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Why aren't college invitationals scored?

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  • Why aren't college invitationals scored?

    Yes, some are, but most aren't. And I have my own thoughts on the matter. But I'm asking the experts here to fire away with whatever reasons you have heard or can come up with (even if you might disagree with it). Be exhaustive.

  • #2
    Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

    Originally posted by Mighty Favog
    Yes, some are, but most aren't. And I have my own thoughts on the matter. But I'm asking the experts here to fire away with whatever reasons you have heard or can come up with (even if you might disagree with it). Be exhaustive.
    The college regular season, and now HS too, has been reduced to 'marks-chasing'. It's all just prelude to the 'Championship Season' (city, conference, district, region, etc.), which itself, is mostly qualifying for the even bigger Championship (state, national). We've lost sight of the notion that in life the journey is just as important as the destination.
    As a card-carrying T&F Geezer, I remember the thrill of the dual, tri or quad meet, where the object was to get points for the team victory. My #1 goal in HS was to be the team's highest point-winner over the course of the season. School records came as a bonus. Even my finishes at the season-ending Championships were only valued at the points they earned for the team trophy.

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    • #3
      Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

      I disagree that it is about "marks chasing", in fact, "marks chasing" me be a component of SOME invitationals but most invitationals are nothing more than a track meet with a lot of teams. "Marks Chasing" has nothing to do with it.

      The reason why, imo, invitationals are not scored is because college coaches don't want them scored. They don't want to have to go back to the Athletic Director and explain why they finished 56th out of 73 schools. Unscored invitationals are a way for college coaches to shirk responsibility.

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      • #4
        Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

        The primary origin, IMO, would be the era of scholarship restrictions and the resulting event specialization of all but the most resourced programs.

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        • #5
          Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

          Originally posted by preston
          Unscored invitationals are a way for college coaches to shirk responsibility.
          Not true. A GOOD coach only enters athletes in the events they need that week to develop better. Therefore there is not the desire to score maximum points every week. Since all of our meets now are 8+ team invitationals, we only point at three of them to try and score high. The rest are 'work-through' meets.

          For want of a better explanation, it is the concept of 'periodization' that killed scoring meets. That's great for the post-season phenoms, but for the 99% (Occupy the Track!), it's not necessary.

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          • #6
            Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

            Originally posted by KevinM
            The primary origin, IMO, would be the era of scholarship restrictions and the resulting event specialization of all but the most resourced programs.
            I disagree that scholarship restrictions have killed a broad-based team approach. Last year I went through all of the top 25 programs in the USTFCCCA's rankings (as of mid-April or so) and all but Alabama had at least 32 athletes on their roster. That's an important number because that's the roster limit for most dual meets. 28 or so is the limit for most conference meets, and pretty much every team has at least that many athletes.

            The team I was on in the early 90s was a modestly-funded mid-major (9 scholarships) and we had 70+ men out on the team. That's virtually unheard of in mid-majors these days, but not because of scholarship restrictions.

            If there's a reason that some (but far from most) teams emphasize some events and abandon others, it's because of the restriction on the number of coaches. When those restrictions were put in place, leaders in the USTFCCCA said it would lead to event-area specialization and away from broad-based teams, and they were right.

            But let's assume that's the case. In a meet of eight to twelve teams, it probably wouldn't hurt competitiveness. If you pile up the points in some events and get shut out in others, you'll come out OK. You probably won't win, but won't be last either just so long as you're good at the events you specialize in.

            In general, I'm with Pat Henry on this. While events like the Penn Relays or Stanford Invitational don't lend themselves to scoring, an awful lot of other meets do, and I think it's kind of stupid that we don't.

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            • #7
              Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

              Originally posted by preston
              The reason why, imo, invitationals are not scored is because college coaches don't want them scored. They don't want to have to go back to the Athletic Director and explain why they finished 56th out of 73 schools. Unscored invitationals are a way for college coaches to shirk responsibility.
              Coaches and athletes do not want to be racing every weekend. The season is about training and development. If you were trying to score high every meet you would have to bring everyone to each meet and you would all have to go to the same meet.

              If you are a college male sprinter, would yo rather run 9.99/1.0 and come in third or 10.10/1.0 and come in first. I am not sure that many would pick the latter.

              I did not compete at this level, but I would rather have run 2:30 and been 30th than run 2:35 and come in 10th or even 5th. Sure, I tried to beat the athletes I could, but I actually tried to run with them and use them to get be to a better effort than beat them, per se.

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              • #8
                Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

                aside from the fact that with current scholarship restrictions meaning that most teams don't even try to have somebody in every event (which would make a mockery of a "team" competition), track coaches have found how to escape being judged on a win-loss record (which is what gets you fired in any other sport). Instead, they can say to the AD, "look! we had X people qualify for...."

