FROM THE EDITOR — An NCAA Anniversary That Wasn’t

IT SEEMS TO HAVE GONE LARGELY OVERLOOKED, but this year’s NCAA Championships marked 100 years of the meet’s existence, the first edition having been staged on June 18, 1921, at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field.

With no meet being staged in 1924 (so as not to conflict in any way with athletes training for the Olympic Trials), that dictated that No. 100 would fall this year.

But then 2020 happened. No meet, and the highly anticipated staging of the centennial in conjunction with the opening year of Oregon’s sparkling new track & field palace didn’t happen. Instead, this year was No. 99. Hayward Field will have to wait until next year for the 100th.

This year marked Oregon’s record 17th hosting of the meet. Next in line are Chicago (13), Cal & Texas (8), Minnesota (5) and BYU, Drake, LSU & Sac State (4).

Oregon has already been chosen as the host for ’24 through ’27, which will take its record total to 22. The ’23 version belongs to Texas, which will run the Longhorn total to 9.

COVID considerations held Hayward attendance to only about a third full. But a fun time was had by all.

Additionally, reporters and photographers were kept on a very short leash (as in, no in-person interviews with athletes, virtually no photographers on the infield). Fortunately, T&FN was able to muddle through, utilizing a lot of remote coverage.

If you didn’t somehow avail yourself of all the various streams of the meet that ESPN provided you lost a chance for some great entertainment. But then, that’s what we’re here for! And we somehow managed to get this whole issue cranked out in just the few days between the NCAA and the OT. We hope you enjoy it.


Random Thoughts While Watching This Year’s NCAA From Afar:

AOY JuVaughn Harrison suffers from a massive case of the hops, but should he continue to be a unique HJ/LJ doubler at the pro level, or should he choose one of the two? Which one should it be? I’m no coach, but my eyes tell me he has more potential in the vertical…

Speaking of choosing events for people, how about Athing Mu, who had a difficult event choice this year: 400 or 800? She opted for the shorter race at the NCAA but will do the 2-lapper at the OT. I have this nagging feeling she’s still too raw to tackle the intricacies of international 800 running and should have stuck with the 400 all the way. But either way, watching those impossibly long legs of hers gobble up track, she remains a joy to watch…

Long strides, part II: After Terrance Laird won the 100 I didn’t see how he, as the yearly world leader, could lose the 200. Joe Fahnbulleh’s amazingly big steps, that’’s how…

Hayward now has a dedicated hammer circle, but apparently it will only be used for the World Championships next year. Strikes me that even though Oregon has a delightful dedicated hammer setup outside the stadium, the schedules should be tweaked enough that both NCAA and Olympic Trials should be allowing the ball-and-chain crew inside…

In watching Robert Dunning’s dominating win in the 110H it came to me how much more exciting it could have been if Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts (1-2 in ’19) hadn’t turned pro early…

Not to beat a dead horse, but some of my enjoyment of the longer races was diminished by the knowledge that high-tech shoes were responsible for rewriting so many all-time lists…

I first expressed myself in favor splitting of the meets into separate men’s and women’s sections in my column of June ’11, but it took until ’15 until that actually happened. I remain a big fan, simply because the team battle is such an integral part of collegiate competition. Not trying to follow two team battles at once is a big yes for me…

Continuing to be a big downer for me is the lack of consistency in team uniforms. The NCAA should mandate the same uniform for everybody on the team for the entire meet. And the uniform should predominantly be in the school color(s). Enough of “alternate jerseys” in black. Anything less than logical consistency does a huge disservice to the fans (and the commentators trying to call the races)…

Oregon doesn’t like to see the former stock phrase “Historic” Hayward Field used. “New” Hayward Field is also frowned upon. It’s officially “Hayward Field at the University of Oregon,” but plain Hayward Field is acceptable. For me, however, “Historic Hayward Field” doesn’t refer to the new structures. It’s an overall concept of the track & field glory that exists in the acreage behind the corner of 15th & Agate.

If what’s there now isn’t historic, even with Bill Bowerman’s statue moved from the 100 start to the 200 start — I don’t know what is. ◻︎

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