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2019 Little 500 will field lowest team count in 58 years


IU Student Foundation members place chips on bikes in order to track and time riders during a practice session for Little 500 in 2018. The number of teams in the 2019 Little 500 this year is the lowest it has been in more than 50 years. Andrew Williams Buy Photos

Sixty-five teams attempted to qualify for the 2019 Little 500 on March 23. All 33 men’s and 32 women’s teams qualified at Bill Armstrong Stadium, matching the lowest count since 1961.

“The number of teams in the women’s field is consistent to what it’s been the last several years," said Andrea Balzano, IU Student Foundation Assistant Director of Little 500 Races. “On the men’s side, a handful of men’s teams registered but then didn’t make it to qualifications for a variety of reasons.”

In the past, injuries or a lack of riders have prevented greek and independent organizations from racing contention on campus. Despite the historically low shortage, some teams in attendance were unaware of the situation.

“Apparently it ebbs and flows and we might have just hit a low spot,” Cutters’ junior William Huibregtse said. “It is strange. I didn’t know it was actually the lowest in a while, but it makes sense. Normally we have like 40 teams. Some teams just fold after a while.”

After the Cutters’ first-place performance Saturday, Huibregtse said he noticed fewer rookies competing this year, indicating a lack of participation from university students.

“I don’t think there’s that much interest in Little 5 that’s for sure,” he said. “It is a big commitment to be on a team here so it’s understandable.”

There are also a number of greek organizations that had teams in the past but are also facing university sanctions for the 2018-2019 school year.

According to the Division of Student Affairs, 25 university organizations are being subject to disciplinary measures this spring. Twenty-two of those 25 university organizations had Little 500 teams in the past four years and only 10 competed at quals on Saturday.

In 2017, IU’s Interfraternity Council voted to suspend all greek life on campus until early 2018. Since then, IU has been cracking down on conduct violations within these organizations including hazing and the use of drugs or alcohol.

Eight organizations have been suspended at IU and have been a part of the Little 500, including Delta Tau Delta – the winner of the 2016 men’s race.

“There are some greek teams that traditionally ride but are going through some sort of punitive process on campus,” Balzano said. “IUSF honors any campus conduct issues with organizations.”

A previous version of this article had multiple fact errors. It was removed from our website Wednesday morning to give editors an opportunity to sort out the origin of these errors.

The article was re-posted later Wednesday after extensive fact-checking between the reporter and multiple editors. The caption for the above photo, written by a photo editor, has also been updated. 

Errors of this nature are rare and below the high standards we set for ourselves to seek truth and report accurately. The IDS regrets these errors. 

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