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                • #9
                  Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

                  gh hit on it. Few schools have enough quality athletes across the board to compete weekly for a team win.. some are mandated to specialize and concentrate scholarships on distance or sprints..
                  I don't know how traditional powerhouses with big squads come up with all those bodies.. :?

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                  • #10
                    Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

                    Originally posted by lonewolf
                    gh hit on it. Few schools have enough quality athletes across the board to compete weekly for a team win.. some are mandated to specialize and concentrate scholarships on distance or sprints..
                    I don't know how traditional powerhouses with big squads come up with all those bodies.. :?
                    Florida and FSU get quality walk-ons because
                    a) most state kids want to go there and
                    b) Bright Futures, the state scholarship money, funded by the state lottery, makes it very cheap to go there, which
                    c) allows them to split scholarships and make it very attractive to attend.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

                      Sunday rambling:

                      I don't know how the current scholarship sytems works. Heck, I didn't even know how it worked when I was on a track scholarship (1949-53)..we had a full squad and I don't think most/any of us knew who was scholarship and who was walk-on. Of course tuition was $48/semester maximum regardless of number of hours taken, books (mostly used) were free at the college book store, R&B was modest and minimal..maybe it was not that big a deal.. maybe we were all on scholarship..
                      I may have told this story before but for the latecomers...

                      I was an unwitting walk-on for 48 seconds after I reported to track practice in the fall of 1949. I had had a good but not spectacular athletic career at a rural HS..few outside of SW Oklahoma had heard of me and I had never heard of track scholarships... I hitch-hiked, suitcase in hand, 200 miles to attend college; my first years tuition paid by a home town $100 tuition scholarship...the rest was up to me.
                      I went out for track because that was what I was best at..good field, good arm, fast but right handed, blind in left eye, couldn't hit a curve (or fast) ball .. good outside "set shot" but too short/marginally talented for basketball...our school did not play football because we were in recess for cotton harvest in October and November...otherwise, I would no doubt have been an All State halfback. (that's a joke, folks. )
                      Coach Higgins (our only track/field coach) first day routine required every one, including throwers, to run a solo, all out 440 to see what kind of shape were were in.. we had returning All-Americans and state champion sprinters from three states (Okla, Ark, NY)..Billy Lonewolf' (none of the above) cruised the fastest time of the day, a 47.8 on cinders..good for an on-the- spot "battlefield commisson" scholarship.
                      Of course, Coach did not know (and I did not volunteer) that after a lifetime of hard farm work and chasing down jackrabbits on foot, I had never been out of shape... or, that it would not get much better.. except he taught me something about LJ and added two feet to my PB..
                      Otherwise, I earned my keep as a track "utility infielder", seldom winning anything except the LJ, and capable of not embarrassing the school, or myself, too much in events ranging from 100 y (9.7) to three miles (14:00)...
                      It made possible an education affording me a comfortable life that I probably would not have achieved otherwise...maybe that is how schools still do it.. with "innocent" walk-ons.
                      It was a lot of fun.. possibly the best times of my fairly long life... I still love the smell of sweat and "red hot".

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                      • #12
                        Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

                        One of the MAIN problems with TnF in the USA is indeed the lack of scoring in many meets. I think the poster that said something about not wanting to go to the AD and say yeah we got 56th is more of the issue than some of you want to believe.

                        The sporting public values competition. Which conversation will be more effective in the ability of the marginal fan to connect with tnf:

                        1.
                        "How did you do in the meet last night?"
                        "We won! Got 'em at the 4x4 at the end!"
                        "Hey, great!" Fist bump.

                        or

                        2.
                        "How did you do in the meet last night?"
                        "Well, you see the meet wasn't scored...provisional qualifiers... trained through...didn't think it was important...saving ourselves for..."
                        Eyes glaze, zoning out, moving on to something else.

                        By being consistently mediocre I suppose you are more likely to keep your job?

                        Another problem is that meets are too long. I will expound on that another day in my quest to become the CEO of USATF.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Why aren't college invitationals scored?

                          Originally posted by gh
                          ...track coaches have found how to escape being judged on a win-loss record (which is what gets you fired in any other sport). Instead, they can say to the AD, "look! we had X people qualify for...."
                          Some here have called for JJ Clark to be fired. I think the AD might think that way too if the following happened more than once a year:

                          UCLA 115, Tennessee 46

                          I've seen worse ass-whippings in high school meets but that's the most one-sided outcome I can recall among major college teams. If the Vols got embarrassed like this with any regularity, heads would roll.

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