June 8, 2007
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -
University of Louisville sophomore Tone Belt's attempt to sweep both the indoor and outdoor long jump national titles in the same season was denied Thursday night at the Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex with a runner-up finish in the finals of the men's long jump at the 2007 NCAA Outdoor Championships, though the final results of the event are pending an appeal to a protest by Cardinals' head coach Ron Mann.
Belt, who became the Cardinal track and field program's first ever NCAA champion in March at the indoor championships, finished the event with a leap of 25 feet, 2.5 inches into a gusty head wind on his first attempt of the night. Belt's leap equaled the jump of Cal State Northridge's Dashalle Andrews, but Andrews was awarded the championship title based on the tiebreaker, which compares the athlete's second best marks. Andrews' second best leap measured 25-00.00, while Belt was ruled to have fouled on each of his final five attempts.
Belt's sixth and final attempt is the jump in question for Mann, who, along with Belt, immediately protested the ruling of the event official and requested that a provisional measurement of the leap be taken. According to Rule 4, Article 6b of the 2007 NCAA Men's and Women's Cross Country and Track and Field Rule Book, "Any such protest may be immediate and oral by a competitor or competitor's coach in order to protect and preserve evidence, but must be submitted in writing by a coach to the protest table within the allotted time."
However, the long jump official denied the request by both Mann and Belt and the sand in the pit was immediately raked and leveled making it impossible to determine the distance on Belt's potential title-winning leap, as well as limiting the outcome of a potential protest of the foul call. Mann immediately made his way to the protest tent and at 8 p.m. PT, officially protested the actions of the official in denying the provisional measurement.
At approximately 10 p.m. PT, more than two hours after the completion of the long jump and an hour after the completion of the day's final event, the head meet referee agreed with Mann and determined that "the official should have followed procedures for an immediate verbal protest, and measured the jump. The jump was ruled foul - a judgement call - and therefore it remains a foul." And though the head meet referee agreed with Mann's protest, he also determined that it was not possible to challenge the foul call and that no action would be taken related to the referee's foul call.
"Tone is gamer, as we all know, and I think he could have won the national championship on his last attempt," Mann said following the meeting the officials. "He's won a lot of other meets on his last attempt. (The sixth attempt) appeared to be a very good jump and technically it was a great jump. I can't dispute whether it was or was not a foul because that was a judgement by the official. I will say that I feel that he was probably the best jumper in the competition today."
Following the decision, Mann immediately informed the referee that he intended to file an appeal to that decision citing Rule 4, Article 7, which states, "The decision of the referee may be appealed through the games committee or an appointed jury of appeal, in writing, not later than 30 minutes after the decision of the referee has been announced. Any available evidence at the discretion of this panel, may be considered. If such evidence is not conclusive, the decision of the referee shall be upheld."
"We will appeal the decision to the games committee, and they are the final decision makers," Mann said. "The rule actually reads that you can use any outside evidence to support your appeal. Then the question becomes what other pieces of evidence are out there. One of the pieces of evidence that we are prepared to present is video of the toe board during Tone's jump. Whether they will use that or not, we don't know."
With the entire event being contested in a strong head wind, the winning leap of 25-02.50 is the shortest winning leap in the NCAA men's long jump since 1966, when Rainer Stenius of Cal State Los Angeles won with a leap of 25-01.00.
Including the current results of the men's long jump and the two other completed events from Thursday, the No. 6 ranked Cardinal men are in seventh place overall in the team standings with eight points, while No. 15 Wisconsin leads the way with 12 points. Also competing on Thursday for the Cards was sophomore Andre Black, who finished 11th overall in the long jump with a leap of 23-06.00 on his third and final attempt after fouling on his first two leaps.
"Today was supposed to be a big day for us and we had the opportunity to score up to 18 points in the long jump," Mann said. "A lot of our points as a team could have come from that event. Andre had some trouble on the boards early and then tried to rectify it later, but it wasn't good enough. We were all shocked about that."
Black, from Mobile, Ala., will return to action and open Friday's events for the Cards at 1:45 p.m. PT with the prelims of the men's triple jump, while the final day of competition will begin Saturday at 10 a.m. PT with the finals of the men's triple jump.
Joining Black in competition on Friday will be Belt, who will look to bounce back from Thursday's difficult long jump results with a strong performance in the finals of the high jump at 3 p.m. PT, while senior Wesley Korir will close his U of L track and field career in the finals of the 5,000-meter run at 7:45 p.m. PT.
NCAA Outdoor Championships - Sacramento, Calif.
Day Two Results
MEN'S TEAM STANDINGS (Through 3 Events)
1 No. 15 Wisconsin 12 points
2 Cal-State Northridge 10 points
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 10 points
No. 21 Arizona 10 points
5 No. 4 Tennessee 9 points
No. 15 Kansas 9 points
7 No. 6 LOUISVILLE 8 points
No. 8 Oregon 8 points
No. 15 Liberty 8 points
U of L Men's Individual Results
Long Jump - Final (pending appeal)
2 Tone Belt 7.68m/25-02.50
11 Andre Black 7.16m/23-06.00