Following the pattern recently introduced in the Summer Eights, the Oxford
Torpid Races, which will be begun to-day, have been reduced to four days'
racing. This in itself is a welcome reform, but the main point in its favour
— that it allows more time for practice — has been lost. For
instead of starting a week later than was normal with six days' racing, Torpids
this year well be begun a day earlier than usual.
[...] What is really required is a complete overhaul of the present
qualification rule for the Torpids, which is apparently designed to reduce all
crews to the level of impotency of the weakest colleges, instead of improving,
as should be the case, the standard of all. Comparing Oxford and Cambridge
practice, as one can hardly help doing in this context, it is significant that,
whereas Oxford bars from the Torpids all those who have rowed for two years
in the fcollege first Summer Eights, Cambridge bans only those third year
men who have rowed in their college first Division of the May
Races in the preceding summer term. And whereas Oxford bans all Trial Eights
colours, Cambridge bans only those of them who have completed their second
year, and who rowed in the preceding May Races.
The actual wording of the qualification is, of course, rather more complicated
than this. But the effective difference is clear enough. Cambridge bars the
minimum number of experienced and competent oarsmen, whose services are more
valuable as coaches. Oxford bans all those who might be expected to give any
advantage to the more fortunately placed colleges. The result is that no
college is fortunately placed at all.