Collegiate 2013 Rule Changes - All Races Counting


There have been some questions regarding the rule change to include all races in conference season totals. Several conferences already use such a structure, but for those switching from a ‘dropped races’ schedule, the primary concern has been that this means USA Cycling is forcing you to go to all the races in the season. That’s not the idea. This isn’t an effort to blindly increase participation, and that can’t be emphasized enough.

The common concern is that collegiate cyclists are students first, and athletes second. And obviously we agree, but the onus needs to be on the student to make the appropriate choices regarding his or her schedule: prioritizing is a part of life. If you’d really rather skip studying and race your bike instead, that is a choice that you, as a young adult, need to make. And if you’d rather devote your weekend to schoolwork than cycling, that is also a choice, and an honorable one, to be sure. But the fact of the matter is that everyone has these choices, and as a result, everyone skips races now and then. Varsity teams have tight budgets, club teams have even tighter budgets, and everyone is a full-time student regardless of team structure. So it balances out, and we’ve seen this in conferences where all races count.

Below are the four primary reasons behind the rule change.

Fairness: For those individuals and teams that are already able to attend more races than their competition, it’s only fair that their efforts and investments are rewarded correlatively. This will mean that the teams that are centrally located or better funded than their competition might have the ability to score more points over the course of the season, as would the individuals with a lighter workload that are able to travel more frequently without falling behind on schoolwork, but it would be unfair to implement a scoring system designed to hold those particular teams and individuals back, as if out of spite for their geographic location and/or valuation of the sport. Few, if any, other sports only take a team’s top results when calculating standings. If a team or individual’s lowest scores were to be dropped, wouldn’t it be fair to drop their highest scores, too?

Minimal impact: As mentioned above, by the end of any season, very few teams and even fewer riders end up being able to attend every single weekend, and as a result, most individual and team omniums will not vary drastically from the days when results were dropped. Similarly, while dropped race results reduce the impact of a rider having an off weekend or performing poorly due to illness or mechanical issues, in general, every rider and each team typically has one such bad weekend or bad race every season, and it balances out equally for all at the end of the day.
Remote race attendance: Typically, races in the farthest corner of a conference see weak attendance because of the time and money required to travel to those races. If a team has one free weekend where points don’t count, the obvious choice for a race to skip would be the one farthest away. This damages both conference camaraderie and the sustainability of those teams in remote locations (less money, less motivation to travel, etc). The teams in remote conference corners are often the true troopers that make it out to almost every weekend despite the immense distances (Louisiana State, Michigan Tech, Humboldt State, Montana State as examples), and the dropped races rule prevented other teams from having a reason to return the favor at their events. Again, this isn’t to force riders to make long drives they can’t afford, but we want to at least remove an excuse if it is a feasible trip.

Clarity: Collegiate scoring is complicated enough as it is, and by removing a level of calculations, it’s easier for all involved to see who is truly ahead in the omnium earlier on. By dropping a team and/or rider’s lowest score(s) at the end of the season, it’s much more difficult to know ahead of time what the actual standings are.

This Article Updated February 20, 2013 @ 01:06 PM For more information contact: