Region Track Meets Have Outlived Their Welcome
3:45 P.M. SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2009
JERRY HILL (E-MAIL)
If this weekend was the last we see of the NCAA regional track meets, it won't be soon enough.
Not for the Baylor men's 4x100-meter relay, anyway. When the Bears false-started in Saturday's final at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Norman, Okla., their season was done.
This was a team that ranked fifth in the country coming into the regional with a season-best time of 39.25 seconds at Texas Relays. But the way this regional system works, they are automatically eliminated from the NCAA Championships. I've got to think that's not the way the NCAA envisioned this thing working.
"We feel like as long as we get the stick around the track in the 4x1 and the 4x4, we're OK," Baylor coach Todd Harbour said on Thursday, when the team loaded up for the four-hour bus ride to Norman.
Originally built in as an opportunity to give more athletes a chance to compete on something close to a national stage, the regionals seems to have done more to take away chances for the best to compete at the NCAA Championships. And don't you want the best to compete against the best?
That's why the Pac-10 Conference has proposed legislation to eliminate the regional meets, a suggestion that received unanimous backing from the Big 12 athletic directors at last week's meetings in Colorado.
"There are some good athletes that don't get to the NCAA meet because of this regional system," Harbour said. "A pole vaulter may no-height. I just think the negatives far outweigh the positives of it. And it's just another major hard competition on your athletes, coming off of the conference meets like some of us do."
At a time when the NCAA is trying to keep costs down, the regional meets just don't make much sense. And if you did away with them, you could have held the NCAA Championships this weekend and given the student-athletes participating a chance to start the first summer session on time.
Maybe it just makes too much sense.
Lady Bears Certainly Played the Best
7:45 A.M. THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2009
JERRY HILL (E-MAIL)
Glenn Moore will never be accused of shying away from competition.
The Baylor softball coach played one of, if not the, toughest schedules in the country this season.
Just look at the Softball World Series that starts tonight in Oklahoma City. Of the eight teams that made it, Arizona and Arizona State are the only ones that the Lady Bears didn't play this year.
In fact, including the two losses to Michigan at last weekend's Super Regional in Ann Arbor, over half of Baylor's 22 losses this year came against teams in the World Series.
After opening the season by winning one of three at Florida, the Lady Bears lost two apiece to Alabama and Georgia and one to Washington at the Easton SEC/Pac-10/Big 12 Challenge in Tuscaloosa, Ala.; got swept by Missouri in a weekend series at Getterman Stadium; and then lost to the Tigers, 1-0, in the semifinals at the Big 12 Championships.
Granted, the Lady Bears were only 1-12 against the World Series field. But four of the games were decided by one run, and six of the games were played without All-American third baseman Brette Reagan.
There's no doubt that Moore and the Lady Bears would love to be playing this week at ASA Hall of Fame Stadium. But as they watch the games from the comfort of home, they can smile a little bit and know that they've played the best.