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  • #61
    The AMTA community deserves the transparency.
    It's not transparent to show some emails but not others and then argue that the emails you're showing are the only ones that matter. I have no idea if it's true that you only have current access to the emails in a chain of emails that help your position and you don't have access to the emails that cut against it, but it really doesn't serve some sort of noble transparency purpose to post half-complete information. You're using this controversy to actively cast doubt on the veracity of the new sanctions.

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    • #62
      Originally posted by Nur Rauch View Post

      It's not transparent to show some emails but not others and then argue that the emails you're showing are the only ones that matter. I have no idea if it's true that you only have current access to the emails in a chain of emails that help your position and you don't have access to the emails that cut against it, but it really doesn't serve some sort of noble transparency purpose to post half-complete information. You're using this controversy to actively cast doubt on the veracity of the new sanctions.
      I've said before, I had access to the entire chain but only saved a portion of the emails that were representative of the entire thread. If anyone has an email that cuts against my position (Bloch's really), then please post it.

      And doubt should be cast on the veracity of the new sanctions. The one time this happened before, AMTA ignored the evidence and got it wrong. They still have not admitted fault. Board members are in this thread deflecting blame and saying"its a new board, trust us this time, we promise we will didnt ignore the students again this time!" Maybe if the board said, "you know, we realize the old board screwed up, but we are a new board now, with a new makeup, and we will ensure that evidence put forth by students will always be examined and analyzed appropriately." Then maybe the community could have some more faith in these current sanctions.

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      • #63
        Nobody's going to post the emails because the people that have access to them literally aren't allowed to post them. What they have said in this thread is that there were over 90 emails exchanged by the board about this subject in the four days between receiving the appeal document and voting. Hawley's email sent 14 minutes after the appeal document was received doesn't shed any light on that, and Bloch's email talks about an unknown number of concurring responses to Hawley. That's about it. You're making representations about what the rest of the emails said, and logically it doesn't even make sense. There were what, 30 voting board members? In order to send 90+ emails, they would need to have each sent a mean average of 3 emails per person. Doesn't fit with a "Yep, what she said!" one shot answer. Maybe some board members made up their minds that way, but everyone, or a critical mass of them? Even if only 5-10 voting members were actually doing the majority of the discussion, then the mean average email per person shoots up to like 10-20 emails back and forth between those 5-10 people. Practically all sent *after* Hawley's email.

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        • #64
          Originally posted by Nur Rauch View Post
          Nobody's going to post the emails because the people that have access to them literally aren't allowed to post them. What they have said in this thread is that there were over 90 emails exchanged by the board about this subject in the four days between receiving the appeal document and voting. Hawley's email sent 14 minutes after the appeal document was received doesn't shed any light on that, and Bloch's email talks about an unknown number of concurring responses to Hawley. That's about it. You're making representations about what the rest of the emails said, and logically it doesn't even make sense. There were what, 30 voting board members? In order to send 90+ emails, they would need to have each sent a mean average of 3 emails per person. Doesn't fit with a "Yep, what she said!" one shot answer. Maybe some board members made up their minds that way, but everyone, or a critical mass of them? Even if only 5-10 voting members were actually doing the majority of the discussion, then the mean average email per person shoots up to like 10-20 emails back and forth between those 5-10 people. Practically all sent *after* Hawley's email.
          Don't post the email then, post the rationale behind the argument in the email. If there is legitimately a mathematical analysis that counters Bloch's, someone can rephrase it as a current post without copying and pasting the email. Given that the position would be based entirely on the numbers, there is no confidential information to worry about.

          Again, my point all along is there was no debate and discussion on the merits of the appeal. There was plenty of discussion on whether taking bids was too harsh a punishment. This was discussed extensively and accounted for the majority of the 90 emails you reference, but these discussions were based on the premise that Penn State was already guilty.
          Last edited by Mocktrocity; January 17th, 2019, 04:08 PM.

