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AMTA, Sanctions, and Coaches

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  • AMTA, Sanctions, and Coaches

    For those of you who aren't familiar with it, in the 80s the NCAA basically shut down SMU's football program for a few years in response to repeated recruiting violations and payments to players. Needless to say, what used to be a massive powerhouse football team got crushed, and has never, ever recovered.

    Now, I'm not implying that Yale will never recover (spoiler alert: they will) but it does seem a little odd to me that this kind of devastating penalty (vacating titles, suspending key members, banning the team from high-level AMTA competition) was imposed by AMTA board members who at the same time coach several other prominent teams. For example, the President of AMTA (William Warihay) is the coach of Georgia Tech, a regular Nationals-qualifier. Coaches from Brown, Dayton, UVA, Howard, Wellesley, Loyola Chicago, and GW also serve on the Board of Directors.

    I'd like to ask if anyone has any opinions on how ethical such an arrangement is. For example, in SMU's case, it wasn't officials from rival schools that imposed the sanctions, but an actual independent governing body. Surely the President of the NCAA wouldn't be allowed to serve as the coach at Arkansas at the same time as they were punishing SMU.

  • #2
    The concerns are totally legitimate but hereís the problem: who could we get that would be better to do the job? The AMTA board members, particularly the committee chairs, have jobs that take up a significant amount of time for which they get paid exactly 0 (thatís ZERO) dollars for. Also, who else would have the extensive intricate knowledge of mock trial needed to do this work? Perhaps students should be more involved, I have supported that position in the past, but students would have more bias and less experience. Unless we want to pay significantly more to AMTA to allow for paid staff positions, I donít see a reasonable way to compose the board entirely of individuals without potential bias.

    I think the place for improvement is not in the composition of the board, but in transparency.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by STC View Post
      The concerns are totally legitimate but hereís the problem: who could we get that would be better to do the job? The AMTA board members, particularly the committee chairs, have jobs that take up a significant amount of time for which they get paid exactly 0 (thatís ZERO) dollars for. Also, who else would have the extensive intricate knowledge of mock trial needed to do this work? Perhaps students should be more involved, I have supported that position in the past, but students would have more bias and less experience. Unless we want to pay significantly more to AMTA to allow for paid staff positions, I donít see a reasonable way to compose the board entirely of individuals without potential bias.

      I think the place for improvement is not in the composition of the board, but in transparency.
      Tbf, I think it might be negative income in some instances since I believe board members pay certain out-of-pocket expenses as part of their jobs.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sully123 View Post

        I'd like to ask if anyone has any opinions on how ethical such an arrangement is. For example, in SMU's case, it wasn't officials from rival schools that imposed the sanctions, but an actual independent governing body. Surely the President of the NCAA wouldn't be allowed to serve as the coach at Arkansas at the same time as they were punishing SMU.
        The NCAA as an organization is literally made up of representatives from schools and conferences. AMTA leadership is more independent than the NCAA, as it was only recently that the NCAA provided for limited non-affiliated representation on the Board of Governors. There is not a single academic or athletic conference or association that is run by completely independent leadership.

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        • #5
          Maybe I'm just being naive, but I think it's absurd to suggest that the board members may impose a much harsher penalty in order to gain a competitive edge, intentionally or not. I think most people would have enough faith and trust in the board to act in a way that nullifies their conflicts of interest. Unless we're going to somehow fund an independent body to run the entire collegiate circuit, there's going to be people on the board with direct and/or indirect ties to mock trial and mock trial teams, and it's up to both the board and us as a community to ensure and trust that the most qualified individuals are helping to make executive decisions.

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          • #6
            I don't think the members of the board sanctioned Yale out of any desire to improve their team's chances in 2020. The people on the AMTA Board who coach high level programs (Warihay, Bluebond, D'Ippolito, Heytens, Minor, Scher, Schuett, etc.) are all upstanding people, and haven't given us any reason to doubt their integrity on this.

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