A Day of Change

Nathan Crumpton Photo

The Ivy League coaches held their annual fall meeting in New Haven, Conn., today and the result was the most sweeping change, in terms of the championships, in decades.

The changes, in many ways, reflect the vast improvement of the League in recent years as more and more Ivy athletes are able to compete at the national level. They also create a lineup of events that are now mirrored by each gender.

The indoor championships, effective in 2014, will see a dramatic shift as the coaches agreed to adhere to the NCAA event offerings. Gone are the 500-meter dash and 1,000-meter run for the men and the 4×800-meter relays for both genders. Added will be the men’s 200-meter dash and the women’s distance medley relay.

Also gone from the indoor championships will be the three-round format for sprints and hurdles, which should make the Saturday at Indoor Heps shorter. The first round has been rarely contested since the military academies left, making for long periods of inaction at the event. The indoor championships will clearly be more spectator friendly.

The three-round format will remain for the outdoor championships for now, which makes significantly more sense since weather can dramatically impact times. That said, those first rounds remain rarely contested and we’d hope that this would be revisited in the future.

The women’s 3,000-meter run has been eliminated at the outdoor championships beginning in 2014, which probably should have happened several years ago when the women’s steeplechase was introduced.

There was also news on the cross country front as the coaches decided to keep the meet at Princeton through 2013. Having the race on Saturday at Princeton was deemed preferable to a return to Van Cortlandt on Friday.

A quick look at the events that have been dropped:

INDOOR
Men’s 500-meter dash — Has been run every year since 1978; a 600-yard run had been in place 1948-78.
Men’s 1,000-meter run — Has been run every year since 1978; a 1,000-yard run had been in place 1948-78.
Men’s 4×800-meter relay — Has been run as either a 4×800 or two-mile relay since 1948.
Women’s 4×800-meter relay — Has been run as either a 4×800 or two-mile relay since 1981.

OUTDOOR
Women’s 3,000-meter run — Has been run every year since 1979; a two-mile run had been run 1977-78.

12 Responses to “A Day of Change”

  1. Greg Page says:

    Wow. Man, the men’s 400 and 800 are going to be incredibly cutthroat, with the 500 and 1,000 gone (though I realize the addition of a 200 may siphon off some of the 400 talent). If there’s only one preliminary round of 400/800, the competition for those few spots in the final will be insane!
    Anyway, thank goodness that silly outdoor 3,000 will finally be gone. You’re right, it should have happened years ago.

    • Brett Hoover says:

      Greg… The indoor championships on the men’s side will be a drastically different meet. More emphasis on sprinting, much less on middle distance and some really great matchups in the 400, 800 and mile. In my opinion, a great meet just got even better! I hope that the loss of two events (net) and the elimination of the trials in the sprints and hurdles will mean a much tighter schedule on Heps Saturday!

  2. 500m says:

    Say it isn’t so

  3. Ivy League Runner says:

    Why Coaches, Why? Last time I checked, the Ivy League was mainly known for their exciting 4x800m races. So sad to see this go. I think this a major step in the wrong direction and hope that the ruling is changed.

  4. B. B. says:

    I truly believe that losing the 500 and 1000 is not the way to go. One of the strongest event groups in the Ivy League has been in the middle distance events. Looking at last year’s outdoor results alone, there were at least 10 athletes who had broken 1:50 in the previous two years. It was harder to qualify for the finals in the 800 at the Heptagonal Championship than it was to advance in either the SEC or the Big West 800. In addition, advancing was also almost as competitive as the ACC. In several other event groups we are nowhere near as competitive on a national level.

    In my opinion it is better for the league to weigh the stronger event groups more heavily. Otherwise, the schools will lose their incentive to recruit as heavily in the middle distance events. Also, the indoor championships, which are widely considered to be less important than the outdoors ones, gave the younger middle distance runners a chance to compete in (and possibly impact) the conference championship. This will be increasingly important in the next few years as all of the scorers at last year’s Outdoor Heps 800 were freshmen and sophomores.

    Finally, the choice to abandon the 4×800 makes absolutely no sense. It is one of the best measures of a school’s strength or weakness in middle distance. Despite having one or two stars, a school wouldn’t be able to compete successfully in the 4×8 without having the third and fourth men to finish out the relay. I understand the choice to keep the DMR, as it is competed at NCAA’s, and would give the teams one more chance to qualify, but in reality it does little to demonstrate middle-distance depth in a program. The first three legs of the DMR are rarely run at top speed, almost never separate from one another, and bear little-to-no impact on the outcome of the race. The DMR is just a showcase of which school has the miler with the fastest kick.

