and morality in how that statement was constructed was lost around the BA board table.

BA’s conduct has been unconscionable at the very least and it has delivered devastating consequences. It confirms that all actions taken by the Pioneers Board to date have been due and justified.

The Pioneers Board will not rest on this decision and will continue to take action with a view to preserving the Pioneers and the many benefits, through the generous support of the community, the Club is able to provide to Mount Gambier and the greater region.