Are Virtual Competitions the Future of College Sports?

Technological advancements have now made it so swimmers can compete virtually, saving money associated with traveling to meets. Although not all sports competitions could be conducted virtually, it could actually be the future for some. Schools offering Education - Sports Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.


Virtual Swim Meets

The swimming community has already started to embrace virtual competitions. In 2009 and 2010, the YMCA held its Virtual Invitational Swim Meet, which used the slogan 'swim locally - compete nationally.' A June 2009 article in The New York Times reported that the women's swim teams of Dickinson College and Bryn Mawr College met virtually for a competition. In the article, Dickinson's president, William G. Durden, estimated that by not taking a bus to travel the 112 miles the school saved $900.

Along with being a way to save money, virtual meets can also give typically non-competitive swim groups a chance to see how they rank. For instance, USA Swimming explains that its Virtual Club Championship can be used as a motivation tool, allowing swimmers to see how they match up to others.

The reason that virtual meets can be effective for swimming is because these athletes don't have to be in the same room to compete in events. Divers already take care of their event individually, and even in a race having the swimmers next to each other, aside from possibly being a motivating factor, doesn't impact their times. This means two people could swim the same distance in two difference races and submit their official times in order to determine a winner.

Other Sports That Could Compete Virtually

Obviously some sports could never hold virtual competitions. It'd be hard for a baseball player to bat if the opposing team's pitcher wasn't in the same location, just like basketball wouldn't be much of a challenge if there was no one trying to block a shot. But for sports where competing doesn't involve the teams going head to head, virtual meetings could be an option.

Similar to swimming, in track and field athletes don't have a defense to worry about. Instead, they perform to the best of their ability and hope that their best tops the other competitors. Even if you're running next to someone on the track, it's your individual time that will be looked at. Realistically, you could run on one track while someone from a different school is running on a track elsewhere. Then your scores could be compared to determine a winner.

Gymnastics events could also be held in different locations and have the scores sent in for comparison. Even college dance teams, cheerleading squads and marching bands could compete virtually. There's no reason why they can't do their routine in front of a judge without all of their competitors present.

In order for this to be a viable option, there are two main things that need to happen. First of all, to make sure everyone is on a level playing field, the facilities in these separate locations have to be comparable. The YMCA actually gives guidelines for the size of the pools that must be used during their Virtual Invitational Swim Meet. Additionally, it is important for athletes at each location to be judged the same. The YMCA accomplished this by requiring their certified level two officials to be the judges at any of its various virtual meets.

Technology has also made it possible for students to virtually visit college campuses.

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