University of Nottingham’s men’s basketball teams had a fortunate escape from relegation to a lower division. They were threatened with demotion after failing to submit forms electronically to BUCS (British University and College Sports) before the deadline date – despite having sent their forms by post 3 days earlier.
The day after both basketball teams had beaten Cambridge 1st and 2nd teams, the AU was notified that BUCS had awarded walkovers in favour of Cambridge, taking 3 points off each Nottingham team and causing them to be relegated a division next season.
Gareth Lewis, the club President, was devastated. “I couldn’t believe it, one minute we’re celebrating our wins, the next they’re taken away from us. If BUCS received the forms on the Monday why couldn’t they have notified me so I could send the forms electronically, instead of waiting until after the deadline?”
Paul Lloyd, the AU officer, was likewise shocked and furious at the decision. When asked for his reaction, Lloyd’s first thought was about supporting the team. “I obviously wanted to do what the basketball club wanted – that meant fighting this all the way, so that’s what we did”.
Lloyd took the lead in the appeals hearing, arguing that the BUCS guide states “every individual that plays in the BUCS Basketball leagues MUST be affiliated to a [UK] Basketball Governing Body.” The club was already affiliated to England Basketball so they could be entered into the Founder’s Cup – a competition separate from BUCS – therefore complying with this regulation.
Despite Nottingham having still not electronically affiliated with BUCS, the officials could not argue with this loophole as the teams were indeed affiliated to a basketball governing body, albeit it not BUCS. Thus they had no choice but to concede victory to the dynamic duo who, according to Lloyd, celebrated their triumph on the train home “with a few cheeky drinks!”