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Liberty's Big South title taken away in controversy


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  • Liberty's Big South title taken away in controversy

    Liberty was originially crowned as team champions, but their title was taken away weeks later. Here's a story from the Big South website, followed by an explanation from the Liberty coach. Many thanks for his help.

    May 7, 2003

    Big South Announces Change To Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championship Scoring

    CHARLOTTE, N.C.--The Big South Conference announced today a change in the final team standings of the 2003 Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships. After the conclusion of the meet, it was discovered by the Conference that a student-athlete should have been barred from participating in two events due to a violation of the Honest Effort rule. As a result, the points earned in those events have been forfeited. The Conference’s action was not prompted by a protest, but by recognition that NCAA Track and Field Rules were not properly applied during the meet.
    “It is regrettable that this action had to be taken since it significantly impacts not only the student-athlete in question, but also the entire Liberty University men’s track and field team,” stated Kyle B. Kallander, Big South Conference Commissioner. “However, it is imperative that the rules are followed and that the Conference applies them accurately and fairly.”
    The revised final standings are as follows: 1st – Coastal Carolina University, 179 points; 2nd – Liberty University, 178 points; 3rd – High Point University, 132 points; 4th – Radford University, 102 points; 5th – Charleston Southern University, 89 points; 6th – Winthrop University, 72 points; 7th – UNC Asheville, 60 points. Coastal Carolina is the 2003 Men’s Outdoor Track and Field Champion.

    Here is the opinion of Liberty Head Coach Brant Tolsma:
    The facility at Radford has the throwing area about 1/2 mile from the track. Jon Debogory was entered in the 400m, high jump and shot at the same time, but was in the 2nd flight of the shot. We were told prior to the meet that such athletes would be communicated with through the use of walkie-talkies. The high jump started later than scheduled and while participating he received a phone call from a teammate saying that he needed to be at the shot as quick as possible. He took his last jump and hopped in a car to the shot. When he arrived, the official would not let him throw, even though the finals had not yet started. He said he was too late. Because of what we had been told prior to the meet, we did not think that his lack of participation in the shot was a violation of the honest effort rule and so we ran him on our 4x400m. Apparently the conference saw it differently and hence the result.
    Brant Tolsma
    Head Track Coach

  • #2
    Re: Liberty's Big South title taken away in controversy

    Good thing he wasn't wearing any dad-gum jewelry; I'da hadda given him a life sentence!


    • #3
      Re: Liberty's Big South title taken away in controversy

      If the facts are correct, including the implication that officials failed to contact the kid by walkie-talkie as promised, the Coastal Carolina's only class move would be to present the team trophy to Liberty.

      These are student-athletes, and there's a lesson here: that winning at all costs is not what life is about. I don't see how they can call that a "fair" application of the honest effort rule.


      • #4
        Re: Liberty's Big South title taken away in controversy

        I agree with the other posts that the spirit of the rule is not being followed if the facts we see in this article are correct. With that being said, I can't help but chuckle in seeing the irony of Jerry Fallwell's university asking for a liberal interpretation of societal standards (Conference rules).