John Keklak Photo
What do you get when you put three coaches and rules committee secretary in a room?
Apparently they become wise mathematicians. And with that faulty logic from the start, this year’s qualifying for the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships will be as big a mess as its timing issues at the cross country championships. And these indoor procedures will further distance a fan from understanding college track & field.
The NCAA is using junk science to index times this year, giving large penalties to times run on banked or oversized tracks. But then again, they are treating those two tracks equally when common sense provides better conclusions.
Track & Field News rankings’ panelist Jonathan Berenbom, an actuary who works in numbers each and every day, does not think you can even apply math to the problem. There are too many variables for which to account. After all, not only are tracks different, so are each individual lane. And so are the abilities that run on them and in them.
The College Meet Director at The Armory, Jack Pfeifer, has called the equating of 300-meter tracks with 200-meter banked ovals “absurd.” Track & Field News had profiles on the system in back-to-back issues [Part 1 and Part 2].
Pat Henry — the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies — isn’t sold. “We continue to convolute the sport and make it harder for the general public to understand what in the world we are doing,” he said. “How am I going to get fans to walk in the door, sit down and understand what is going on?”
Well, hand them a chart and give them a calculator, because any time run on the nation’s 80+ tracks which are banked, oversized or undersized will be put through an unsound calculation to determine where it will be indexed with all others.
I suspect that the Heps Championships will use this indexing for the Indoor Championships, though that is not clear. But that is merely using it for a tool for seeding, not to determine who’s in and who’s out.
That is a big difference. Click here for the indexing code… and good luck.
UPDATE: Here is one of the committee members’ takes on the backlash.