Sunday, May 10, 2009

Correct times, please!

What's going on all of a sudden with people reporting marks in round seconds? This isn't cross country here. One major conference reported its 800m relay times as such (1:30, 1;31, etc). More and more I'm seeing distance times reported to the papers that way: 2:00, 4:16.

I'm not the only one getting frustrated. Marvin Goodwin of the Oakland Press, arguably the best track reporter in the state, says, "I've noticed at many of the dual track meets I've covered that timers, officials and even coaches appear to be lackadaisical about the 10ths of a second when recording or reporting times. It's worse this year than any I've seen..."

Of course, a stat geek like me will get frustrated. But consider the unfairness of the situation, and a lot more people should be upset. Usually, something reported as 1:29 will actually be 1:29-point-something... even maybe 1:29.9. And that team just jumped ahead on regional seedings, and perhaps qualified additional people to the regional meets unfairly. Whether the intention is bad or not, when the rules aren't followed, it often creates an unfair advantage.

Remember: the rules are FAT times get reported to the hundredth. Hand times get rounded up to the next tenth, in all cases. [Coaches, the Nate Hampton/MHSAA 2009 rule is that everything gets reported to the hundredth for regional qualifying purposes, even hand times. Of course, that is an insane directive, one that hopefully will be gone by next year. Please do not pass those numbers on to the newspapers, and on your official results sheets, please be kind enough to indicate if the meet was hand timed or automatically timed.]

No comments: