Varsity – when is the final whistle?

I’m writing this blog to update everyone on the work that has been happening following the result of Varsity, which Portsmouth were recorded as winning, despite disputes by two of our clubs. I believe that despite many elements of the event’s organisation exceeding what was done in the past, Varsity is missing a process to deal with disputes, and we have had no success in working with Portsmouth to create one.

Following Southampton’s Athletics and Surf clubs contacting me shortly after the result of Varsity was announced to question their respective results, I set about investigating them to see if there was evidence to support these claims. I was determined to get to the bottom of the facts before deciding what course of action I would take, or before making any public statement about what was happening.

By the 20th March I had seen and gathered enough evidence to convince me that these two results should have been recorded as Southampton wins. As Southampton’s elected representative I made contact with Cat Redding (VP Sports at the University of Portsmouth Students’ Union), stating that we would like to challenge the result including all of the evidence that I had collected. Because of the absence of an agreed process I felt it was incredibly important to get Portsmouth’s point of view before speaking publicly about what was happening.  For this reason I didn’t make a public statement or speak to Southampton’s student media until my efforts to try and agree the process for resolving a dispute with Cat had borne no success.

Regardless of the result which is recorded on this occasion I believe that the crux of the disagreement comes down to something that has never been defined or agreed; At what point should the result of varsity become final? It sounds like a straightforward question, but what if an announced result is later found to depend upon a score which includes an administrative error? What if that error is acknowledged by both teams, or even recorded on video? Should it be amended?  If it should, then what is the timescale for this this to happen?

Regardless of their university, we all know that any individual team who disputes a result is likely to be branded a sore loser.  This is why we have been working to have an adult discussion with Portsmouth clarify the grey area created when teams agree on an inaccuracy for the benefit of everyone in the future. Should Portsmouth be in a situation where their scores are recoded wrong, and both teams agree the error and there is even video evidence, we would hate for them to be in the place where we are right now.

It is a great shame that we cannot reach agreement, and this has become the story of this year’s Varsity though, as what I take from the day was it being an absolutely amazing festival of sport that saw almost 700 of us travel to Portsmouth united as #teamsoton for the first time, and was the closest and most exciting the event has ever been. I firmly believe that this year’s Varsity was organised and run far better than in previous years and that Portsmouth have set the bar very high for when Varsity returns to Southampton next year.

We will build on the successes that Portsmouth have achieved this year, and learn from these lessons to, ensure we put measures in place to ensure that from next year forward Varsity is even better for everyone concerned.


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5 Comments on "Varsity – when is the final whistle?"

  1. Dean
    16/04/2013 at 9:50 pm Permalink

    “I firmly believe that this year’s Varsity was organised and run far better than in previous years” Are you having a laugh? What a joke.

    It was organised so well that it was out of term time forcing people and whole teams not to be able to compete at full strength or not at all. (and don’t try and wriggle out of this by saying whatever weekend some wouldn’t make it – out of term means many more can’t make it) Combined with that you didn’t publicise the date until incredible late on in the year when people had made plans even though Portsmouth had been advertising since well before Christmas.

    When Teddy organised varsity in 2011 there was a huge mess up with Revs not opening in the evening, but even with a ruined after party that year was still better organised than this year!

    This really goes to show how much the AU and ironically intramural sport has gone downhill since the role of AU Pres was diluted to a VP position where the AU is not the focus. [This comment has been edited to remove content that breaches the staff-student protocol]

  2. Dean
    16/04/2013 at 11:06 pm Permalink

    Possibly the best thing in the long run to happen to the Varsity event. The rivalry will now be even more fierce for next year.

    I hope the VP Sports next year can take this festival even further and address some of the issues in this article!
    Wessex Love

  3. Dean
    Just saying
    18/04/2013 at 11:31 pm Permalink

    Why remove my comment praising a couple of members of exceptional staff? Also how can I be in breach of student staff protocol, I’m no longer a student

  4. Dean
    21/04/2013 at 12:02 am Permalink

    Hey Andrew, I’ll field this one just quickly. We took out that last sentence because it indirectly referenced current staff… I appreciate that your comment was made with the intention of praising. In answer to your second question, I suppose you wouldn’t be in breach of the SSP, but the sabbs as moderators of these blogs, for allowing the content to be up there.

    There’s ongoing discussion about reviewing this policy to make it more relevant with online discussions and social media –


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