Monday, March 26, 2012
Photos from MS 104 and Rule 12.5
Remember the controversy about the underrated Washington State kids? They use their own rating system, which is fine, but it means their kids win all the under sections at Nationals. Ridiculous situations, like kids with 1400 ratings having USCF ratings of 400 and winning the under 600 or 900 or whatever it is at elementary nationals. Also the best school, Stevenson, won two under team sections two years ago with something like 24 and 24.5 points out of 28-- that's insanely hard to do. They have an amazing program, don't get me wrong-- they've produced large numbers of strong players over many years. My hat is off to them. But they had an enormous unfair advantage in the under sections.
So the USCF made a rule (rule 12.5 of the Scholastic Regulations) 6 months ago that you had to have played 8 games in the 6 months previous to the tournament, or else you had to play up one rating section.
And then Friday, two weeks before nationals start, they change it. Why?
because some people called the USCF and complained. Did they consult the scholastic committee? not at all. They "surveyed" the Scholastic Council and no one objected. (when did not objecting to something become the same as voting for it? what if someone didn't read their email?) What is the point of having a cumbersome democratic process if you are just going to throw it out the window when someone complains loudly? It makes the organization look extremely unprofessional.
It also gets us right back to the original problem: what are you going to do this year about the Washington State kids? They didn't go to nationals last year, but that doesn't mean they won't be there this year or that the problem has gone away. (Again, I have nothing personal against any of these teams and I'm not competing in any section with them. They have tremendous programs. I do not believe they are intentionally sand-bagging or trying to cheat. It simply doesn't make sense for the USCF to have a competition in a rating class with a bunch of kids who are clearly not in that rating class or even legitimately in the USCF rating system.)
new: The current explanation is that "a lot" of people called the USCF and complained. But how many exactly? And how do you know they weren't all from the same team? It would take me sending out one email to get 100 parents to independantly contact the USCF to complain about something, if I told them that something was detrimental to their child. My point is that the USCF shouldn't be governed as "whoever complains the most and loudest wins," and ensuring this is the entire purpose of having a governance structure where everybody gets one vote. Whoever decided to throw this out, demonstrated a lack of leadership and even basic consistency/coherance.
If the problem is rural areas, let's add an exemption for people who live in zip codes more than 50 miles from a USCF tournament. (or whatever version of that you want).