[CUCBC Captains] Coxes Presentations Slides

Michael Thornton michael at cucbc.org
Mon Feb 23 12:54:07 GMT 2015

Dear Captains,

Please remember today's meeting (17:00-17:30). Please also see the
following message below.

Best regards,

     Wilf. Genest

     CUCBC Hon. Sec.

It has come to our attention that you have been emailed about an
eligibility decision concerning St Edmund's W1.

In the interests of transparency please find below the reasons and
timescale behind the decision making process. These have been
expressly detailed to St Edmund's in their correspondence with us.

The situation concerns a person associated with St Edmund's that they
would like to compete in their W1 in bumps. This was first brought to
our attention by their captain in an email on 19th January where they
requested permission for a Fellow to row in their W1, a request that,
if confirmed, would be permitted as this is their only womens'  crew
in bumps. However it was later clarified, and has subsequently been
reconfirmed on more that one occasion by St. Edmund's College
authorities, that this person is not a Fellow and therefore further
clarification was requested, in particular as to whether they are a
paid employee of the college (which is the only other accepted
category of 'exceptional' rower for non-students). An email received
from their Senior Treasurer on 26th January provided all the necessary
information to confirm that the person concerned was not of the status
(Fellow or bona fide College employee) that is required to accept an
'exceptional rower' request, and we therefore made and promulgated the
decision that the request was rejected, along with the reasons, on
that same day. We also advised at that point, and have subsequently
repeated this advice, that St Edmund's should search amongst other
College boat clubs for excess rowers, who would be eligible to compete
in their W1 as this is their only boat.

Therefore we refute in the strongest terms the allegation that the
request was not addressed or responded to in a timely basis. St
Edmund's BC have subsequently repeatedly appealed this decision,
including escalating this with an email from their Master, but our
assessment and response has remained the same. There can be no claim
that the decision was made very late, rather St Edmund's seem to be
simply refusing to accept the decision made, and carrying on
regardless assuming that a new decision will somehow be made in their
favour however close it is to the races starting.

The reasons for this decision are as follows:

  1.  Existing rules are clear on the eligibility of Fellows and bona
fide College employees, and the person concerned, as admitted by St
Edmund's College authorities, is neither a Fellow nor an employee of
St Edmund's.
  2.  Opening up the eligibility criteria to allow for non-specific
people associated with colleges would allow a very large number of
people loosely associated with a college to compete without
restriction in bumps. Indeed, in recent years several directly
parallel requests for people who are partners/spouses of bona fide
students or Fellows, or people who are genuine 'supporters' of the
College but with no formal employed position, have been rejected. To
allow the current request would clearly be unfair to the Colleges
affected by those decisions, and in contradiction of those decisions.
  3.  Bumps is primarily a STUDENT competition. The rules as have been
laid out over many years represent the wishes of the members of CUCBC
(i.e. including you, the captains) in ensuring that it remains so.
  4.  Many such requests have been rejected in the past on the same
basis. Changing the rules on the basis of a single entrant would
invalidate the justification behind the precedent that has been
established and applied for many years.
  5.  The separate precedent that St Edmund's Master presented to us -
that of a Master's wife being allowed to compete in a lower boat - was
a case that was specifically permitted at the time with approval of
the then captains on the grounds that it would not provide future and
wider eligibility for other partners. This was also approximately 20
years ago.
  6.  St Edmund's were offered every chance and assistance to find
another rower from the pool of people without a boat from other
colleges. We can cite many other cases of crews finding eligible
people without a crew at their own college who would wish to join a
club with a guaranteed bumps place. Failure to find someone represents
a failure on their part to accommodate or accept a compromise which
has been offered to them. There is a large pool of competent and keen
rowers from GoR crews who would be willing to take up this seat in
their crew.
  7.  Arguments proposed on the basis of the age and (lack of)
experience of the person concerned are not relevant; the simple
decision that had to be made is whether the person concerned is
eligible under the rules, and this is clearly not the case.
  8.  Likewise, it has to remain the responsibility of each club to
ensure that they either train up sufficient rowers from their own
college, or find association with others available from other colleges
within the rules, to be able to field valid entries to the
competitions they wish to be involved in. While we sympathise with the
challenge this can be for small clubs, eligibility rules are common to
all competitions, and have to be applied equally (without fear or
favour) to all clubs entering.
  9.  We note that, should captains wish to propose a rule change that
would allow approval of a request such as that of St Edmund's in
future, then such a rule would therefore have to allow eligibility for
'anyone with a partner who is a student or a Fellow at, or with other
strong but informal (including social) relationship with, the College
applying'. Clearly, as well as being very hard to enforce (for
instance, it would appear to give eligibility to all College
supervisors!), this would be a significant change from the current
rules and precedents and, as such, would require scrutiny by the
Senior Committee. It is not possible to bring in such a rule at this
notice for this Lents as (a) no motion has been proposed to do so
within the time limits specified in the Constitution, and (b) to do so
would breach the general principle we have to operate under that
decisions must apply equally to all College clubs (as clearly other
clubs have had no access to such potential members).

The purpose of our decision is not to penalise one small club, it is
based on clear precedents that have been applied to all your clubs in
the past. When we do make a decision such as this, which may result in
a club having difficulty in fielding a full crew, we offer advice and
assistance in finding an alternative solution that is within the
rules. This process is needed to protect the fairness and fun of the
competition for every generation of students that comes through the


CUCBC Committee
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