Poll: A Penn Relays Poll - Please read about the poll in the 1st reply below - then vote.

Option Votes Score
No further change is needed. The COA results are acceptable now and continuing forward. 1 50%
I'm not sure. But the numbers show that Relays officials probably should study the issue further. 1 50%
Make a change. Add an International Championship Final (ICF) - as described in the reply below. 0%
2 Votes

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A Penn Relays Poll - Please read about the poll in the 1st reply below - then vote.
03/08/2014 8:54:53 PM
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[b]What's the Point of the Poll?[/b] To have Penn Relays coaches, fans, and sprinters who are connected with northeastern U.S.* HS 4x1 and 4x4 relays, say whether Relays officials should do anything about the out of balance results in the battle for Championship of America slots and wins. *(Maine to North Carolina - the area the Penn Relays has a long history of getting the vast majority of its HS runners.) [b]What is Out of Balance?[/b] In the past three decades - the time when increased Caribbean/Jamaican HS track participation has transformed the Championship of America (COA) competition: -- Just 4 of 29 Boys COA 4x400 winners were northeastern U.S. teams. -- Just 5 of 29 Girls COA 4x400 winners were northeastern U.S. teams. -- Just 4 of 29 Boys COA 4x100 winners were northeastern U.S. teams (if you include Glenville of Ohio). -- Just 0 of 29 Girls COA 4x100 winners were northeastern U.S. teams. (Zero.) That's just 13 of 116 for northeastern U.S. teams. [b]Why is This Happening?[/b] Two major areas separate northeastern U.S. HS track from Caribbean region track in the lead-up to Penn Relays weekend: 1) [b]Weather:[/b] Caribbean sprinters train and compete outdoors from December through March, in temperatures averaging from 77 to 79 degrees. In that time, these sprinters run and perfect: 100m races - drive phase past full acceleration - on a full straightaway, 4x100s - with blind baton exchanges, and 4x400s on full-size tracks. Northeastern U.S. HS sprinters: train and run indoors in hallways, more rarely on parking lots or tracks, and run 60s - only into acceleration phase - on shortened straightaways, 4x200s - with no blind baton exchanges, and 4x400s on tighter 200m tracks. 2) [b]Earlier Outdoor Tracks Seasons:[/b] Outdoor track seasons begin and finish far sooner in the calendar for Jamaican and Caribbean teams. [b]Jamaican National Championships[/b] finish in late March; the [b]Caribbean Championships[/b] finish in early April. Northeastern U.S. track seasons peak with state championships held in late May or early June. The differences between the two regions builds into the Penn Relays COA competition a permanent advantage/disadvantage situation. [b]Are Other Factors at Work?[/b] [b]Recruiting:[/b] Jamaican high school track is plagued by a decades-old practice of recruiting sprinters to build "super teams". The [b]Jamaican Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites[/b], called the recruiting system "the commodification of school children", which includes the use of inducements to some parents of athletes to have them enroll at the recruiting school. The practice extends across Jamaican high school sports, and familiar names from the Penn Relays COA winners roll are openly mentioned in newspaper reports about the practice. [b]Is This Just a Cycle That Will Fix Itself?[/b] -- Recruiting is being addressed at the government level by the [b]Jamaican Ministry of Education[/b], with reforms soon expected to be handed down after approval by the Jamaican Parliament. -- Weather for northeastern U.S. HS track won't change. -- The outdoor season for northeastern U.S. HS track can't change. -- Caribbean region participation at the Relays has increased exponentially. -- In 1964, just one Caribbean team (Jamaica) ran at the Relays. -- In 2013, 26 Jamaican teams and 47 Caribbean teams in total ran at the Relays. -- University of Pennsylvania and Penn Relays officials are encouraging further Caribbean region participation: -- In 2012, in a Penn Relays ceremony inside Franklin Field to honor the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence, [b]Penn President Amy Gutman[/b], and [b]Penn Relays Director Dave Johnson[/b], pledged to [b]Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller[/b] that the Jamaican flag will fly over Franklin Field "for as long as the Relays are run." Johnson stated that, "Jamaica’s participation in the games has greatly influenced the yearly attendance [as] evidenced by the great turnout and vast number of black, green and gold colours in the stands on a yearly basis." -- On January 30, 2013, Penn Relays representatives met with the [b]Caribbean Consular Corps (CARICOM)[/b] at the [b]Jamaican Consulate[/b] "with hopes of strengthening the bond that already exists between the two groups." Representatives from [b]Antigua-Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica,[/b] and [b]St. Lucia[/b] were at the meeting. Relays Director, Dave Johnson, said this about the meeting: "I'm hopeful this meeting ... forges new relationships with schools which want to come this year and in the future." -- In 2013, just 6 of 24 COA berths in the boys and girls 4x100 and 4x400 went to northeastern U.S. teams (if you include Lincoln-Way East of Illinois). -- With increasing numbers of advantaged Caribbean region teams at the Relays, past and current results indicate that COA berths will become increasingly more rare for northeastern U.S. HS teams. [b]Has the Penn Relays Leadership Done Anything to Correct What's Out of Balance?[/b] -- In 1988, under then-Director Tim Baker, the Penn Relays welcomed the first California sprint team, [b]Hawthorne[/b], in what was a hoped for challenge to the emerging Jamaican dominance; other similarly advantaged California teams - [b]John Muir, Long Beach Poly, Junipero Serra, Rancho Verde[/b] and [b]Taft[/b] - have followed. -- In 1991, after Jamaican girls had swept all of the COA relay events for the five years since 1986, the Penn Relays awards committee decided to give out championship watches to the top American finishers in each of the HS relays. Neither of these moves has changed the out of balance results for northeastern U.S. HS teams. Northeastern U.S. HS girls are [b]winless in the 4x100 since 1981. That's 0 - 32.[/b] [b]So What Happens From Here?[/b] In 2014, northeastern U.S. high schools - the bedrock schools on which 119 years of Penn Relays competition has been built - are positioned to play as marginal a role in the Penn Relays' prime moments as they ever have. Penn Relays officials are clearly aware of this trend - as seen in the two changes they made beginning 26 years ago. At this time, Relays officials have announced no plan to address the COA imbalance. The numbers clearly show an issue exists. But exactly what they mean may depend on who's interpreting them, and what - if anything, should be done still needs to be decided. This poll is an opportunity for you to help decide what happens next. [b]Please Vote On This Poll Question:[/b] [b]On behalf of northeastern HS Penn Relays sprint coaches, sprinters and sprint fans, how should Penn Relays officials respond to the current state of Championship of America races as described above?[/b] 1) Please select one poll answer. 2) Then add a reply stating that you are: - a northeastern U.S. HS coach of a 4x1 or 4x4 relay; or - a Penn Relays attendee and fan of any northeastern U.S. HS 4x1 or 4x4 relay; or - a past or current member of any northeastern U.S. HS Penn Relays 4x1 or 4x4 relay team Only votes from these groups can be counted in order to meet the poll objective. 3) Add any comments or questions you have in your reply. [b]Poll Answer Three is fully described here:[/b] The ICF/COA split works just like AAA/AA enrollment classifications (or similar) - promoting competitive equity within each group. With an International Championship Final (ICF), prelims stay the same - ALL teams at the Relays run together. Though up to 8 top international teams can qualify for the ICF - a northeastern U.S. team that qualifies in the top 8 can choose either the ICF or the COA. The COA final will now pit evenly matched northeastern U.S. high schools in a spotlight, showcase race. Permanent disadvantages rooted in weather and track season differences are now absent from the COA races. No team - international or U.S., loses the opportunity to compete against the other group, or for a Relays championship. Also, the option exists to expand the ICF pool far beyond the Caribbean region.
What's the Point of the Poll?

