Yes it is a template, and oddly it is only when uploading a course with .CSV do you get content. With other ways of creating content, e.g. by hand or with authentication such as LDAP you only get the course settings (e.g. the format such as Topic or Date). I suspect there are more courses created with those technologies than by CSV. With LDAP the course is created when the first person enrolled on the course logged in, zero teaching of course creators and so rather attractive to admins. You don't get template content when creating by hand either.
I think it would be very easy for Admins to overdo the use of templates and there are only so many commonalities between subjects. Some examples that spring to my mind is having a link to a reading list and details of course re-take policies and contact details of course tutors. This would be blanks requiring completion once the course is created. It's easy to imagine some tutors forgetting to do it and ending up with text such as "Course Tutor Details go here" or similar, but you could do a database scan to nudge on these.
"Or am I being too cynical? "
Possibly, or you might be an experienced realist?