[CUCBC Captains] Bumps Substitution Eligibility Rules
conor at cucbc.org
Sun Jan 26 09:07:21 GMT 2020
The Senior Committee would like to provide a response to the email you will have just received from Poppy (Jesus’ Overall & Women’s Captain). We then have a form for you to fill in so we can decide what to do next.
It is tempting, when a situation such as the Water Polo Cuppers clash arises, to only see the argument from the point of view of the individual or individuals concerned. However, as the College Boat Club Captains, you need to remember that you are not voting for one single occurrence; instead, you are voting to change the rules that have applied to Bumps for decades, and to change the rules that will potentially apply to Bumps for decades to come. Such decisions should not be taken lightly.
Prior to Lents 2019, the CUCBC rules were very strict. Bumps crews were fixed from the first race to the last (as is the case in any British Rowing multi-round regatta, as well as multi-day regattas such as Henley Women’s and Henley Royal). Like BR races, HWR and HRR, the rules did allow for substitutions in exceptional circumstances (accident, injury or illness). However, as the senior governing body of a university society which is organising races for full time students during the full university term, we have a duty to ensure no student is forced to neglect their studies to take part, and thus substitutions for immovable and unmissable academic commitments are not up for debate, nor will they ever be (but they should be unmissable and immovable!).
After years or receiving and having to reject substitute requests under these rules, the CUCBC Exec and Senior committees found that this was particularly problematic for smaller boat clubs, who struggled to get an VIII together, as well as for lower boats rowers, who tend to be less committed and less willing to cancel all other commitments for Bumps. Thus, we proposed the rules as they stand now. A few guiding principles helped us to agree on them:
• First boats should continue to be held to the same high standards as they have always been, as they are the ultimate representations of the rowing talent at each college in a given year.
• Crews must be bound by the same rules as the crews around them.
• Most first boats are in the first and second divisions (some are not, but if we apply the same rules to all first boats, then we pretty much have to apply the same rules to all divisions, so a compromise is necessary)
Reaching a compromise was not easy, but the current situation, where the first and second divisions are treated the same, and the lower divisions gradually more leniently, was the best we could come up with whilst preserving the decades of precedent behind the pre-2019 rules.
Poppy suggests that opening up the substitution rules would not lead to an inundation of subs in the first and second divisions, but the Senior Committee have decades of experience of answering sub requests, and we strongly believe otherwise. Almost every year we receive one or two requests from a first division rower who wants to miss a single day of racing - in particular (and is the case with Water Polo Cuppers) the final day of racing. You’d be surprised how often an ex-Blue / Blondie / Goldie rower who can’t commit to the whole term is available to race on the Saturday. Given the fact that we were already receiving those requests under the old, strict rules, we genuinely don’t understand how we can expect not to receive many more requests if substitutes are allowed for more reasons in the first two divisions. The vast majority of the policing of Bumps rules relies on Captains being honest and honourable, and I do genuinely believe very few, if any, Captains would lie about an injury or illness to drop a particularly exceptional rower in for one day just to get a bump. However, if the rules open the door so that such requests do not require flat out lies, we’re not sure how far “wanting to keep the same crew everyday” will stretch. I know that, I, for one, would not want to see the crew that we narrowly held off the day before, turn up with a talented and well rested rower in the middle of the boat, just because one of their rowers has a family birthday party to go to.
At the Captains’ Meeting, we discussed voting for a rule change at the pre-Bumps meeting, but we now think doing so would be unwise, not least because it would make the final setting of crews and pre-approval of substitution requests almost impossible. We therefore would like you to choose between three options, and so could you all please fill in this one-question Google Form by 21:00 on Tuesday 28th Jan:
You will need to be signed in using your @cucbc.org email, as the form is set up to be restricted to one response each from those accounts only. However, the form itself will not capture any identifying information, so your response is anonymous. You may find the easiest way to use the correct sign in is to open the form in Private Browsing or Incognito mode.
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