Saturday’s live coverage of the NCAA Championships may have seen the worst announcing of all time. I do not believe I am engaging in hyperbole here. The list of errors and their egregiousness is unbelievable.
I’ll admit I’m going off memory here. I watched it live and didn’t record it, so I’ll have to wait for the ESPN3.com rebroadcast to be sure on all of these. But it was awful. The two errors that most require highlighting were so bad that my brother called me up and asked me if he had heard correctly what Dwight Stones and Larry Rawson had just said.
At the finish of the women’s 1500 meters, where Oregon needed major points to have a chance at the team title, Stones said that both Oregon runners scored. He didn’t see Becca Friday in last place for the last 100 meters or so, and even worse, he didn’t see Anne Kesselring stumble and fall on the homestretch. The Duck runners were, in fact, last and second to last.
That was bad. But the last was worse, far worse. Texas A&M led the team competition going into the 4×400 but dropped the baton and came up last. Noting the drop, Stones said that if Arkansas won the relay, they’d win the meet. Except that they wouldn’t, because they were 13½ points behind. But Florida would win the meet if they won the 4×400, which they did.
There are only two reasonable conclusions to draw: either Dwight Stones can’t add, or he can’t read. I suppose there might be a third conclusion, that he had no idea what was going on and didn’t take the effort to remedy that fact, but that doesn’t seem reasonable for someone employed by The Worldwide Leader In Sports.
There were a litany of other wrongdoings. Kansas clinched the women’s title after Oregon’s 1500 meter fiasco, but the announcing crew appeared completely unaware of that fact. They failed to understand the down-the-line implications in the men’s 5000 meters, as the door was left open by Texas A&M when Henry Lelei dropped off the pace and failed to score scored just one point, and Arkansas failed to take advantage of it due to a late fade by Kemoy Campbell. Rawson even said that Emma Coburn chose to go to Oregon for college and no one else corrected his error because they don’t listen to him if they can at all avoid it.
All of these things require a) doing their homework, which they obviously didn’t do, and b) Larry Rawson’s larynx having some function besides entertaining Larry Rawson, which hasn’t been the case for more than a decade.
It’s just shocking that people ESPN pays to announce a national championship simply didn’t know who won the meet.