Study: Big Ten track winners go faster than losers

Jim Schortemeyer

The Big Ten Conference is reeling from the news released two weeks ago that winners of all the men’s races at the recent track and field championships ran faster than the other runners.
“Shocked, I am just shocked at these accusations,” Minnesota head coach Phil Lundin said. “It’s a disgrace to the sport that athletes would actually run faster than the other to win a race.”
Rumors that faster runners tend to win races have bubbled in the tight-knit track community for years, but have gone unsubstantiated until someone actually thought to look at the times of the runners. Investigators are currently checking all Olympic results for similar time phenomenons.
“I’m not giving my medals back,” Olympian Carl Lewis said. “I don’t even know where half of them are.”
Big Ten and NCAA officials say no action will be taken until all the facts are known.
In a related story, officials from the Big Ten field events are investigating charges that the winners of the pole vault actually went higher than other competitors.
In the vault, the winner cleared 17 feet, 5 inches, while Minnesota’s Tye Harvey cleared 17-3 and finished second.
“It’s just sick that it’s come to this,” Harvey said. “It’s like Robert Plant once said: Those other guys were just ‘High, so high, most high.'”
It appears the recent allegations of faster running have not just stuck to the men. According to the Daily’s research, the same phenomenon occurred with women’s events.
Women’s track and field head coach Gary Wilson could not be reached for comment. Wilson is in his home state of New York for the weekend.
The fallout from the controversy has extended to the Gophers swimming teams, which also has a bare minimum of one timed event per meet.
“Generally, we’ve found that it helps to determine a winner if you time the race,” women’s head coach Jean Freeman said. “But that doesn’t mean I condone doing it.”
Runner Fred Rodgers — Minnesota’s 1998 Big Ten 100-meter dash champion — was not surprised by the recent scandal.
“You know, once you get on top, everybody comes shooting for you,” said Rodgers, who also plays football for Minnesota.
Other Minnesota athletes — those who finished second or third — stand to move up if the results from this season’s championships are overturned.
Reaction from the athletic department has been slow in coming. At first, men’s athletic director Mark Dienhart directed all calls to a mysterious assistant named “Floyd,” who later proved to be a fictitious character. Dienhart eventually succumbed to questioning.
“It’s not the allegations that bother me so much as it is the lack of focus,” Dienhart said. “Why are people focusing on something like this, and not the good in sports? We need more stories about crazy driving and Clem’s (Haskins) farm animals.”
It is unclear what will happen with these times, but insiders whisper that a round of layoffs at the United States Track and Field Association are sure to follow.
“This whole situation has me disgusted,” Dienhart said.

— A vivid imagination was used to complete this report