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          • #65
            If I had to guess why almost all of the discussion was about the propriety of sanctions, rather than violating the rule itself, that would be because PSU essentially admits the violation on page four of their appeal in a summary paragraph, along with many statements in the document after that.

            This is the text of the rule, which they provide on page 5:

            AMTA Rule 2.9 (5) -- COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS ARE FINAL. The Tournament Administration Committee shall dictate where a schoolís teams are assigned. Schools shall follow this designation. A failure to do so may result in sanctions under Chapter 9. If a team appears at a regional tournament to which the team was not assigned, it will not be allowed to compete, except as the bye-buster team, and shall be ineligible for bids, trophies, individual awards, and all other forms of recognition.
            You'll note that the word "egregious" does not appear in that rule. Neither does "intentionally."

            PSU's entire argument in that appeal document is, Yes, that rule was clearly violated, but it resulted in harmless impact and it was done so unintentionally. Their arguments focus on the de minimus nature of the decision and the notion that their president made the decision unilaterally, in the hopes that any punishment ordered would only be against the president and not the program itself. The mathematical argument doesn't affect whether the rule was violated. It goes to the question of propriety of sanctions and the severity of sanctions, not the merits of the violation itself.

            I remember my jaw dropping when I first read that appeal document on Perjuries all those years ago. It's 30 pages long, contains a ton of what I would describe as fluffy character evidence that doesn't address the questions before the board, and it starts from the premise that they violated the rule. I don't know if I personally agree with the board's decision, but it's easy to understand why the board would make their discussion all about what comes *after* that, because that's the only thing reasonably in dispute, according to the official words from PSU themselves.

            There were important policy issues to consider, and it sounds like the board thought of them critically. On one hand, you probably had a lot of agreement by the board that PSU did not mean much if any harm, which is an important fact in the rules of whether to issue a sanction and what kind of sanction to issue. But on the other hand, these rules were created to prevent gaming the system at all, and they were risking a situation where people caught wind of what PSU did and trying their own luck on something more closely resembling open bad faith.

            Clearly, AMTA wasn't happy doing what it did, because they changed the rule in several respects, both to introduce more clarity to the process so fewer schools would trip the wire, and to make it easier to switch team assignments for valid logistical concerns, as PSU claims existed in their case. What this is not, however, is a clear case of AMTA just ignoring valid points and barreling over them because they're lazy or they're foaming at the mouth to take away a team's post-season bids, and it's really, really annoying that you keep posting emails that don't back up your argument on that specific point in order to malign a sanctions decision made this season that pretty much nobody here knows anything about.

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            • #66
              Originally posted by Nur Rauch View Post
              If I had to guess why almost all of the discussion was about the propriety of sanctions, rather than violating the rule itself, that would be because PSU essentially admits the violation on page four of their appeal in a summary paragraph, along with many statements in the document after that.

              This is the text of the rule, which they provide on page 5:



              You'll note that the word "egregious" does not appear in that rule. Neither does "intentionally."

              PSU's entire argument in that appeal document is, Yes, that rule was clearly violated, but it resulted in harmless impact and it was done so unintentionally. Their arguments focus on the de minimus nature of the decision and the notion that their president made the decision unilaterally, in the hopes that any punishment ordered would only be against the president and not the program itself. The mathematical argument doesn't affect whether the rule was violated. It goes to the question of propriety of sanctions and the severity of sanctions, not the merits of the violation itself.

              I remember my jaw dropping when I first read that appeal document on Perjuries all those years ago. It's 30 pages long, contains a ton of what I would describe as fluffy character evidence that doesn't address the questions before the board, and it starts from the premise that they violated the rule. I don't know if I personally agree with the board's decision, but it's easy to understand why the board would make their discussion all about what comes *after* that, because that's the only thing reasonably in dispute, according to the official words from PSU themselves.

              There were important policy issues to consider, and it sounds like the board thought of them critically. On one hand, you probably had a lot of agreement by the board that PSU did not mean much if any harm, which is an important fact in the rules of whether to issue a sanction and what kind of sanction to issue. But on the other hand, these rules were created to prevent gaming the system at all, and they were risking a situation where people caught wind of what PSU did and trying their own luck on something more closely resembling open bad faith.