To have Penn Relays coaches, fans, and sprinters who are connected with northeastern U.S.* HS 4x1 and 4x4 relays, say whether Relays officials should do anything about the out of balance results in the battle for Championship of America slots and wins.

*(Maine to North Carolina - the area the Penn Relays has a long history of getting the vast majority of its HS runners.)

What is Out of Balance?

In the past three decades - the time when increased Caribbean/Jamaican HS track participation has transformed the Championship of America (COA) competition:

-- Just 4 of 29 Boys COA 4x400 winners were northeastern U.S. teams.

-- Just 5 of 29 Girls COA 4x400 winners were northeastern U.S. teams.

-- Just 4 of 29 Boys COA 4x100 winners were northeastern U.S. teams (if you include Glenville of Ohio).

-- Just 0 of 29 Girls COA 4x100 winners were northeastern U.S. teams. (Zero.)

That's just 13 of 116 for northeastern U.S. teams.

Why is This Happening?

Two major areas separate northeastern U.S. HS track from Caribbean region track in the lead-up to Penn Relays weekend:

1) Weather: Caribbean sprinters train and compete outdoors from December through March, in temperatures averaging from 77 to 79 degrees. In that time, these sprinters run and perfect: 100m races - drive phase past full acceleration - on a full straightaway, 4x100s - with blind baton exchanges, and 4x400s on full-size tracks. Northeastern U.S. HS sprinters: train and run indoors in hallways, more rarely on parking lots or tracks, and run 60s - only into acceleration phase - on shortened straightaways, 4x200s - with no blind baton exchanges, and 4x400s on tighter 200m tracks.

2) Earlier Outdoor Tracks Seasons: Outdoor track seasons begin and finish far sooner in the calendar for Jamaican and Caribbean teams. Jamaican National Championships finish in late March; the Caribbean Championships finish in early April. Northeastern U.S. track seasons peak with state championships held in late May or early June.

The differences between the two regions builds into the Penn Relays COA competition a permanent advantage/disadvantage situation.

Are Other Factors at Work?

