The BBC is “taking seriously” claims that the Oxford team which won University Challenge was not eligble to take part in the contest, it was reported today.
The Corpus Christi team was led to victory by their captain, Gail Trimble, whose performance attracted a wave of media attention during the final weeks of the competition.
However, a series of newspaper reports have since suggested that one of Trimble’s team-mates, Sam Kay, had left Corpus Christi in June last year after he was denied funding for his PhD. Kay was reported to have been working as an accountant at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.
PWC has now confirmed to the BBC that Sam Kay was employed at their firm as a graduate accountant in 2008.
In a statement, the BBC has said, “We understand the allegations made and are taking this issue seriously. However, we don’t have time to investigate fully so will do so and report our findings early next week.”
The rules of the programme state that all contestants must be current students of the institution which they are representing while the programme is being recorded.
A member of the Manchester University team, who were rivals to Corpus in the final, was believed to have raised the issue and demanded a re-match. However, the Manchester team has now released an official statement saying they have “no desire” for a re-match.
Corpus Christi celebrated their success on the long-running TV show just last week, after beating Manchester by 275 points to 190.
It was the second time Corpus Christi had tasted victory on University Challenge, after claiming the title in 2005.