An agreement between the Blues Committees of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge with respect to Varsity Competitions.
Drafted and approved by the Joint Blues Committee on 28 February 1983, with alteration approved on 13 November 1997 to come into force from 1 October 1998. Reviewed 12th March 2001. The Women's Blues Committee is bound by the decisions and standing orders of the Joint Blues Committee.
The Varsity Eligibilty rules as agreed by the Joint Blues Committee is as follows:
A resident bona fide student member of the University is eligible to compete in an Oxford versus Cambridge sporting contest subject to the stipulations that he or she is:
- a matriculated and fully registered member of both a College and of the University: and
- registered for, and actively studying for, a recognised degree, diploma or certificate of the University; and
- in residence for at least an undergraduate term in which the Varsity match falls, or the preceding one, fulfilling University residence requirements; and either
- is an undergraduate, thus reading for undergraduate, thus reading for a first degree, in which case his or her eligibility continues until 30th September in the year in which he or she completes his or her undergraduate course
- is already the holder of a degree from a recognised University and is therefore reading for a second degree, or for a diploma, certificate or higher degree of the University, in which case his or her eligibility is limited to four (4) years of fulfilling the University's residency requirements. These four years need not be consecutive.
- The eligibility of such a graduate student is limited until his or her results are published in Reporter (Cambridge) or the Examination Schools (Oxford).
Status Of Full And Half Blue Sports
Awards made at the captain's discretion should be to those she feels worthy of such an award. In making this award, she must have regard to six Blues Sport criteria: the ability, excellence, effort and determination of the individual(s) concerned, the result against Cambridge and the overall contribution of the individual(s).
Extraordinary awards are considered for achievement at national or junior international level and above, after the individual case has been represented to and approved by the committee. Extraordinary Half Blue awards are considered in exceptional circumstances, and cases must also be presented to and approved by the committee.
Discretionary Full Blues are upgrades of Half Blues and may be awarded when certain additional criteria is achieved. Such awards must be presented in writing to the President who will approve or disapprove them, in the case of the latter the awards may be proposed before the committee.
First Team Colours can be awarded by any Captain of a Full or Half Blue sport, to first team members (who played in the Varsity match) but who did not reach the standard required for the award. The total number of awards given must not exceed the number of awards granted by the Blues Committee.
Second Team Colours may be awarded to members of the Varsity Second Team.
To change the status of a sport a request must be made to the Committee one week before the meeting. Details are required about the results and training of the club.
There must have been three Varsity matches before a club is considered for a status change; and after such a status change, the club is subject to three years probation.
Post applications for individuals are only allowed if they were not made at the correct time due to administration errors. They must be submitted within one year of the individual concerned leaving the university. Also, the application must be considered under the criteria for such awards as they were at the time when the application should have been made.
Criteria For Full Blue Sports
- There must be an annual match against Cambridge.
- The sport must be a major one within the University
- The Club must have a high standard compared with other amateur Clubs.
- There must be Considerable College organisation, with recognised Colleges playing each other.
- There must be a substantial degree of athletic ability required.
- There must be an inveterate organisation and tradition of participation within the U.K. and the University.
N.B. For HALF BLUE sports, criteria 2, 4 and 6 are not so important.
No award (Full/Half Blue or First/Second Team Colours) can be awarded to someone who does not compete in the Varsity Match, thus:
- Non-playing reserves cannot be awarded Blues etc
- People who fall ill or are injured before the Varsity Match are not eligible for Blues.
Extraordinary Full Blues
These are awarded to sportswomen who are deemed by the Blues Committee to have achieved an extraordinarily high standard in their sport.
Such awards are obviously rarely given. The following are some guidelines for Captains/Presidents regarding the presentation of their case to the Blues Committee:
- The person who is applying for the award must not attempt to present herself; a fellow team-mate or the Coach should do it (usually the Captain is the obvious choice);
- The evidence of the superlative performance should be readily available to all the Committee. It is the duty of the applicant's representative to PROVE without doubt the applicant's merit;
- It should not be expected that the Blues Committee know details of the sport regarding the rules of competition, methods of scoring, meaning of the results etc. Such things should be suitably explained to allow the Committee to judge fairly the individual case.
- Therefore written-evidence is much appreciated (with independent corroboration, i.e. from the Coach, National team or the like) showing comparison to previous Varsity Matches, County, National and/or International rankings etc.
Thus it must be realised that the awarding of Extraordinary Full Blues is a great accolade and must be taken seriously lest the value of the Blues be reduced (and efforts of others in achieving Blues status).
Sport is by its very nature competitive and the awarding of colours is meaningless without rigorous high standards that are applied in a uniform and comparative manner.
Extraordinary Half Blues
Guidance for the standards required to apply for Extraordinary Half Blues is provided here, for cases where an individual has performed to a high standard but would not merit an Extraordinary Full Blue.
It is possible to apply for Extraordinary Half Blue status if:
- The individual is a member of an established Oxford University Club and plays a recognised sport which does not currently hold Blue or Half Blue status.
- The individual plays a sport which holds Half Blue status but is not able to award Half Blues to the entire team. In this case the individual must have been deemed by the Captain and Coach to have made a contribution to the Varsity match equal to that of the other members of the team who were awarded Half Blues. She must also have fulfilled the standards described in the Status of her sport.
The ability of an individual who is proposed for an Extraordinary Half Blue should be commensurate with performance at County or Regional level in sports in which there is a regular and well defined competition structure. Written evidence of this is much appreciated.
Women's Blues Grant
The annual Women's Blues Grant is open to all sportswomen in the University who have received a Blue, Half Blue or Colours from the Women's Blues Committee. The grant should be awarded to an individual who has shown excellent sporting performance for use towards future personal development (eg. new personal equipment, training camp, travel with national team, etc.).
Applications should be no more than 300 words and countersigned by two people willing to recommend the applicant (eg. club president, coach, etc.). Applicants should include details of funding received from other sources (eg. from colleges, other sports grants and scholarships). Applications must be received by the President at least a week before the first meeting of Hilary Term.
The President and Secretary will shortlist up to four applicants that the Committee will vote on at the first meeting of Hilary Term by secret ballot. If the committee are agreed, the grant may be split equally between two individuals. The recipient(s) of the Women's Blues Grant will receive up to £300 from the Committee on production of receipts.