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Thread: Penn State sanctions

  1. #1
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    Penn State sanctions

    Now that the board of directors has denied our appeal, we feel it necessary that people know why Penn State will not be competing in the post-season this year. Attached is the appeal that Penn State submitted to the board of directors. It is mostly self-explanatory. Penn State sent what it considered to be its best team (who had been labeled the "B" team in October) in the "A" regional spot. Both A and B teams went 7-1 and won bids. The executive committee determined that this constituted a gross misconduct, enough to sanction both of the program's bids. Penn State has never been charged with any sort of misconduct. The board of directors denied the appeal and upheld sanctions against Penn State to (admittedly) send a message. This was done despite the Chair of the Rules Committee stating that if Penn State truly believed the "A" and "B" teams were competitively equal then no misconduct occurred. We feel that these measures are entirely meritless and inappropriately harsh.
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    This is outrageous. I'd love to see the AMTA apologists defend this one.
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    I have never been at more of a loss for words in my life.
    Last edited by Cloud; 02-24-2012 at 03:46 PM.
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    On behalf of myself, individually, with no connection to my team whatsoever, I believe this is one of the most outrageous and inappropriate sanctions I can imagine AMTA imposing. Thoroughly disgusting.
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    Why didn't you guys address the switching of the C and D teams? Do you think part of the denial of the appeal was because of that?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The J View Post
    Why didn't you guys address the switching of the C and D teams? Do you think part of the denial of the appeal was because of that?
    In all questioning during the weekend, they only requested information on A and B and only seemed concerned with those two teams. Since we won three bids, sanctions upheld on C and D wouldn't matter.

    Also, to this point, they have provided us with no rationale. The email informing us was 3 sentences long.
    Last edited by Cloud; 02-24-2012 at 04:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RuHurt View Post
    On behalf of myself, individually, with no connection to my team whatsoever, I believe this is one of the most outrageous and inappropriate sanctions I can imagine AMTA imposing. Thoroughly disgusting.
    I'm glad other people see it that way. I have never before in my life felt like I was unjustly persecuted for something until now. I'm sick to my stomach that a small mistake (which I maintain that I am correct on based on the way the rules read now) like this on my part could ruin mock for all of my friends.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud View Post
    In all questioning during the weekend, they only requested information on A and B and only seemed concerned with those two teams. Since we won three bids, sanctions upheld on C and D wouldn't matter.
    But sanctions on the entire program, for switching teams, could be levied on the program for switching C and D. While you focused extensively on the equality of A and B, you don't actually state that switching C and D left equally competitive teams in the two regionals. It seems that if you're trying to say you did nothing wrong as a program, you would need to say that A = B and C = D.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The J View Post
    But sanctions on the entire program, for switching teams, could be levied on the program for switching C and D. While you focused extensively on the equality of A and B, you don't actually state that switching C and D left equally competitive teams in the two regionals. It seems that if you're trying to say you did nothing wrong as a program, you would need to say that A = B and C = D.
    Justin Bernstein's email to me after the sanctions said "if we thought A and B to be equal, then there would have been no violation. The decision was based on that they weren't equal."

    I also say in my personnel statement that I thought C and D were equal. We did not expand because the rules chair told us that we only had to show A and B were equal for no violation.
    Last edited by Cloud; 02-24-2012 at 04:34 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud View Post
    Justin Bernstein's email to me after the sanctions said "if we thought A and B to be equal, then there would have been no violation. The decision was based on that they weren't equal"
    Unless you read the entire sentence which says: "If the teams labeled A and B were truly of equal strength there would be no violation (not including any issues related to C and D)." And this is in response to your email which makes no mention of your C and D teams.

