Interesting article by Superfan Jesse Squires on the dearth of college duals and how often Pre competed. Factually incorrect, however, when he states that Pre never competed indoors during his college days. I know for a fact he ran the a number of times, including at the old Oregon Indoor in Portland, and in San Diego. Prior to Munich, he ran against Kerry O'Brien of Australia and Emiel Puttemans, I believe in an indoor 2M. And I feel that Pre's heavy collegiate schedule ultimately worked against him later when he went to Europe during the summer.
This final point brings up another issue re collegiate competition/dualmeets etc. I believe back in the good ole days of weekly dual meets many of our outstanding collegiate athletes had to sacrifice possibly being successful on the world stage. It was virtually impossible (especially for distance runners) to compete in the college dual meet sesson for maximum points and still do well in the summer and be compettive internationally.
And Pre is actually a case in point as he had relatively poor results on an internaional level. Pre's admiration was generated by his blood and guts winning record in the states and may explain why so many outside the USA were not as impresssed with him.
I am amazed by this topic continually. Firstly, the dual meets have not really died, just in a multi team format now. Secondly, the college kids are still racing weekly and arguably just as much or more than before. These competitions are disguised as relay legs now. A lot of times, we get enthralled in counting ONLY those races the particular athlete specialized in. When in fact they have run other distances and relays every week from late March through April, same as the old duel meet schedule.
From the other side of the coin (why dual meets aren't more prevalent):
--Lack of funding for facilities and equipment. No, this doesn't affect the "bigs", but the vast majority of T&F programs collegiately operate on pretty tight budgets. That means money is tight for things like timing, and a large number of schools have inadequate facilities to put on a meet.
--Officials. This should be #1 on the list. The more meets there are on a weekend, the more certified officials are needed. Those wonderful folks are already in very short supply right now, and trying to stretch thin numbers across a magnitude more meets...
--Women. In the olden golden days so yearned for by many, apparently, a dual meet meant only two men's teams competing. Add in the obligatory women now, and viola, double the load.
Don't think research is necessary, gh. Back then every school in a conference had a team and they all met each other- even had non-conference meets on the schedule. In '72 my JC competed in a double dual in Fresno against Fresno CC. The other participants were Fresno State and Oregon. There was Pre, chugging out a 2 mile against the Bulldogs and a bunch of JC kids (in an Olympic year, no less). My recollection is that it wasn't just the college kids who ran a lot in the late 60s and 70's either. The post college 'amateurs' seemed to go at each other almost every week in some meet or another. I'm guessing the under-the-table $$ for each meet probably wasn't a real large figure, hence the high number of appearances. Nobody seemed to duck anybody.
Smoke wrote:.... Secondly, the college kids are still racing weekly and arguably just as much or more than before. These competitions are disguised as relay legs now. ...
Oh wow... please don't make me do the research to prove it, but my gut feeling is that compared with the '70s, collegiate athletes (perhaps throwers aside) compete about half as much as they did then.
My nephew at Minnesota and my niece at Iowa are both competing at D1. And I can tell you they don't compete all that often. Certainly nothing like they did at Oregon back in the 70's. About half is right.
There are oodles of reasons for this. One is obviously teams are smaller, and also who really cares who wins a dual meet when the emphasis is making it to the NCAA's, especially in cross country.
In NCAA DI XC, placing well at meets is the mechanism to get into the NCAA meet. Either you have to be top-2 in your Region (tough in West, Great Lakes,...) or have beaten a number of teams that do make it in.
26mi235 wrote:In NCAA DI XC, placing well at meets is the mechanism to get into the NCAA meet. Either you have to be top-2 in your Region (tough in West, Great Lakes,...) or have beaten a number of teams that do make it in.
That is true. Ranking is crucial. So it limits the number of meets you do. Because you have to do well in all of them. And then if you send a second squad somewhere, they are not a full team and thus don't count.
I suspect the demise of dual meets is related to the move to bring March Madness to 96 teams. In basketball, if you don't make the tournament, it's a very clear signal that your program is not up to par. In track, that concept can sometimes be intangible until you go to a dual meet and get your clock cleaned like what happened to Cal today in the Big Meet.
Without dual meets, you can easily point to individual performances, getting this athlete to Regional or this relay to National but in a dual meet, it's an apples to apples competition. If you're getting blown out, even a non-trackhead AD will be able to see a red flag.
gh wrote:it's the emergence of the content-hungy Conference channels that could provide an outlet for such things
That's what I thought all along, that channels like Longhorn or Pac Network would be able to show significant coverage of collegiate track meets. I believe the Longhorn Network showed a lot of Texas Relays coverage (to those few people that were actually able to receive the channel).
Not so sure about the dual meets, though. I think focusing on more coverage of existing important meets would be the better play.
Conor Dary wrote: They already show the conference CC, indoor and outdoor champs on the Big Ten. And they are never live for obvious reasons. A live, compact, 3 hour meet would be fun.
The reasons why they're never live aren't obvious to me. Current Big Ten Network coverage is good, but it could still be better and include more live coverage. And if I could choose between that and a dual meet, I'd pick the extended coverage of the conference championship.
There are Big Ten duals that take less than 2 hours. Ohio State vs Michigan splits men and women so that each are happening at Ann Arbor and Columbus on the same day. Michigan's Simmons-Harvey Invitational was a men's-then-women's meet last year, with the men dispatching three other local teams in a 2.5-hour scored quad.
Other duals could just as easily be tightened up for TV. Imagine women Stanford at Cal on Saturday, men Cal at Stanford on Sunday. You are only limited by your imagination.
The biggest limitation is the universe of collegiate athletics as it now exists. Outside of the top 15 teams in the country no other program is going to be able to field a quality dual team AND be competitive in their conference meets.
How a team places at their conference meet is how that program will be evaluated by the university administration. Many conferences have 10 plus teams. A team with 35 men who ALL place 7th or 8th at the conference meet may very well be the best dual team in the conference, but they will have a difficult time finishing in the top half of a 10 team competition.
We as the track community have almost ZERO influence over this landscape.
Now then instead of pining away about the loss of the dual meet, what can we do to make track and field more popular given factors that we CAN control?
I think the compromise would be more quad meets with two cometitors per team per event. Everything would be a final which would make a three-hour meet possible - good for spectators and television. Teams would not need quite as much depth as a dual meet requires but more than for a large meet.
The problem is that creating these meets in isolation would be difficult. If there were a sponsor that would promote a tournament, it would become much more interesting. Even two rounds starting with 16 teams and the four winners advancing to try to win a title/trophy would be something that casual fans would understand. Ideally, this would be a better way to conduct a national team championship than having a handful of athletes place in what is really an all-star meet.
Quads are ok, 6 ways are better. Take 3 teams from two different conferences head to head and make a series of that. Those are doable and can be easily promoted. SEC vs BiG 12 or Pac 12 vs Big 10 would be great. Even ACC vs Big East or CUSA vs Mountain West would be fun.