Monday, May 26, 2008

The year of the 100? Gak!

One innocent poster on MLive heralded all the fast 100 times this weekend as a cause of celebration. I am officially in mourning. Not that I don’t love false times–the fact that I have this website disproves that. Rather, I am sad that a few of those kids might actually have produced fast 100 times, and we’ll never know which. First, consider the difference between auto timing (FAT) and hand timing. Then consider that the MHSAA has ridiculously asked that the rules be broken and hand times reported to the hundredth of a second. That means that a 49.31 gets a better seeding at the state finals than a 49.39, even though statistically they are both 49.4s. And without pointing fingers, one thing becomes very obvious: the regionals with the sloppiest hand timers will get more auto qualifiers than the ones with quality, trained hand timers. Make no mistake, in the MHSAA system, cheating and fudging on times WILL be rewarded.

Throw into this mix yesterday’s strong winds, and we have a batch of 100 meter times and long jump measurements that are ridiculously out-of-whack. And “innocent-until-proven-guilty” does not apply here. Just because there was no wind gauge present doesn’t mean those times aren’t bogus. [In the Grand Rapids area, average winds were 13.6mph--three times the legal limit for track--and the winds gusted to 29mph.]

Coming next year: will the MHSAA allow downhill times? I know a lot of coaches who would vote yes… :)

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