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    I'm sorry, this is the wording:

    "The sanction issued by the EC is based on the conclusion that A and B were not of equal strength"

    It clearly states that the decision was based off A and B, not C and D.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lionLawyer View Post
    Now that the board of directors has denied our appeal, we feel it necessary that people know why Penn State will not be competing in the post-season this year. Attached is the appeal that Penn State submitted to the board of directors. It is mostly self-explanatory. Penn State sent what it considered to be its best team (who had been labeled the "B" team in October) in the "A" regional spot. Both A and B teams went 7-1 and won bids. The executive committee determined that this constituted a gross misconduct, enough to sanction both of the program's bids. Penn State has never been charged with any sort of misconduct. The board of directors denied the appeal and upheld sanctions against Penn State to (admittedly) send a message. This was done despite the Chair of the Rules Committee stating that if Penn State truly believed the "A" and "B" teams were competitively equal then no misconduct occurred. We feel that these measures are entirely meritless and inappropriately harsh.
    I'll withhold comment of the appropriateness or lack thereof of the sanctions. I will say, though, that the appeal was impressive (though I question the ethical implications of making it public, particularly the e-mail correspondences.) My heart goes out to your students who, I'm sure, are very upset over this. It's clear you all care about the activity very much and, I hope, this doesn't destroy y'all's passion for mock trial.
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    Also, I have not yet noticed any formal statement from the board on this. I sort of think one is due to the public so people know exactly what behavior was damning so it can be avoided in the future.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayZ View Post
    Also, I have not yet noticed any formal statement from the board on this. I sort of think one is due to the public so people know exactly what behavior was damning so it can be avoided in the future.
    The "behavior" would appear to be switching teams among regionals without prior approval from AMTA. That said, having skimmed the appeal (which is just one side of the story), I have serious questions as to whether the rules at issue were clear, whether they were violated, and whether the violation (which one person in a 70-person program took full responsibility for) merited the indisputably harsh sanction of denying the entire program any bids to ORCS. I hope a rationale is forthcoming.
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    Having previously been unaware that there was a "harmless error" provision in the AMTA rulebook, I'm kind of at a loss for how it wouldn't apply to this situation. By pretty much any objective measure, Penn State "B" has outperformed Penn State "A" this year (including at regionals). I'm curious as to how the switch wouldn't constitute harmless error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TenaciousDRB View Post
    Having previously been unaware that there was a "harmless error" provision in the AMTA rulebook, I'm kind of at a loss for how it wouldn't apply to this situation. By pretty much any objective measure, Penn State "B" has outperformed Penn State "A" this year (including at regionals). I'm curious as to how the switch wouldn't constitute harmless error.
    Nor am I entirely certain WHAT competitive advantage a nefarious team switch would have. Power balancing is done to make regionals as a whole more balanced from region to region. For each, individual team it tends to advantage the higher teams while disadvantaging the weaker ones. By swapping teams, PSU should, in theory, have been sending their A team to a "harder" region (since that region was balanced with more A teams from other programs) and their B team to an easier region (since they had fewer A teams.) While that might benefit A, it would disadvantage B by a similar measure. So the overall benefit to the program would be negligible.

    Point being, the math geek in me can see stripping one bid, but both? How is that justified? That's not a rhetorical question, I think we deserve a public clarification of the rule and aggravating/mitigating analysis justifying the punishment.
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    I rarely post on this board nowadays, but this post got my attention. This is a very well written appeal and I, like others here, would like to see a response from the board.

    This punishment seems very harsh for these circumstances. I wonder if other, lesser sanctions, would have been more appropriate.

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    This decision is in direct contradiction with their by-laws, at least on the ground that they include harmless error. The board votes by robert's rules, right?

    From Robert's rules
    47. Votes that are Null and Void even if Unanimous. No motion is in order that conflicts with the laws of the nation, or state, or with the assembly's constitution or by-laws, and if such a motion is adopted, even by a unanimous vote, it is null and void.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cloud View Post
    This decision is in direct contradiction with their by-laws, at least on the ground that they include harmless error. The board votes by robert's rules, right?

    From Robert's rules
    47. Votes that are Null and Void even if Unanimous. No motion is in order that conflicts with the laws of the nation, or state, or with the assembly's constitution or by-laws, and if such a motion is adopted, even by a unanimous vote, it is null and void.
    Whether one finds it persuasive or not, I assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the Board concluded that the error was not harmless.
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    Who runs the AMTA board?

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