The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

NCAA Regionals?

Jun 2nd, 2015
6:54 am PST

PlaceholderThe NCAA Regional "meets" were held this past weekend in Austin TX (West) and Jacksonville FL (East). Did anyone notice?

They were overshadowed by what was an AWESOME Prefontaine Classic. Hard to gain attention when there’s a mini world championships going on! But I have to feel that they also suffered from their own format.

Note that they were "meets" and not "Championships". And I somewhat question if they were even "meets" given that ultimately there were no "winners" – just a bunch of "qualifiers".

What the NCAA had done is split it’s Championships into three separate meets. There are the two Regional meets which basically serve as the Trials and Quarterfinals. Followed by the Championships meet with the Semifinals and Finals. And personally after watching this a few times I think it’s dumb!

Don’t get me wrong, I understand qualifying rounds, essentially the US Championships, Jamaican Championships, Russian Championships etc are qualifiers for World’s. But they are all competitions with champions, medalists, etc who all move on to a full World Championships meet where the best get together and go through the rounds TOGETHER during the same competition to crown a set of champions.

Can you imagine two Hemisphere meets where everyone goes to compete to advance to Worlds with no winners or champions being crowned? Just 18 individuals/relays per event showing up in Beijing a couple of weeks later to run semis and finals? Me either.

For one having meets with no winners and losers is just odd. Even more so to have a two week break between your "rounds". Part of the championship experience is how you negotiate the rounds. As is watching the rounds as a spectator. That’s the whole build up to the championship final! The NCAA has lost that. They’ve also created two rather meaningless meets. Yes you have to move out of Regionals to get to the big dance, but don’t we already know who’s getting out of the Trials and Quarters? Especially in this format since half of your potential competition is competing somewhere else!

And all the wasted resources putting on three meets instead of one! Not to mention the dilution of one meet into three.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea of Regional CHAMPIONSHIPS. Those could be great meets. Run them their full course. Crown individual champions and teams. Allow the top competitors to qualify for the Championships. Then let them all start from scratch with Trials, Quarters, Semis and Finals! Now THAT would bring excitement to the end of the collegiate season!

The actual crowning of Regional champions. East and West champions vying for national titles. The creation of new story lines. The excitement of three full championship meets.

Would’ve been hard to upstage Prefontaine, but I bet they would’ve gotten better headlines than they did. Would certainly have been more television worthy! And made for a super track weekend. Now THAT would have been fun.

Instead did anything memorable happen in Austin and Jacksonville last weekend?

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2 Responses to “NCAA Regionals?”

  1. Waynebo says:

    The NCAA seems like its trying to re-invent the wheel. There is a tried and true formula that works just fine. They should have left it alone. It works on all levels from HS to the olympics. I hope they come to their senses and just change it back.

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