T Nation

Running Up the Score in Sports


so me and my buddy were discussing running up the score in sports. saying how its embarrassing to get your ass handed to you but its more embarrassing to watch people toy with you for half of the game.

So what do you all think? Does it matter? Do you care? Is it a good way at displaying skill? Should you always try your best and play as if it were your last game? Want to see more of it? Is it ethical? Interesting topic seeing how the NHL has seen a lot of it lately.


It depends

If its a rivalry game...do that shit.

If the teams are evenly matched and things get out of hand, oh well. Say, Stee;ers vs Ravens...if that turns into a blowout awesome

But, if one team is just outclasses then dont do it. I remember playing football against some poor inner city team with not even a full O and D...77-0 for their homecoming. I felt bad doing it...but our coach kept throwing the deep bombs....

but then again, you strap up to play. If you don't come hard, accept what happens.


Are you talking about pro sports or in general? In high school, it was frowned upon and our coach would never do it. In basketball, he'd sit the starters for the 4th quarter if we were up by over 20. Personally in high school, I think it's a dick move since there's always a bunch of bench warmers waiting for a chance to play.


I don't like it either way. There are always guys on the bench who never get to play, plus why risk injuring a player.


But what's the line? I'm a Louisville fan, and they came back from 18 down with about 5 minutes left in the game this year against Marquette. And I hear a lot of people whining about this sort of thing, but in my mind why not take the chance to get some practice in a real game situation?


In my situation, our JV scored twice on their starters. I mean, if everytime you snap the ball and no one tackles you what do you do, fall on purpose?


It depends on the attitude you display while doing it. If you're running it up and goofing around or taunting the opponent, that's not cool. If you're just running your offense and defense, then what happens happens. In most cases I'd prefer to see the 2nd team in there when the game is out of reach. But remember those guys practice hard, too and shouldn't have to sit on the ball when they're in the game.


In tournament play where points for/against are used in a tie-breaking situation it's a necessary evil and should be taken advantage of. In regular season play there's really no need for it. Obviously you're not going to let up completely and let the opposing team mount a comeback, but don't let it get out of hand.


I will point out in most professional sports it is also a slap in the face to take out the starters to "take it easy on the loser". I think it comes down to which fan you are? The winner or the loser team?


I don't think it's bad sportsmanship at all in pro sports. The other side is getting paid just like you. I do think it's pretty stupid, though, especially in the more physical sports. There's no reason to risk injury to a starter if your already up 28 in the fourth quarter.

In amateur competition, it's about the most unsportsmanlike thing you can do. I remember losing a basketball game 96-4 when I was in fourth grade. It was a sixth grade parochial league and we were a very small school. The coach of the other team used the first game against us as a tryout for his A team. So not only were we going up against kids much older than us, but we were going against there best players as well.

It's one thing to make sure your starters get good playing time and to go up by a wide margin in the first half, but a decent person knows when to pull his kids back. We actually played the B team later in the playoffs and I know we lost by less than 10, so it's not like he even had to tell his kids to quit playing hard, all he had to do was put in more of the backups closer to our height.


In sports where the contestants are adults, say college age and over, I say go for that. Was watching a schools rugby match today with 15 year olds. One team won 67-0 and ran up the score on purpose. I think with kids that age its not a good idea.


It's not really something that is black or white or is easy to quantify, but at the time it happens it is very easy to recognize. I've actually coached 4th-6th grade basketball as well and have had some pretty talented kids. I've done a couple different things to keep it fun for everybody when the game was secured. I'd tell my star point guard to run up the assists without shooting and he got good practice. Then I'd tell my -how should I say it, less fortunate athletes?- that they had free range to start shooting threes. I knew full well they weren't going to make anything, but it was fun for them and I don't think it ever portrayed us as showing mercy. If anything I think some of the parents on the other teams may have been upset that we were going for threes when we were already way up, but again, these kids were lucky if they made 1 out of 10 in practice, so it's not like the score was getting run up. It actually made the final scores closer.


if its pro's... who gives a shit? They're all paid professional athletes.

if we're talking highschool here then I dont like it. During football season when we would be blowing a team out our coach would pull the starters and put in back up kids/JV kids. It was a great experience for those guys to get some varsity time and I think its a classy thing to do.


my senior year of highschool we played some terrible team for our homecoming game (they were in our league but they just sucked) after 8 minutes we were up 28 to nothing and our coach pulled all of our starters. Our JV guys ended up finishing off the game and we won 56-0. our coach didnt throw the ball in the second half once... our JV team did go undefeated that year so they were pretty damn good.


Youre playing at a high level, then teams shouldnt back down. Your playing at a high level, get with it or get ready to get your ass beat.
In HS our coach would make us pass the ball like 5 times before we shot, or give it to the team scrub to score, when we were owning on a team, but big games we never backed down. We used it as an opportunity to play some bench players or practice some new play's.


You know what I say? Fucking stop me bitch!


This is how I see it as well DJ.


In PA high school football they have a mercy rule where the clock doesn't ever stop if one team gets a 35 point lead. Our coach would play us hard til that point, then take all of the starters out and play the JV or upper classmen backups. Even then we still beat a few teams by 50+ points, but it was with backups running the ball on every play.

There are some serious mismatches in talent at the high school level though. In college and the pros I have no problem playing to score until the game ends. That's how it should be done all the time.


In a sport where goals for and goals against are also part of the league ranking, it's definitely justifiable as if you do poorly later on in the season, those goals could be the difference in whether or not you make the playoffs. In others, I'd take it on a case by case basis.


Do you think its embarrassing at all though to get destroyed by another team? Would you then rather them put on their second string so you can still play against a team that might be more in your skill range?

I'm against running up the scores in olympics and tournaments. I understand the reasons behind having GF and GA as tournament tiebreakers, but I think there should be another way to settle it. I'm not a fan of seeing teams trying to make the olympics in hockey and see them get crushed 16-1. Really puts those players down and can destroy their hockey program altogether. Who would want to play when you get beat 16-1 every game?

Edit: do you think rules should be placed to prevent the scores from being run?
ex. if up by 6goals, run the clock. same example works for football and a lot of other sports too.
Any other rules you would want to see? Or none at all