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After watching a few too many superhero movies, I was left to wonder about how the formal rules of various sports would react to the actual appearance of superpowers and similar fantasy/SF phenomena.

While one could argue that sports would rapidly change their rules if and when such phenomena became public knowledge, there is precedent for discussing "rules as written", since things do not generally change overnight, and there is the possibility of someone revealing that they have superpowers months or even years after winning a competition (while a sports league could make a rule today saying "Starting 2019, no Kryptonians without a waiver", it's hardly fair to retroactively revoke Clark Kent's high school gymnastics awards from the 1940's). There is even a long-running blog whose purpose is to discuss theoretical real-life legal issues that fictional superheroes might face.

Would such questions be acceptable for this site? If so, how could they best be phrased?

Example questions:

  • I am a fifty-foot tall NBA player and can dunk baskets across the entire length of the court. The opposing coach says that my presence is unfair, but I cannot find any "maximum height" rule in the rulebook. Am I allowed to play?
  • Strictly speaking, do years of eligibility for NCAA athletics attach to the player's body or to their consciousness?
  • Does the Marine Corps Marathon have a speed limit?
  • I have made a deal with a powerful extra-dimensional entity. In exchange for helping him open a portal to his planet, he has agreed to rig Wimbledon in my favor. My coach says this is cheating, but my lawyer says it is no different than praying before a match. Who is correct?
  • Do to gamma ray exposure in the womb, I Hulk Out like Bruce Banner when I get angry. Is this condition considered a qualifying disability for purposes of eligibility to participate in Special Olympics?
  • I am a member of the Great Race of Yith who has temporarily occupied the body of a human being in order to learn about human sports. Would using my vastly superior intellect while competing in this body be considered a Poor Sportsmanship violation according to the rules of the International Cricket Council?
  • My body was vaporized in the Battle of Procyon 7. The Great Computer downloaded my consciousness into a new body, but made a mistake and put me in the body of a man. Am I still considered to be a woman for the purposes of playing in the WNBA?
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    I want to say "no, don't be silly" but it's hard to articulate why these are off-topic in the sense that somebody interested in sports is not going to seriously ask this kind of thing, as opposed to questions like "on what basis did Semenya have restrictions placed on her natural superiority which does not apply to other women?" or "is the use of artificial intelligence combined with research-level supercomputers to make real-time tactical decisions in cricket adhering to the spirit of the game?" which are definitely of realistic concern. – Nij May 15 at 6:00
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I think there's an important difference here between things which are of realistic concern to sports today or in the near future, and things which just aren't going to happen. Examples of the former (borrowing liberally from Nij's comment):

  • Castor Semenya and the issues around women's events; similar concerns apply to disabled classifications in para-sport, and issues like Oscar Pistoris's blades.
  • The use of "superhuman AI" to assist in-game decisions. We're probably not quite there with physical sports yet, but it's certainly an issue in chess and could well be relevant in the physical sports in the next 5 years.

For those sort of things, we can realistically look at what governing bodies and other experts have said on the matter to produce an answer which fits into our Q&A format.

For things which are simply not going to happen in the timescale of the next few years, we're not going to have any actual facts to base an answer on and therefore I'd say the question should be closed as "opinion based".

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Taking a different approach to this question, I'll share my thoughts on each of your example questions (suspending disbelief and practicality for the purpose of developing quasi-acceptable questions):

I am a fifty-foot tall NBA player and can dunk baskets across the entire length of the court. The opposing coach says that my presence is unfair, but I cannot find any "maximum height" rule in the rulebook. Am I allowed to play?

Asking if there is a maximum height rule would be acceptable. Though there isn't much practicality for such a rule in basketball, it is akin to asking about maximum weight rules in wrestling.

Strictly speaking, do years of eligibility for NCAA athletics attach to the player's body or to their consciousness?

Unless explicitly defined by the NCAA, this probably would be defined outside the jurisdiction of sports. However, this may be considered similar to gender specifications (see below).

Does the Marine Corps Marathon have a speed limit?

Marathon World Record times have decreased by 30 minutes in 100 years. A speed limit would institute more strategic running, in theory.

I have made a deal with a powerful extra-dimensional entity. In exchange for helping him open a portal to his planet, he has agreed to rig Wimbledon in my favor. My coach says this is cheating, but my lawyer says it is no different than praying before a match. Who is correct?

This could be an question as it pertains between you and your coach, but the general premise seems to be more of a legal question outside the jurisdiction of sports.

Do to gamma ray exposure in the womb, I Hulk Out like Bruce Banner when I get angry. Is this condition considered a qualifying disability for purposes of eligibility to participate in Special Olympics?

An acceptable question that can be derived from this question would be to ask which disabilities would be considered eligible to participate in the Special Olympics.

I am a member of the Great Race of Yith who has temporarily occupied the body of a human being in order to learn about human sports. Would using my vastly superior intellect while competing in this body be considered a Poor Sportsmanship violation according to the rules of the International Cricket Council?

I don't see why "Would using vastly superior intellect be considered a Poor Sportsmanship violation according to the rules of the International Cricket Council?" wouldn't be considered an acceptable question. This may fall under , if not covered in the rules.

Though not about sports, a Jeopardy! champion's high-risk approach has others wondering if he "broke the game."

My body was vaporized in the Battle of Procyon 7. The Great Computer downloaded my consciousness into a new body, but made a mistake and put me in the body of a man. Am I still considered to be a woman for the purposes of playing in the WNBA?

There are rules in some sports regarding . For example, tennis defines such rules with respect to transgender people.

An acceptable question that can be derived from this question would be to ask what the WNBA would consider eligible for an individual to play in the WNBA.

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On Stack Exchange, there are lots of different sites. Some of the sites deal with fiction, but most deal exclusively with reality.

Examples of fiction-related sites:

  • Science Fiction & Fantasy
  • Movies & TV
  • Worldbuilding

Sports.SE is a part of the majority of sites that only handles questions in the domain of our current reality universe. “What-If” type questions do not belong here.

If you have questions about the real rules of a specific sport, by all means post them here, but keep in mind that most rulebooks do not include any rules related to impossible scenarios.

If you want to discuss sports in the context of an existing sci-fi fictional universe, try SciFi.SE. If you want to discuss sports in the context of a universe of your own design, go with Worldbuilding.SE.

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