Recruiting: Jamaican high school track is plagued by a decades-old practice of recruiting sprinters to build "super teams". The Jamaican Education Minister, Ronald Thwaites, called the recruiting system "the commodification of school children", which includes the use of inducements to some parents of athletes to have them enroll at the recruiting school. The practice extends across Jamaican high school sports, and familiar names from the Penn Relays COA winners roll are openly mentioned in newspaper reports about the practice.

Is This Just a Cycle That Will Fix Itself?

-- Recruiting is being addressed at the government level by the Jamaican Ministry of Education, with reforms soon expected to be handed down after approval by the Jamaican Parliament.

-- Weather for northeastern U.S. HS track won't change.

-- The outdoor season for northeastern U.S. HS track can't change.

-- Caribbean region participation at the Relays has increased exponentially.

-- In 1964, just one Caribbean team (Jamaica) ran at the Relays.

-- In 2013, 26 Jamaican teams and 47 Caribbean teams in total ran at the Relays.

-- University of Pennsylvania and Penn Relays officials are encouraging further Caribbean region participation:

-- In 2012, in a Penn Relays ceremony inside Franklin Field to honor the 50th anniversary of Jamaica's independence, Penn President Amy Gutman, and Penn Relays Director Dave Johnson, pledged to Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller that the Jamaican flag will fly over Franklin Field "for as long as the Relays are run." Johnson stated that, "Jamaica's participation in the games has greatly influenced the yearly attendance evidenced by the great turnout and vast number of black, green and gold colours in the stands on a yearly basis."

-- On January 30, 2013, Penn Relays representatives met with the Caribbean Consular Corps (CARICOM) at the Jamaican Consulate "with hopes of strengthening the bond that already exists between the two groups." Representatives from Antigua-Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Haiti, Jamaica, and St. Lucia were at the meeting. Relays Director, Dave Johnson, said this about the meeting: "I'm hopeful this meeting ... forges new relationships with schools which want to come this year and in the future."

-- In 2013, just 6 of 24 COA berths in the boys and girls 4x100 and 4x400 went to northeastern U.S. teams (if you include Lincoln-Way East of Illinois).

-- With increasing numbers of advantaged Caribbean region teams at the Relays, past and current results indicate that COA berths will become increasingly more rare for northeastern U.S. HS teams.

Has the Penn Relays Leadership Done Anything to Correct What's Out of Balance?

-- In 1988, under then-Director Tim Baker, the Penn Relays welcomed the first California sprint team, Hawthorne, in what was a hoped for challenge to the emerging Jamaican dominance; other similarly advantaged California teams - John Muir, Long Beach Poly, Junipero Serra, Rancho Verde and Taft - have followed.

-- In 1991, after Jamaican girls had swept all of the COA relay events for the five years since 1986, the Penn Relays awards committee decided to give out championship watches to the top American finishers in each of the HS relays.

Neither of these moves has changed the out of balance results for northeastern U.S. HS teams. Northeastern U.S. HS girls are winless in the 4x100 since 1981. That's 0 - 32.

So What Happens From Here?

In 2014, northeastern U.S. high schools - the bedrock schools on which 119 years of Penn Relays competition has been built - are positioned to play as marginal a role in the Penn Relays' prime moments as they ever have. Penn Relays officials are clearly aware of this trend - as seen in the two changes they made beginning 26 years ago. At this time, Relays officials have announced no plan to address the COA imbalance.

The numbers clearly show an issue exists. But exactly what they mean may depend on who's interpreting them, and what - if anything, should be done still needs to be decided. This poll is an opportunity for you to help decide what happens next.

Please Vote On This Poll Question:

On behalf of northeastern HS Penn Relays sprint coaches, sprinters and sprint fans, how should Penn Relays officials respond to the current state of Championship of America races as described above?

1) Please select one poll answer.

2) Then add a reply stating that you are:

* a northeastern U.S. HS coach of a 4x1 or 4x4 relay; or

* a Penn Relays attendee and fan of any northeastern U.S. HS 4x1 or 4x4 relay; or

* a past or current member of any northeastern U.S. HS Penn Relays 4x1 or 4x4 relay team


Only votes from these groups can be counted in order to meet the poll objective.

3) Add any comments or questions you have in your reply.

Poll Answer Three is fully described here:

The ICF/COA split works just like AAA/AA enrollment classifications (or similar) - promoting competitive equity within each group. With an International Championship Final (ICF), prelims stay the same - ALL teams at the Relays run together. Though up to 8 top international teams can qualify for the ICF - a northeastern U.S. team that qualifies in the top 8 can choose either the ICF or the COA. The COA final will now pit evenly matched northeastern U.S. high schools in a spotlight, showcase race. Permanent disadvantages rooted in weather and track season differences are now absent from the COA races. No team - international or U.S., loses the opportunity to compete against the other group, or for a Relays championship. Also, the option exists to expand the ICF pool far beyond the Caribbean region.
04/23/2014 7:58:56 PM
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Penn Relays week is here! This is the last week for voting - while the Relays' experience is still fresh in your mind. Please vote, if you haven't already.
Penn Relays week is here!

This is the last week for voting - while the Relays' experience is still fresh in your mind.

Please vote, if you haven't already.

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