BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Last week, the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series released its 2014 rankings, and Dallas Baptist University came out on the very top of the list.
“I am ecstatic,” said Cameron Burger, head coach of the Dallas Baptist University Bass Fishing Team and a graduate student at the university.
“This year’s team is what I like to call the A Team,” Burger continued. “We have a different caliber of guys this year. All of them fish tournaments and really know what they’re doing.”
Bass fishing is one of six club sports Dallas Baptist’s athletics department supports, along with swimming, ice hockey, lacrosse, drill and dance, and cheer.
“All of our club sport athletes are treated just like NCAA athletes,” said Connor Smith, interim athletic director and adviser for the team. “They go through the same drug testing, athletic drills and study hall that the NCAA does.”
But how did Dallas Baptist win No. 1 in the rankings when the school did not win the Central Regional, held on Ouachita River earlier this month?
The club’s three teams finished in fifth, seventh and 21st. And the College B.A.S.S. ranking system is built to reward the schools whose entire contingent is strong.
“Every team your school sends to a regional needs to do well,” said Hank Weldon, College B.A.S.S. tournament director, “and DBU did that.”
Each team must be judged on a level playing field, but when the rankings are addressing five regionals and a Wild Card over a five-month period on six fisheries all over the country, you have to work to make it a level playing field. You can’t simply add each college’s overall finish.
This system is not an official ranking system of B.A.S.S. and does not relate at all to the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year rankings or Opens points standings most fans are familiar with. But then, our Elite Series and Opens pros are fishing solo (no team numbers to take into account), and they’re competing on the same lakes at the same time of year with the same field size. Therefore, Angler of the Year and Opens points are simpler to follow.
Comparing a college team's performance in Florida to one in Louisiana is not apples-to-apples. The College B.A.S.S. ranking system seeks to level the playing field using a series of determinants.