Monday, December 04, 2006

An Idea for the National Championship

With the announcement of the BCS match-ups come the annual calls for a I-A college football playoff system. Although this world of big-time sports seems far removed from lightweight rowing, it reminded me of a rowing championship format espoused by Mike Teti. Before I go farther, let me say that this idea comes from Mike, but I will no doubt not explain it quite the way he would and may get some key elements wrong. So, the idea is not mine, but any differences from the originator's actual concept are the result of my own faulty memory or misunderstanding.

In essence, the plan would work like this:

- The championship would include men's and women's heavyweights and lightweights, varsity eights only.

1) For each category there would be 12 entrants who would race in two qualifying heats (two 6 boat races)

2) Three top boats from each qualifier would move on to a quarterfinal (6 boat race)

3) The top three boats in the quarterfinal would race again in the semi-final (3 boat race)

4) The top two boats in the semi would race again in a match race to decide the national championship (2 boat race)

So, we have a tournament format, for V8s only, and all four collegiate rowing categories would have a NCAA championship. The idea is that the tournament format would create increasing excitement, building toward the last match race for the national championship (I may have added an extra race in there). By only allowing V8s we cut to the heart of the matter, avoid those silly team championships, and avoid the embarrassment of listening to the "national champion" 2V pair tell an interviewer how they just started rowing together last week. To make it a true championship event, all categories would need to be present and racing for a national championship.

That's the idea and, again, my apologies for any deviation from the original scheme. What do you think? Could this work? How would you improve it? Other ideas?

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