On the wrong track

Ruling issues at the CAC Indoor Track Championship last weekend

~Michael Innacelli, CNUTV Managing Editor & Sports Editor~

Before we begin, let me, as the writer, address the elephant in the room: Last week there was not an issue on the stands.

If you don’t follow our social media pages, first of all go follow us on Facebook and Twitter, you might not know why that was the case, but I encourage you to read the information we put on our website and social media accounts last Thursday and Friday.

Our cover story for last week was on the CAC Track Indoor Championship and how CNU took home first place. The problem came around 8 p.m. on Tuesday night.

As a paper we send to our printer at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, so when 8 p.m. came around and the CAC ruled to take the championship title away from CNU and give it Salisbury the story I wrote was no longer accurate.

We decided in this situation to not put the print edition on the stands, but you can find the whole paper with a corrected cover story online at Issuu.com as well as on our website.

With all that out of the way, let’s talk about the ruling that took place.

The Men’s Indoor Track team won the CAC Indoor Track Championship at the actual meet. 

They beat Salisbury by a total of five points and took home the plaque, shirts and medals.

Their success only stood for a few days. On Tuesday, Feb. 19th around 8 p.m. the CAC made an official ruling to give the championship to Salisbury. The ruling came after a discrepancy in the 4×400 meter relay race as there was a bit of contact as a Frostburg and CNU runner came around the final turn.

Ultimately the referees decided at the meet that the contact was incidental and CNU should be the champions. 

However, after some debating the CAC coaches requested that the decision be brought to an NCAA Jury of Appeals.

The NCAA jury consisted of several CAC coaches who decided to overturn the ruling, disqualifying CNU from the 4×400 meter  relay race.

This meant that CNU would lose six points and lose the championship to Salisbury, but which ruling should be followed, the referee or the NCAA jury, that’s where the disagreement came in as the rule book states both rulings are final.

According to Head Coach Tyler Wingard, the decision is one that had to go all the way to the Rule Secretary of the NCAA. 

His decision was to go with the NCAA jury and give Salisbury the title.

The main issue is that both the rules cited: NCAA rule three section four article 3, which favors the Jury of Appeals’ decision, and rule four section one article 13 which favors the referee’s decision, are written to make it seem like they contradict each other on who has the final ruling. 

That is why the Rule Secretary had to be called in for the decision as the two party’s involved could not agree on which ruleset to follow.

Wingard stated, “I obviously disagree with the rule secretary’s interpretation on that, I think it opens up a really big can of worms, but again he is the secretary of the rules so he makes the final decision and we have a new way to think about the appeals process.”

Wingard went on to explain that while he feels the decision is not ideal, he respects the choices made and believes the CAC rightfully handed Salisbury the title after the ruling came through.

This came as a shock to the sports community as it is very rare for a decision like this to be made four days after the meet took place.

Many of the staff employees within the athletics department at CNU had thought the CAC title for indoor track was well in the past and that CNU had won once again.

The Men’s Indoor Track team is now focused on qualifying runners for the NCAA meet and the outdoor track season. 

They will be up against the same Salisbury team that won the CAC in the indoor season as the Captains look to take home the prize this time around.

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