University Quiz Team Disqualified

Corpus Christi College, Oxford, the winning team of this year’s University Challenge, has been disqualified by the BBC for using a contestant who was no longer a student at the college.

The disqualification of the team means that Manchester University, who lost to Corpus Christi in last week’s final, have been awarded the title by default.

It emerged that Corpus Christi team member Sam Kay had left full time education and was working as an accountant at the time the programme was filmed. 

A statement made jointly by the BBC and Granada, who produces the programme, said: “The University Challenge rules on student eligibility are that students taking part must be registered at their university or college for the duration of the recording of the series.

“Whilst obviously not intending to, Corpus Christi broke this important rule when 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 hard-fought title which now goes to the Manchester University team.”

University Challenge presenter Jeremy Paxman said: “I suppose it is mildly embarrassing but I do feel sorry for the Corpus Christi team – I mean they were all legitimate students when it started. But rules are rules, and they had to be stuck to.”

Mr Kay has apologised and said “it was never my intention to mislead anyone. hugely regret not confirming my change of status to the University Challenge programme makers before the final rounds.”

“I had honestly believed I was eligible as I had indicated my course dates when I applied.”

Despite some newspapers reporting the possibility of the first rematch in University Challenge history, the Manchester team have said they have “ no desire” for a rematch. Manchester team captain Matthew Yeo said: “While we accept the deci

sion of the University Challenge judges, we are saddened to have been awarded the trophy under such circumstances.

“As far as Simon, Henry, Reuben and I are concerned the final was a great experience and we believe Corpus Christi College were outstanding opponents.”

A spokesperson from Corpus Christi college said: “Our students entered University Challenge in good faith. The team had a wonderful run and we are, of course, disappointed to be losing the title.”

The 2009 final had already made the headlines more than any other University Challenge competition in the programme’s 47-year history due to the performance of Corpus Christi captain Gail Trimble, dubbed the greatest contestant ever.

Ms Trimble declined to comment on the decision.


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