Oxford University Team Disqualified for Having a RingerMarch 3rd, 2009 - 3:10 pm ICT by GD
Gail “human Google” Trimble’s Oxford University team was stripped of its University Challenge title as BBC found out that one of the contestants on the team from Corpus Christi college was ineligible. The title was then handed over to the runners-up Manchester University because Corpus Christi’s Sam Kay was not a student at the time the finals were shot.
According to the rules of the Challenge all students contesting must be registered at the university or college for as long as the show is filmed. Sam had said he was studying chemistry at Corpus Christi. It was later discovered that he had actually graduated out in June after the first round was shot. He had not been able to sponsor his doctorate and had taken up an accounting job at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
This meant that he was not coming from the University at all but from his home in Reading to appear at the show being filmed at Granada TV Studios in Manchester.
A joint statement released by BBC and Granada, the makers of the show, said, “Whilst obviously not intending to, Corpus Christi broke this important rule where other universities and colleges taking part adhered to it.’We therefore find ourselves in the regrettable position of having no choice but to disqualify Corpus Christi from the final. This means they forfeit their title.”
Sam Kay has also put in an apology to the show, its viewers and other competitors, and most importantly to his teammates. The decision taken by BBC and Granada came as a huge setback to Gail Trimble, 26, hailed as the greatest contestant in the show’s history. She was called an “intellectual blitzkrieg” and was also widely criticised on the internet, drawing a record audience of 5.3 million for the show. She had been instrumental in scoring over two-thirds of the team’s 1200 points before the final but Sam Kay had also been important in the victory over Manchester University.
Tags: according to the rules, apology, blitzkrieg, corpus christi college, doctorate, google, granada tv, kay, manchester university, oxford university, record audience, ringer, runners, setback, teammates, trimble, tv studios, two thirds, universities and colleges, university challenge