A Varsity Athletics Lottery

I recently found the following news item at the website of Carleton College:

The Carleton College men’s track and field team won seven events and set numerous personal records on Tuesday as the Knights battled cross-town rival St. Olaf College in the annual Rolex Classic at Manitou Field. In keeping with tradition and the congenial relationship between the two squads, the meet’s winner was determined by random selection of a single event after the completion of competition. Lady Luck was on the Oles’ side this year, as the 200-meter dash – an event narrowly won by the hosts – proved to be the decisive event.

I was never very into varsity sports, especially track and field. Does anyone know if this practice is common?

P.S. I haven’t had the chance to review activity on the list for a few weeks. Hope to get back into the swing of things by next week.

One Response

  1. Sounds pretty daft!

    I used to explain to my students that football (soccer in the US) with its very small scoring numbers was, in effect, a random (Poisson) process. So the result could just as easily be decided by the initial toss of a coin (to decide who plays which end).

    I was left in no doubt of the stupidity of my suggestion: the whole point was to win. The drama of the game, the suspense, the uncertainty, the arbitrary interventions of the referee were what made the game worthwhile.


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