Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Fix Is In: NCAA Track

No, not a betting or a points-shaving scandal. We're literally going to fix NCAA Track and Field with this here little chunk of writing and a whole heap of naivete. From the Track and Field Superfan: college track should move to a "true" team championships, utilizing dual meets to heighten competition, first increasing drama, then interest, then buzz, then attention, then coverage, then exposure, then you're riding in the back of a cop car even though you've explained at least twelve times that she wanted to see it. She just didn't know it yet. jsquire points out:
Qualifying [to Nationals] is based on marks and marks alone. So unless you've got a chance to run a fast time, there's no reason to run. Even worse, running fast is more important than winning. Collegiate milers would rather run 3:58 and lose than run 4:01 and win--and any sport set up this way is going to be boring, boring, boring.
Too true. I can already hear the outcry from athletes and coaches at the prospect of doing a true "March Madness"-style championship. Too much racing! Too much traveling! Too much leveling of the playfield!

But imagine how exciting it would be - not only do you get head-to-head, easy-to-follow competitions, but the intrigue of coaches trying to use just enough of their resources to win an early round but keep their guys fresh enough to win next week. It would be quite the high-wire act and produce plenty of subplots and storylines.

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