    Honestly, since when has the Ivy League decided that it needed to follow the NCAA meet?

    • Brett Hoover says:

      Just a personal feeling here and I have no say in the matter, I think adding the 200 and eliminating the 500 & 1k were okay. The more I have considered it, I think that the removal of the 4×8 was questionable. Those moves collectively drastically reduce the competitive opportunities for as many as 90 athletes, but the 4×8 would have still given a chance for the developing athletes to experience Heps.

      • B. B. says:

        I agree with you Brett. Personally, I liked the 500 and the 1000 as they gave the athletes more options and a chance to race athletes on a more level playing field. For example, what other race would you find 400 hurdlers, 400 runners, and 800m runners able to compete against each other in other than a 500 (or a 600)? Same thing is true for milers and half milers meeting in the 1000. In addition, the indoor 200 depends too much on lane assignments.

        The part that I disagreed with BY FAR the most was the loss of the 4×8. Especially because in this league, no team has the definite advantage in it. Teams have different strategies for how they want the race to play out, positions change drastically throughout the races, and it often comes down to the last few exciting meters.

  5. less exciting says:

    I can understand somewhat the dissolving of the 500 and the 1000 but the loss of the 4×8 is pretty detrimental to the feel of the meet. the dmr is great but it is basically a mile race, the 4×8 is a much more exciting race and i am very disappointed that the ivy league has chosen to dissolve this event

    • Brett Hoover says:

      I have heard from others who have expressed this sentiment. All of the eliminated men’s indoor events have been on the schedule since the league began indoor championships in 1948.

  6. Nick Wade says:

    While I possess an obvious bias being a middle-distance runner, I believe it is a great shame that the 4×8 has been packaged with the men’s 500m and 1000m events. I understand it is not an ‘official’ NCAA championship event, but that should not be the Ivy League’s only argument for its removal. Every spectator and participant who has EVER attended a Heps event will agree that the 4×8 is one of the most exciting races on Sunday – REGARDLESS of current standings.

    The 4×8 is always a battle. It is never won in the strategic manner of championship races with runners jogging the first few laps. It is ALWAYS a balls to the wall, all-out ordeal that perfectly summarizes what the Heps is all about. Sure the event has been dominated by a few select programs in the past years (teams that were also the dissenting voices in the official coaches’ vote), but this is an event that doesn’t require purely recruited stud athletes. Many of the ‘big names’ have already emptied their tanks in individual events, leaving room for some 1:51-1:54 guys to make their names known.

    It’s a genuine shame that teams resort to voting for the removal this wonderful relay event rather than cowboy up and rising to the challenge of competing for an event they haven’t won for a few years. No one is going to hand you that trophy without requiring you to earn it first.

    • Brett Hoover says:

      Nick…

      I have heard that sentiment shared in regards to the 4x8s. And I don’t think for a second that you are pointing any blame here, but I wanted to address that I have gotten some hate-mail, suggesting that I am responsible for the purge of the 4×8.

      First, I set no agenda. I don’t have a vote. And I wasn’t I there. I have been harping at the coaches about fan-friendliness for years. I’d do it at the Games Committee meetings while copies were being made and nothing else was going on.

      Nor have I ever suggested the demise of the 4x8s. Here is a revised list of what I posted as my wish list on April 25:

      1. All Indoor Heps take place at The Armory
      2. No more Outdoor Heps at Franklin Field
      3. No more three-round schedule for sprints/hurdles
      4. Adapt to webcasting
      5. Kill the men’s 500m and 1k runs indoor; add the men’s 200m for the men and the women’s DMR
      6. Kill the women’s outdoor 3k
      7. Release Championship start lists earlier
      8. Bring back the mile; record en route times for 1500
      9. Bring back Army & Navy
      10. Multi events contested at Penn Relays

      I got half a wish on No. 3 and the full wish on Nos. 5 & 6, but I never addressed the 4×8.

      I am a fan of the 4×8 because it: 1. has been a really fun race to watch over the years; and 2. it allows 64 middle-distance athletes an opportunity to run.

      We’ll see how this plays out. I don’t think we’ve heard the last about the 4×8.