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Wednesday (If sports changed from yards to meters) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under NCAA: football Updated: September 19, 2012 - 8:36 AM

We wrote for Page 2 today about the "Liter Bowl" -- the only NCAA-sanctioned college football game to be played using the metric system. In 1977, Carleton and St. Olaf eschewed the traditional 100-yard field for a 100-meter field (just shy of 110 yards). It was 50 meters wide, as well. First downs, as such, required 10 meters -- or about 11 yards.

We had never heard about the Liter Bowl, even though it apparently created quite a spectacle when it happened. In addition to giving us an excuse to dig up some sweet photos from the 70s (all the pics on this post are from the Carleton archives), it also got us thinking: which sport would be altered the most if every yard was turned into a meter?

C.J. Dale, a wide receiver for the current Carleton team, didn't seem to to think much would be changed at all using a football field roughly 10 percent bigger. And we tend to agree. Even if the goal posts were altered (which they weren't for the Liter Bowl, from what we understand), not a ton changes.

Basketball? Well, if you made the standard 94 foot by 50 foot court (31.3 yards by 16.7 yards) into meters, it would expand it by about 9 feet longer and 5 feet wider. The length might not be that big of a deal. The width? That could be interesting. Also, if you changed the basket height, it would go from 10 feet to almost 11 feet. That would be a huge deal.

Hockey? Well, again, the ice surface wouldn't be that much of a change (though the added width would open the game up). The real difference would be in the standard 6 foot by 4 foot goal. It would suddenly be close to six inches wider and almost four inches taller.

Baseball? Basically add 10 percent to every distance. A 400 foot home run fence in dead center would be 440 (and then the fans at Target Field would really howl). A pitcher would throw from about 67 feet away. Bases would be nearly 100 feet apart. Even home plate -- and the strike zone -- would be a couple inches wider.

Soccer? Golf? Tennis? Your thoughts, please, in the comments on this very serious issue. But first: A couple more sweet photos.

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