We were happy with the outcome and this week decided to try doing the debate semi-live on the messageboard so LRC visitors can post their thoughts. This week we'll talk about NCAA DQs and rules.
Without further ado, here goes.
Leaving Fayetteville on Monday, there were a few situations from last weekend’s NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships that didn’t sit well with me. The first was the disqualification of two runners for false starts -- Binghamton’s Jesse Garn in the men’s 800 and, especially Baylor’s Maggie Montoya in the women’s 3000. We’ll get to those later. The other thing that bothered me was something that happened in heat 3 of the men’s 4x400-meter relay.
If you watched the race, you may remember that LSU was disqualified after the Tigers’ third leg, Cyril Grayson, fouled Florida’s third leg, Eric Futch. (If you want to see the incident, you can watch the video on ESPN3.com. Click here: http://espn.go.com/watchespn/player/_/id/2317299/size/condensed/ , then fast forward it to the 3:24:20 mark.) The two runners made contact battling for position on the backstretch and as they entered the turn, Grayson shoved Futch, who was forced off the track to the inside and lost his momentum. With about 60 meters remaining in his leg (and only the anchor leg to come), Futch saw that the deficit was going to be too much to overcome and didn’t finish the race.
Grayson and LSU wound up being disqualified while Florida wound up a DNF. It didn’t wind up making a difference in the team score (Florida was already locked into second place) but what if it did? What if, instead of trailing Oregon by 24 entering the 4x400, Florida only trailed by 8? What if DNF’ing that race -- because one of their runners was fouled -- was the difference between Florida winning the team title and finishing second? Could Florida do anything about it?
That scenario bothered me, so I turned to the NCAA rule book for an answer. I couldn’t find a section dealing with the specific scenario outlined below, but Florida’s best course of action seems to be filing a protest, which would be reviewed by the meet referee. The referee’s authority is outlined below (relevant sections in bold):
the NCAA wrote:
ARTICLE 2. The referee(s) shall: a. After consulting with the appropriate officials, decide all questions, take such actions and make such decisions, including, but not limited to, those for which the rules make no specific provision, that provide each contestant a fair and equal opportunity; [/ B] b. Ensure fair and safe competition for all competitors and disqualify those whose acts violate the rules of fair and safe competition; c. To decide all questions regarding the re-staging of an event; d. To have sole power to warn and/or disqualify competitors.
Florida could very easily argue that it wasn’t provided a fair and equal opportunity to win the 4x400, and therefore the meet. And the referee has the authority to re-stage the race if he believes it is necessary.
So I put three questions to you:
1. Had Florida trailed by 8, not 24, and had the Gators filed a protest, should the referee have re-run the race?
2. If you re-run the race, when do you re-run the race? If it’s on the same day, the Florida anchor leg would be less tired (as he did not run the first race). And since this was a three-section final, what happens if the times from section 3 (featuring the schools with the four fastest seed times) are now slower than those from heats 1 or 2 because their runners are tired?
3. If you aren’t in favor of re-running the race, how would you resolve this situation?