              Clearly, AMTA wasn't happy doing what it did, because they changed the rule in several respects, both to introduce more clarity to the process so fewer schools would trip the wire, and to make it easier to switch team assignments for valid logistical concerns, as PSU claims existed in their case. What this is not, however, is a clear case of AMTA just ignoring valid points and barreling over them because they're lazy or they're foaming at the mouth to take away a team's post-season bids, and it's really, really annoying that you keep posting emails that don't back up your argument on that specific point in order to malign a sanctions decision made this season that pretty much nobody here knows anything about.
              The standard is the conduct must be egregious for the violation to result in such an extreme punishment. I am not going to go looking through the old rules for the language but Hawley notes it in her initial email:

              > My remarks will be extremely brief. It seems very clear that Penn State
              > has admitted numerous times throughout their communications with
              > representatives of AMTA that they sent what they deem their A and D teams to
              > the site where their B and C teams were supposed to attend and vice versa.
              > The only question is their explanation as to why they did that and whether
              > it was egregious and intended to violate the rules.


              Googly also noted the conduct must be egregious when he discussed the TAC in an earlier post, specifically, when he is making decisions of whether a team is violating the regional assignments.

              You are misrepresenting Penn State's position. It was not that they violated the rule but it was done unintentionally. It was that that rule allowed for co-equal teams to be interchangeable, and while Penn State internally had the teams stacked different then the assigned regionals, they were still sending the proper teams because they were believed to be co-equal. From the conclusion of the appeal:

              "As Mr. Bernstein has stated, this comes down to an interpretation of whether Penn State Mock Trialís A and B teams were indeed equally competitive. No evidence has been presented suggesting that the organizationís A and B teams were not of equal strength. As the teams were created with the intention of being equally likely to perform successfully throughout AMTA-level competition, the organization believes any evidence suggesting the teams were not equally competitive cannot be honestly shown. Moreover, AMTA has always safeguarded the ultimate discretion of organizations in determining their best teams, and it would be a shame if this principle were violated to prove a point."

              And yes, there are several good character letters attached, but the meat of the appeal is the mathematical analysis of the competitive nature of the teams. Something Bloch tried to bring to the front of the discussion but something that fell on deaf ears. AMTA realizing the mistake and fixing it at the Board meeting does not exonerate the failure to examine the evidence during the actual appeal debate and vote.
              Last edited by Mocktrocity; January 17th, 2019, 04:33 PM.

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              • #67
                Originally posted by Mocktrocity View Post

                I've said before, I had access to the entire chain but only saved a portion of the emails that were representative of the entire thread. If anyone has an email that cuts against my position (Bloch's really), then please post it.

                And doubt should be cast on the veracity of the new sanctions. The one time this happened before, AMTA ignored the evidence and got it wrong. They still have not admitted fault. Board members are in this thread deflecting blame and saying"its a new board, trust us this time, we promise we will didnt ignore the students again this time!" Maybe if the board said, "you know, we realize the old board screwed up, but we are a new board now, with a new makeup, and we will ensure that evidence put forth by students will always be examined and analyzed appropriately." Then maybe the community could have some more faith in these current sanctions.
                1. The fact that the Board decided against you does not mean the Board "ignore[d] the students." You value the evidence you've cited, but that does not mean your interpretation is the only possible interpretation of the situation and the rules. You ignore the fact that PSU themselves designated teams as A and B, which in every single competitive activity is meant to convey that Team A is better than Team B. Plus the statements of the students saying that the reason they went to their respective regionals was because of convenience. You may disagree with the Board's interpretation, but any objective observer can see that it was not an absurd interpretation. (Note: the 2012 rule did not say that teams could be switched if they were equally competitive. Both the rule and the regional assignment sheet stated that rank order - A, B, C, D - was critically important, and PSU admittedly violated their own rank order designations. The whole "co-equal" argument seems to be a post-hoc excuse using selective wording from an email with Justin Bernstein).

