Thursday, October 7, 2010

CAANJ Champs

When TigerBlog was a student past junior high or so, his favorite kinds of questions on tests were essay questions.

Why? Because TB always felt that essay questions tested you on what you knew, and other questions tested you on what you didn't know.

TB had a math teacher in high school - actually, TB had him for probability and statistics - named Mr. Iovino, and it was his theory that on multiple choice questions, the correct answer is "B" a disproportionate amount of the time. He also had another high school teacher who gave the class a true/false test once on which every answer was false - mostly as a psychological experiment to see if the people taking the test would be okay with answering "false" to every question.

In a college astronomy class - fascinating stuff, by the way - the professor's tests consisted of clusters of unrelated questions. There would be seven clusters on the test, with three or four or five questions in each cluster - and students could pick any five clusters to answer.

For today, though, let's start out with a little "fill in the blank" exercise. Ready? Here goes:

Princeton Athletics competes in __________________.

TB is pretty sure that most people would give the easiest and most correct answer: The Ivy League.

Others could point out the ECAC or the CSFL or the IRA or any of the other affiliations and events Princeton has.

You could even say Orange and Black. Or Princeton Stadium and Baker Rink and all the other venues.

How many of you, though, came up with this answer:

New Jersey.

Since we're playing the "fill in the blank" game, here's another one:

There are ____________________ Division I schools in New Jersey. We'll get to that in a moment.

Princeton is first and foremost an Ivy League school, and winning Ivy League championships has always been the No. 1 goal. And then, depending on the sport, there are natural rivals outside of the league in a variety of places.

But Princeton is, of course, located in New Jersey. And while there isn't the greatest of natural rivalries within the state beyond possibly Rutgers, Princeton does compete against its closest geographical rivals for the CAANJ Cup.

"CAANJ" stands for "College Athletic Administrators of New Jersey." Each year, CAANJ honors athletes and athletic programs in the state in a variety of ways.

Included in this is the CAANJ Cup, which goes to the top athletic program in the state. This year's winner is Princeton, which has won often in the past as well.

The Cup is awarded to the team that has the highest point total according to the CAANJ formula. Points are awarded for seven men's sports and seven women's sports based on conference finish and national competition.

There are separate divisions for Division I and for Divisions II and III.

It's not necessarily easy to figure out the exact sports to nominate, because the points system is a bit complex, so a sport like men's lightweight rowing, which won the national championship, didn't earn as many points as men's water polo, which won an NCAA tournament game.

The CAANJ Cup will be awarded today at the annual banquet. Like the first "fill in the blank" question above, the answer to what Princeton's first goal each year is is not to win the CAANJ Cup, but it's still a very nice honor.

As for the answer to how many Division I schools there are in New Jersey? Who had "eight?" If you did, you are correct:

Princeton, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Monmouth, St. Peters, Rider, Fairleigh Dickinson and NJIT.

It's not the same as competing against Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Brown, Cornell, Columbia and Penn.

Then again, Princeton is more than happy to be the home of the 2010 CAANJ Cup.

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