In one of the hardest-hitting pieces of journalism published over the past 12 months, The Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Bog asked some probing questions this summer about the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame, such as:
Why are there so many more baseball and football players than hockey and basketball players?
Why are there so many media members in a sports hall of fame?
Why are there so few D.C.-area college stars?
Why did the still-active Katie Ledecky get in before the still-active Alex Ovechkin?
What exactly are the criteria for inductees?
Whom do I have to bribe to get Steve Buckhantz inducted?
Many of these questions, to be fair, were prompted by an email from longtime Bog Reader John. And to prove to you that your emails are not in vain, I’m here to report that the Hall has now published revised criteria that will be used starting with the Class of 2018. In fairness, these revisions were in the works long before anyone started asking questions, or at least started directing such questions at me. Don’t let that stop you from sending me journalism awards, though.
The new criteria specify that inductees “must have gained prominence in the greater Washington, D.C. area” through achievements in pro, collegiate, amateur or high school sports; as an athlete, coach, owner, executive, media member or contributor. Inductees also must have “brought honor and distinction to the nation’s Capital.”
Those eligible can be either natives of the greater D.C. area, or athletes or contributors whose pro careers took place in the greater D.C. area. Among the further criteria:
* Pro athletes must be retired to be eligible. (This will keep Ovechkin out for the foreseeable future.)
* Coaches or managers must have spent a minimum of 10 years in the greater D.C. area, or be at least 50 years old, to be eligible.
* College athlete must have played in this area for at least three years, and be at least 15 years removed from their college eligibility, to be eligible. (This would seem to disqualify Allen Iverson.)
* No more than two media members will be inducted in one calendar year.
* No more than two college athletes will be inducted in one year, unless one of the athletes has ties to the area that go beyond attending a local college.
* At least one high school athlete, coach or contributor will be inducted every year.
* At least one representative from a sport other than MLB, MLS, NBA, NFL, NHL and major college men’s basketball and football will be inducted every year.
* Every year, the selection committee can override the above criteria for one individual “whose accomplishments are of exceptional merit or is otherwise worthy of special consideration,” although this is only to be used in extraordinary circumstances.
* To be elected, nominees must get more than 50 percent of the votes from committee members. At least 75 percent of the members of the nominating committee must vote in the election process, and no more than 12 honorees will be inducted in any calendar year.
These new rules should put to rest a whole bunch of questions, and also ensure that the Hall gradually diversifies away from any perceived Redskins/Nationals/media member bias. It will still take a while for the shift to be noticed, but 10 years from now, the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame should be a more accurate representation of the best in Washington sports.
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