                2. The Board members who commented on this thread have pointed out that they cannot comment on deliberations, so your continued pleas for people to publish contradicting emails is childish; it's easy to yell and scream at an opposing position when you know the target of your ranting can't respond (corollary: whichever Board member gave you those emails is probably in violation of their Board duties).

                3. See below.

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                • #68
                  The standard is the conduct must be egregious for the violation to result in such an extreme punishment.
                  That's exactly what I just said. Hence, why the discussion was about the decision to issue a sanction and if so what kind, not whether the rule itself was violated. Intent and the severity of the violation are factors to consider under rule 9.5(4), "Factors to Consider [in issuing sanctions]". They are not factors in the rule about regional assignments, 2.9(5), under the 2012 language that existed at the time.

                  And yes, there are several good character letters attached, but the meat of the appeal is the mathematical analysis of the competitive nature of the teams. Something Brad Bloch tried to bring to the front of the discussion but something that fell on deaf ears.
                  You have shown no evidence of that -- i.e., when Bloch's email was sent, how much longer there was before the vote occurred, and how many dozens of emails were exchanged after his and before the vote. How do you deal with the possibility that other board members disagreed with Bloch's reasoning? How do you deal with the possibility that other board members did not even accept Bernstein's interpretation of the co-equal value point?

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                  • #69
                    Originally posted by lawlol View Post

                    1. The fact that the Board decided against you does not mean the Board "ignore[d] the students." You value the evidence you've cited, but that does not mean your interpretation is the only possible interpretation of the situation and the rules. You ignore the fact that PSU themselves designated teams as A and B, which in every single competitive activity is meant to convey that Team A is better than Team B. Plus the statements of the students saying that the reason they went to their respective regionals was because of convenience. You may disagree with the Board's interpretation, but any objective observer can see that it was not an absurd interpretation. (Note: the 2012 rule did not say that teams could be switched if they were equally competitive. Both the rule and the regional assignment sheet stated that rank order - A, B, C, D - was critically important, and PSU admittedly violated their own rank order designations. The whole "co-equal" argument seems to be a post-hoc excuse using selective wording from an email with Justin Bernstein).
                    This is not correct. The rules said thta teams that were equally competitive were interchangeable, Googly confirmed this in an earlier post. If Penn State had named their internal teams after colors, there wouldn't even be an argument here.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Mocktrocity View Post

                      This is not correct. The rules said thta teams that were equally competitive were interchangeable, Googly confirmed this in an earlier post. If Penn State had named their internal teams after colors, there wouldn't even be an argument here.
                      Weird flex, but ok.

                      See below from Penn State's Appeal, cited as "Governing Rules." Note the absence of anything even remotely close to saying "teams that were equally competitive were interchangeable."

                      AMTA Rule 2.9 (5) -- COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS ARE FINAL. The Tournament Administration Committee shall dictate where a schoolís teams are assigned. Schools shall follow this designation. A failure to do so may result in sanctions under Chapter 9. If a team appears at a regional tournament to which the team was not assigned, it will not be allowed to compete, except as the bye-buster team, and shall be ineligible for bids, trophies, individual awards, and all other forms of recognition.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by lawlol View Post

                        Weird flex, but ok.

                        See below from Penn State's Appeal, cited as "Governing Rules." Note the absence of anything even remotely close to saying "teams that were equally competitive were interchangeable."

                        AMTA Rule 2.9 (5) -- COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS ARE FINAL. The Tournament Administration Committee shall dictate where a schoolís teams are assigned. Schools shall follow this designation. A failure to do so may result in sanctions under Chapter 9. If a team appears at a regional tournament to which the team was not assigned, it will not be allowed to compete, except as the bye-buster team, and shall be ineligible for bids, trophies, individual awards, and all other forms of recognition.
                        Actually, you are right here looking back over some of the appeal. It appears Penn State co-equal argument may have originated from Bernstein's email saying that no violation occurred if it was believed the teams are of equal strength.

