Will the 51st Inter IIT Sports Meet see the light of day? Maybe.

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Update on 15th December, 2015
The 51st Inter IIT Sports Meet has been called off due to logistical constraints, after discussions in a board meeting at IIT Madras today. Either Madras or Kanpur (originally slated to be the host for the 52nd Inter IIT Meet) will host the Meet in December 2016, after due deliberation.

Update on 10th December, 2015
There will be a board meeting held on the 15th of December at IIT Madras, to discuss the road ahead. At this point in time, the two time windows proposed are the first week of January and middle of March. While IIT Madras could possibly host the Meet (that is, if it’s being held in March), the other option has IIT Bombay and IIT Delhi co-hosting it.
In either case, this might mean a change in the academic schedule of the hosting IITs.

Yesterday, the 51st Inter IIT Sports Meet, scheduled to take place from the 14th to the 21st of December, was called off due to the dire situation in Chennai caused by incessant rains and flooding. However, not all hope is lost, as the IITs are mulling other options to salvage the Meet for which the contingents have toiled for a year.

It is improbable that the Meet takes place on the originally scheduled dates at some other venue, due to the unavailability of flight/train tickets at such a short notice. However, the Directors, Deans and student representatives of all IITs are brainstorming on other alternatives, and the final verdict will be out by tonight or early tomorrow.

Can IITM host the Meet sometime later in December?

A short answer is – no. As of now, it’s still raining in Chennai, and there’s no guarantee when the situation will abate. If the Meet is to happen in December, the travel tickets need to be booked immediately. Furthermore, it’s still not safe to travel to Chennai, or stay there for a week, due to the risk of an outbreak of disease. Moreover, the IITM players haven’t been able to practise at all in the recent past, owing to their flooded campus. So, it would be unfair to them if the Meet is scheduled any time in December.

Can the Meet be pushed back to the next semester?

No. The combined strength of all contingents is around 2400 (including coaches and support staff), and arranging for the accommodation of such a huge number is simply not viable, since students of the host IIT will stay in their hostels at the time. The contingent members would also miss a week of classes, which is undesirable.

Can the Meet be pushed back to the summer?

Again, no. Quite a few students who are a part of a contingent would be doing summer internships, some of them leaving immediately after their end-semester examinations, ruling this option out.

“Hold on, guys! We got this.”
Can Bombay (or some other IIT) host the Meet?

As IIT Bombay played host to the 50th Inter IIT Sports Meet last year, Bombay hosting it again this year makes the most sense due to its infrastructural readiness. However, organizing the Meet in December comes with its own set of issues. For one, the institute cannot spare any infrastructure/accommodation for the Meet due to Mood Indigo and Techfest, scheduled to take place from the 18th to the 21st of December and from the 26th to the 28th of December respectively.

Another option is having the Meet at the end of December, after Techfest. But even if this were to happen, the institute would still face an accommodation crunch, due to conferences and students coming back for the next semester. Last year, during the Inter IIT Meet held at IIT Bombay, first year Master’s students were not allowed to stay back in that period, in order to make room for the contingents. All these constraints cast a cloud over this option.

Prof. Soumyo Mukherji, Dean of Student Affairs at IIT Bombay, says, “On the face of it, Kanpur and Kharagpur might seem to be the best bets, as they might have the most number of rooms available to provide accommodation to the incoming contingents at such a short notice. But the preparedness of the playing surfaces are not known to us. Whatever it is, every option has its own cost implications, making it difficult to salvage the Meet.“

One more option being considered is to split the Meet between various IITs, with each IIT in the troupe hosting a few sports. If such a split does happen, it’ll most probably see one IIT hosting indoor sports with another hosting outdoor sports. For example, IIT Bombay is ready to host indoor sports and IIT Delhi is prepared for hosting the outdoor games. However, the problem of accommodation at such short notice in these IITs remains an unresolved issue.

Yet another option being discussed by General Secretaries is to shift the academic calendar of one or two IITs (say IITB and IITD) by a week, and offer academic exemption for the participants from all other IITs.

Currently a board meeting is to be conducted to discuss all the above possibilities and come to a common conclusion. The final decision would be out by tonight or early tomorrow. Stay tuned for more updates.