Should we look down on any NCAA champion school whose championship tallies are dominated by points from distance events?
Let me explain. Consider NCAA tennis. I know you're thinking, "Tennis? This is a track board. What is this guy talking about?" Please bear with me. NCAA tennis is now basically a scholarship program for foreign athletes who have no hopes of playing in the pros. NCAA tennis used to produce great pro players. Connors, Ashe, Trabert, McEnroe, Tanner... Now it produces nothing but foreign NCAA champions with no hopes of playing in the pros. Because the talent level is so low, NCAA tennis nowadays is a joke. THE TITLE MEANS NOTHING.
Now consider NCAA track and field. The athletes in NCAA track who make waves internationally are sprinters and jumpers, a shot putter or two and a decathlete or two. Nobody from the NCAA over 800m these days is even on the radar internationally. Maybe Lagat, right? I don't know. But certainly no American over 800m. But when you consider that distance guys from the NCAA schools do nothing internationally and the talent level is so low among NCAA distance runners, should the titles from schools such as Arkansas MEAN NOTHING, too?
Should the national titles from schools such as LSU and Tennessee be looked at with more respect than those of Arkansas, since guys from these schools have more of a chance of becoming successful "pros" than those from Arkansas, since their points come from sprints, field events, decathlon?
I take the exact OPPOSITE approach. Team titles won on the strength of distance runners are MORE impressive, in my view, than those based on sprinting because there are fewer OPPORTUNITIES to score points in the distances, thanks to the relay set-up.
If a school recruits excellent competitors in the 100, 200, and 400, in essence they are benefitting in FIVE events, once you add in the two relays.
If a school recruits excellent competitors in the 5,000 and 10,000, they are benefitting in, well, TWO events.
In short, distances are not where the points are, so if you win based on that area, more power to you!
Perhaps one might call the 800 and 1500 "middle distance," and the 3000 SC, 5000, and 10,000 "distance." However you slice it, none of these events has the added value from relays at the NCAA championship level that you get from the sprints.
Now consider NCAA
>A track and field. The athletes in NCAA track
>who make waves internationally are sprinters and
>jumpers, a shot putter or two and a decathlete or
>two. Nobody from the NCAA over 800m these days
>is even on the radar internationally. Maybe
>Lagat, right? I don't know. But certainly no
>American over 800m. But when you consider that
>distance guys from the NCAA schools do nothing
>internationally and the talent level is so low
>among NCAA distance runners, should the titles
>from schools such as Arkansas MEAN NOTHING,
Should the national titles from schools
>such as LSU and Tennessee be looked at with more
>respect than those of Arkansas, since guys from
>these schools have more of a chance of becoming
>successful "pros" than those from Arkansas,
>since their points come from sprints, field
Yes! By global standards -- the only standard that should count here -- an NCAA distance title means NOTHING. Virtually none of the NCAA distance champs could hold their own in an elite meet! How many can meet the IAAF's 'A' (or even 'B') standard? So other than NCAA fans, they just don't impress. That's not the case for NCAA sprint or hurdles champs, quite of few of whom are World Top 20 even as collegians. The majority of NCAA sprint & hurdles finalists meet the IAAF 'B', if not 'A', standard. The top relay squads are also high on the international ranks. So on that basis, I'd agree that an NCAA distance title is "worth" less. All that said, any school that wins an NCAA team title is alright with me.
also, scholarships come into play since almost all or sometimes all track scholarships a team has go to distance guys since they can do two sports(three if you count indoor and outdoor). i think it is nice for an all around team to win a championship. one that has talent on the track and on the field and in sprints and distance.
in high school track there are many more sprint events than distance but in college it is more equal. championships in track are funny. you get several talented guys and you can win a title. you can also take one guy to nationals in a couple events and score 20 or more points. you can take 9 guys and have all become all american and score only 9 points.
why dont we have a dual team national championship in track and find out who has the best rounded team with the most depth.
>why dont we have a dual team national >championship in track and find out who has the >best rounded team with the most depth.
I've actually had a plan for a few years on how to accomplish something similar.
A dual-meet tournament would be impractical, if one were to propose multiple elimination rounds. My idea is to have a selection committee pick the four top deep/well-rounded teams based on quantity and quality of a school's performers.
Then, in conjunction with the NCAA individual championships, a four-way NCAA team championship meet could be held. For example, the team-championship meet could be held on the Thursday night, with the individual championships being held on Friday and Saturday.
In the team meet, each school would get two athletes per event. These athletes would not need to satisfy the individual qualifying mechanism; each team could use its two top competitors per event, regardless of previous times/marks.
Scoring would be 5-3-2-1. Because of the impracticality of holding both a 5,000 and 10,000, the 5,000 could count for double points, so as not to penalize teams that are strong in the distances.
The idea of de-coupling the determination of team and individual championships, yet still holding both in the same venue has already been in place for many years in NCAA gymnastics and tennis.
>"I think there should be seperate NCAA team
>titles for distance powerhouses."
>one, it's called cross-country.
That brings to mind another question. Should the NCAA cross country meet be discounted as a competition made up of middle class, bongo-beating white guys who will never make the finals of an Olympic distance event but will wind up being top-notch triathletes or ultra-marathoners?
I have always felt, at both the high school and college level, that once you get past the high school levels of your county or league, and at the college level, past the conference level, team championships are very much second fiddle, they do not mean much. Nice to talk about, but not really having much validity as to how good the TEAM is.
And does anyone remember when the AAU meet had a team championship ? It just died away due to lack of significance or interest.
I do not want to do away with NCAA Team Championships in Track & Field, but they do not mean much.
The Hogs have made a killing in the reduced-scholarship era because they understand math. They have somewhere around a dozen scholarships to give out, and realize that recruiting the types of athletes that help you win the NCAA require full scholarships. So they have to make them count.
They don't spend them on decathletes or DT, HT, or JT guys -- you spend one scholarship and get only outdoor track out of them (and usually just one event). On the other hand, stud runners like Cragg or Lincoln can run two or three races at the outdoor NCAA meet, two or three races at the indoor NCAA, and also lead your cross country team -- if you count team and individual CC as separate "events" then you get 6 to 8 events out of one scholarship! They also understand that a great horizontal jumper can score in two events at indoor nationals and two events at outdoor nationals -- again, four events out of one scholarship. A stud sprinter is good for three events outdoors and two indoors at best (since indoor track has no short relay), and is easily injured.
The maximize-your-events-per-scholarship idea works best at the indoor meet, and that's where the Hogs have done the best.
>The Hogs have made a killing in the
>reduced-scholarship era because they understand
>stud runners like Cragg or Lincoln can run
>two or three races at the outdoor NCAA meet, two
>or three races at the indoor NCAA, and also lead
>your cross country team -- if you count team and
>individual CC as separate "events" then you get
>6 to 8 events out of one scholarship!
...and that's why they have a very dismal record of post-collegiate success after a year or two.
I have nothing against Arkansas, but I find it amazing that anyone hoping for any kind of running career beyond college would ever go there. But I suppose it's tough swimming against the pipeline flow.