                        "Relative equal strength" is the language used in the rules currently, which reflects what Bernstein stated at the time.
                        Last edited by Mocktrocity; January 17th, 2019, 04:50 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #72
                          "Relative equal strength" is the language used in the rules currently, which reflects what Bernstein stated at the time.
                          That's in the Regional Assignment Sheet explanation, which describes how teams are supposed to select and designate their A, B, C, D teams. I read 2.9(5) along with that explanatory rule to mean that you, the team, decides how members are to be assigned, and that you're trusted to use good faith in doing so, but based on what you represent to AMTA, AMTA will then designate the teams to regionals as it sees fit under 2.9(5). Deviating from AMTA regional assignments after the fact, without AMTA's permission, would be a strict liability violation, without regard for intent or strength of teams.

                          Also I'm just going to point out here that PSU repeatedly referred to the four different teams as "Stacked A," "Stacked B," "Stacked C," and "Stacked D," in the information distributed to its own team members, in the exhibits PSU submitted in the appeal doc. I don't know if the board adopted Bernstein's reasoning about co-equal or not, but no, replacing the letter designations with colors wouldn't have helped much if you still went by, "Stacked Blue." Bernstein also noted in those shared emails that mathematical results are not the full picture, but that experience and other factors may matter more.
                          Last edited by Nur Rauch; January 17th, 2019, 05:15 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Nur Rauch View Post

                            That's in the Regional Assignment Sheet explanation, which describes how teams are supposed to select and designate their A, B, C, D teams. I read 2.9(5) along with that explanatory rule to mean that you, the team, decides how members are to be assigned, and that you're trusted to use good faith in doing so, but based on what you represent to AMTA, AMTA will then designate the teams to regionals as it sees fit under 2.9(5). Deviating from AMTA regional assignments after the fact, without AMTA's permission, would be a strict liability violation, without regard for intent or strength of teams.

                            Also I'm just going to point out here that PSU repeatedly referred to the four different teams as "Stacked A," "Stacked B," "Stacked C," and "Stacked D," in the information distributed to its own team members, in the exhibits PSU submitted in the appeal doc. I don't know if the board adopted Bernstein's reasoning about co-equal or not, but no, replacing the letter designations with colors wouldn't have helped much if you still went by, "Stacked Blue." Bernstein also noted in those shared emails that mathematical results are not the full picture, but that experience and other factors may matter more.
                            We are now starting to rehash argument already gone over in this thread and getting away from the point. Take away internal designations and any comments by Penn State mockers. AMTA instructed Penn State's "A" team to go to Buffalo and the "B" team to go to Pittsburgh. The Penn State team that finished the best at the two tournaments before regionals, including one it was at with the other Penn State team, went as the "A" team to Buffalo, where it finished with the best records of all 4 Penn State teams. If you have no other information about the teams, you have to conclude that Penn State followed the regional assignments. To conclude that Penn State egregiously violated the regional assignments, with this backdrop, is not reasonable. That is Bloch's point and one that cannot be refuted based on the evidence available to the board. But the board did not debate the evidence, they debated whether taking away assignments was too harsh a penalty.

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                            • #74
                              Mocktrocity If we "take away" PSU's actions and words that show them violating the rule then yeah, I agree with you, your case comes much stronger. But's that's a weird thing to do.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by The Real Mock Prodigy View Post
                                Mocktrocity If we "take away" PSU's actions and words that show them violating the rule then yeah, I agree with you, your case comes much stronger. But's that's a weird thing to do.
                                It is not a weird thing to do when you realize the ultimate position of Penn State is that the teams were co-equal, so they essentially believed they had 2 A teams, just as UVA the year before when they switched their A and B teams at Nationals and used the co-equal rationale. That is explained in the appeal extensively. To justify your conclusion that Penn State violated the regional assignments because of conflicting statements by students that were pulled out in the middle of competing over the objective evidence of results is weird. But hey, that is what the EC did in 2012.

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