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NCAA Track & Field Committee Disallows Galen Rupp's 3k Mark From Reebok Boston Update: 3rd Appeal Successful - Rupp's Mark Will Count
By LetsRun.com

February 18, 2009 Update - Just hours after we posted our initial story, we've learned that the NCAA has reversed course.  LetsRun.com has learned that a third appeal to the championship cabinet of the NCAA has been successful. They have overturned the track and field committee's two previous decisions and the marks will be allowed (at least on the men's side - not sure about the women).

February 17, 2009 - LetsRun.com has learned that last Tuesday (2/10/09) NCAA's track and field committee voted to not allow any NCAA qualifying performances that were earned at the 2009 Reebok Boston Indoor Games. What does that mean? Well, it means the two biggest distance stars in the sport currently have seen their 3k marks nullified. Oregon's Galen Rupp's 7:44.69 is not allowed; nor is Sally Kipyego's 8:48.77.

The NCAA manual is full of obscure rules. Page 152 of the NCAA Manual states, "Marks will not be acceptable if they are set in meets or events: Where fewer than 10 collegiate or open events per gender are contested.'"

Meet management at the Reebok meet had encountered similar problems with this rule a few years back and got around it by holding their meet in conjunction with a local college meet but this year the calendar set the meets a week apart. As a result, depending on how you interpret the rule, the Reebok meet failed to meet letter of the law.

The meet had 13 events on the men's side but 2 of them were masters events which don't count as open and one was the high school mile. So that gets you to 10. But one of the events was the pro elite mile and one was the college mile so the NCAA only counted it as 9 men's events while the meet thought it was 10. If the pro men had run 1,500, all would be fine but that wasn't the case.

Of course, in our mind the NCAA shouldn't blindly follow the rules. They should follow the intent of the rules. The point of the rule was to prevent coaches from having phantom meets or hard-to-verify, one-off events (if there is only one event and three coaches there, it's easy to get everyone to agree to lie about the times). Back in the 1980s and 1990s, things were suspect with some qualifying performances particularly at last-chance qualifiers that may or may not have even taken place. One year, George Mason's John Cook infamously tried to submit a fake DMR time.

So we understand why the rule exists, we just don't get why anyone at the NCAA would not allow the mark. A little common sense, please? The meet was on national TV. Give us a break.

The track and field committee has turned down Oregon's appeal of the nullification so there is nothing else that can be done.

Blindly enforcing obscure and pointless rules makes little sense. And the NCAA has already established a precedent of not enforcing all of its rules. A little-known rule in the NCAA manual is found on page 133. It states, "The 800 meters shall have not more than eight competitors per heat in the preliminaries or finals." The NCAA to our knowledge has never enforced this rule. Last weekend, four different runners at Washington hit the NCAA provisional time in races that had 9 or 10 competitors.

Thankfully, the NCAA has allowed those marks. But they disallow Rupp's. Let Rupp in.

Comments? Suggestions? Email us or talk about this topic in our forum.


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