It's Bullshit That USC Doesn't Have The 4x4 World Record

2018 NCAA Indoor Men’s 4x400m Relay - USC NEW WORLD RECORD 3:00.77!

Dear IAAF,

Let's be real.

It's bullshit that the University of Southern California men won't be recognized as the indoor 4x400m relay world record holders.

The 2018 NCAA Indoor Championships were 10 days ago and, honestly, it's still the only thing from the meet that I can think about. 

Two weekends ago in College Station, Texas, USC's Zachary Shinnick, Rai Benjamin, Ricky Morgan Jr., and newly minted 400m world record holder Michael Norman split a respective mind-f*** of 46.24, 44.35 (the fastest indoor split in world history), 45.67, and 44.52 for a total time of 3:00.77 to win the men's program's first NCAA title in the event since 1977, and first-ever indoor title.

Watch the world record-setting race below:

2018 NCAA Indoor Men’s 4x400m Relay - USC NEW WORLD RECORD 3:00.77!

Their time literally dusted the Polish national team's winning time from the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Birmingham, 3:01.77, which was also a world record at the time of competition!

According to the IAAF's race report, however, USC's mark "is not eligible for a world record because Benjamin is from Antigua & Barbuda, and the others are USA citizens."

The sport's international governing body named, instead, Texas A&M as the new world record holders. The Aggies, though anchored by a superb 44.52 split from Mylik Kerley, finished more than half a second off the Trojans in 3:01.39.


Let's back up a second.

Benjamin, actually, is a U.S. citizen.

The junior, who transferred to SC this year from UCLA, was born on July 27, 1997, at Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, which he was kind enough to share in a series of tweets last week with all the smart-ass folks on the internet.

Benjamin’s parents were born on the Caribbean island of Antigua, which shares sovereignty with Barbuda, a smaller island slightly to the north. The precocious sprinter-hurdler represented his parents’ country in several international track and field events as a youth athlete, including the 2013 IAAF World Youth Championships and the 2015 Carifta Games.

Though Benjamin requested and was granted release from Antigua back in July of 2016 in order to compete for his native Team USA as a senior-level athlete, his status has been uncertain since the IAAF announced a freeze on transfers of allegiance in February of 2017. 

Rai Benjamin talked briefly after his breakout 48.33, runner-up finish in the 2017 NCAA 400H final about his struggle to transfer allegiance:

400H runner-up Rai Benjamin explains breakthrough season, says he's having trouble switching nationality back to USA

The IAAF announced after its council meeting earlier this month that the blanket freeze will continue until at least July while specific rules are drafted to govern transfers of allegiance. 

These rules will likely include a minimum three-year waiting period for athletes hoping to transfer, the establishment of a review panel to determine the credibility of transfer applications, and provisions that athletes may transfer only once during their career and that no transfers take place before the age of 20.

It's likely that once these measures are in place, Benjamin's request will breeze through the requirements as he hasn't competed for Antigua since 2015, which will be three years ago this April. He is also now 20 years old—21 this summer—and will, therefore, be age-eligible to transfer.

It does strike me, however, as profoundly unfair that he should have to go through this process at all—especially considering that he has never represented Antigua in senior-level competition. There should, perhaps, be an additional provision that nullifies the transfer rules until athletes are over the age of 18.

The other damning bit is that if he was released from Antigua in the summer of 2016 and the freeze did not start until February of 2017, then it sounds like some paperwork just got stuck in a bureaucratic sinkhole

Benjamin said via text that he was told the IAAF is holding a hearing on the issue within the next two months—which would be sooner than the summer council meeting.

He will almost definitely be cleared to compete for the U.S. in 2019 and 2020. 

But that still leaves the 4x4 indoor world record in the hands of Texas A&M.

Whatever, IAAF.

We're gonna throw this one to USC director of track and field Caryl Smith Gilbert, whose response to the epic NCAA weekend was perfect.

"I don't care what anyone says, USC owns the world record in the 4x400m relay. No four men in the history of the world have run faster indoors than the Trojans did tonight."

Fast-forward to 9:18 to see the USC men's staid response to not getting the world record:

USC Men, Mike Norman React To 4x4, 400m World Records

Coast Guard's Kaitlyn Mooney Eyes NCAA History At DIII XC

When Coast Guard sophomore Kaitlyn Mooney crosses the finish line Saturday at the 2018 DIII NCAA XC Championships in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, there’s a very good chance she’ll have accomplished a feat that no other woman has in NCAA history.

Loyalty To Team Is The Driving Force At NCAA Cross Country Championships

(c) 2018 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

MADISON, Wisc. (16-Nov) -- Morgan McDonald has worn the Australian colors in five global championships, and placed eighth at last April's Commonwealth Games in the 5000m on home soil.  But the 22 year-old senior from Sydney, who will be running his final cross country race tomorrow for the University of Wisconsin, said those championships don't compare to tomorrow's NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships here when it comes to his drive to succeed as a member of a team.

2018 DIII NCAA XC All-American Projections

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Below are FloTrack's 2018 projections for the men's and women's DIII NCAA XC All-Americans:

Former NCAA Stars Make Their XC Predictions

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

Watch the 2018 DI NCAA XC Championships LIVE on FloTrack, Saturday Nov. 17th!

DIII NCAA XC Women's Preview: Hopkins Hones In On Dynasty

Workout Wednesday: Johns Hopkins Men & Women

The 2018 DIII NCAA women’s cross country championships will feature a favorite in Johns Hopkins looking to expand on their recent dynasty, and a slew of challengers seeking to put an end to the Blue Jays’ dominance. Hopkins will race for their sixth title since 2012 on Saturday in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a run that only one other DIII women’s program in history has accomplished. It should be fascinating to watch it all unfold in brutal cross country conditions this weekend.

Deep Field Tries To Take Down New Mexico, Kelati Goes For First Title

NCAA XC: Dynasties On The Line

It didn’t take long for the narrative of the women’s NCAA cross country season to shift. New Mexico entered the fall with three of the nation’s best runners, high profile transfers, and a clear line to their third team title in four years. 

NCAA XC Champs Confidence Picks: NAU Three-Peats, McDonald Edges Fisher

The stakes are clear and the storylines are well established. 

NAU Goes For Three, Fisher/McDonald Finally Meet

2018 Men's DI NCAA XC Rewind

It was only minutes after they stepped off the track at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in Eugene, Oregon, that Tyler Day and Matt Baxter were thinking of the fall. 

DIII NCAA XC Men's Preview: North Central Goes For No. 19

Workout Wednesday: North Central Crushes Mile Repeats

The winningest program in NCAA cross country history will look to add another title to their storied legacy as North Central College races for their record 19th DIII XC men's national championship on Saturday November 17, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The Cardinals will enter the meet as big favorites to take their third straight NCAA crown on the icy terrain of Lake Breeze Golf Course, but it won’t be easy as they battle experienced foes and freezing cold conditions. Another notch in North Central's hefty championship belt is at stake on race day, but it’s a notch they will really have to earn.

House Of Run: NCAA Sleepers And Storylines

Jason and Kevin discuss the sleepers, spoilers and storylines for Saturday’s NCAA Cross Country Championships. Can NAU and New Mexico continue their winning ways? Will the men’s race come down to Grant Fisher and Morgan McDonald?