Varsity 2013: The One With All The Problems

It’s nearly a month since the biggest day on the AU calendar, and the official result of Varsity is still being disputed. There seems to have been one problem after another […]

It’s nearly a month since the biggest day on the AU calendar, and the official result of Varsity is still being disputed. There seems to have been one problem after another after another after another. So exactly how hard is it to organise?

Obviously, the first problem was the date, but I’m sure that’s been documented well enough, be it being out of term time or the fact that the first Southampton announcement of the date was two months later than in Portsmouth. Since then though, clubs appeared to struggle when trying to find out both when they were playing and how many teams were required.

Women’s Football ended up being represented by our Ladies Hockey and friends, even though the Women’s Football club had said repeatedly that they would struggle for a team and felt that holding the match under their name was disrespectful. Baseball were not told until the Sunday morning that they were playing at all, never mind a different sport (Softball), with Pompey claiming that they’d had word from Dean that both were okay to play the match.

The day started well, with the first bus to turn up breaking down (admittedly this was not either student union’s fault) and seemed to run well most of the day. The Tab had the (mis)fortune of not being allowed in the Media Room where UPSU’s answer to Ant and Dec were ‘presenting’, and had to set up camp in the Bar where Portsmouth showed they definitely don’t turn down a drink, and hopefully our Sabbs picked up a few ideas of how to create the same buzz in SUSU.

It was neck and neck all day, which was pretty good for a #TeamSoton that were technically on holiday, until it was 136-132 to the cheaters rivals down the coast. Never had so many people cared so much about Roller Hockey, with everyone searching Facebook for someone with news of the score, and our National Champs smashed it, leading to what was thought to be a draw… if only things were so simple.

Firstly VP Sports for UPSU, Cat Redding, was apparently heard to say

I don’t want it to be a draw, if it is we should win, we deserve it.

Then came reports of the Athletics score being incorrect and Mountain Biking not yet included. Later on that evening, Portsmouth announced their ‘win’ but with Southampton students still disputing results and the new information asking if the Surfing win was included, was Dean right to agree to the result so fast? In hindsight, certainly not.

Once it was established that Surfing had not been included and Athletics was wrong, we knew we were the true winners. Cat said that we shouldn’t include Surfing as it was not brought up before the day, yet Mountain Biking took 5 months to come up and it seems as if there is no constitution (yet), therefore there are no rules saying it cannot now be included. Yes, there have always been controversies, but in years gone by, Pompey have literally been given points as we were so far ahead and the details didn’t matter.

So now we come to the Varsity Constitution; the document UPSU want to hide behind and SUSU students are now calling for. Sitting on AU Committee, I was one of the few to read Cat’s ‘Constitution’ (long awaited to be fair) and in one word, it was crap. There were more holes in it than a block of Swiss cheese, and it looked liked it had been written up by someone going into Primary School, not a future Student Union President.

Therefore, we spent over an hour at AUC correcting/changing it to just make sense of it before evaluating it. At the end of the meeting, there was a consensus that it was probably never going to be ratified in time for this year. If it had, and we had drawn, we would have retained the cup, a rule Cat actually managed to create herself but didn’t want to agree with this year when the scores looked like being 136-136.

Some people want to review this, but I’d say we haven’t got time for all that. This year has been a bit of a disaster from start to finish and is probably best forgotten, so we can move on and learn from the mistakes. By next year, we should have the constitution, meaning that Varsity has to take place within our term time. We know we won, Portsmouth think they’ve won and all we have got to worry about next year is removing this year’s engraving. Hopefully the Varsity at Winchester and Alumni Day run with much less fuss.

Are you involved with the AU? Did you think this year’s Varsity was well run? Let us know in the comments!