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  • #31
    Again, we have been provided with NO rationale for the decision. With as much evidence as we put forth, I feel like we, at the very least, deserve some sort of explanation with a decision on our appeal.
    Dominance Beyond All Reasonable Doubt

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    • #32
      What gets me the most about this, is that the AMTA rules clearly allow for teams of equal ability to be considered interchangeably A or B come Regionals time. The analysis of the Penn State teams' records clearly demonstrates there is no practical difference in ability between the teams, and the benefit of the doubt should be given to their assessment that the two teams are equally capable. This penalty is ludicrous, unless the AMTA board releases a truly impressive explanation.
      "Calm down, Pippy."

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      • #33
        Originally posted by RuHurt View Post
        This penalty is ludicrous, unless the AMTA board releases a truly impressive explanation.
        From my most recent conversation with Dave, it appears as though a "reason" can't be provided to us as everyone who voted did so for their own reasons. I'm sick to my stomach. I have to live with completely ruining an activity my closest friends dedicated their lives to and I can't even have an explanation.
        Dominance Beyond All Reasonable Doubt

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        • #34
          Originally posted by The J View Post
          By this logic, switching teams would always be harmless error and no team should ever be punished.
          *puts finger on nose* From a purely statistical perspective, yes, actually.

          However, looking at each team individually, the end result is A team gets a tougher field while B gets an easier one. Hence, I think the fairest decision is to take one bid (the one from the B team, that got an unfair advantage) and let the A team, who actually was disadvantaged from the switch, keep theirs. Again, this is entirely a numerical approach but, if the switch was made for good faith reasons but violated the rules, its a fair resolution. If the teams truly are of equal caliber, than no "no harm" clause seems to apply. Taking both bids only seems fair if there was a bad faith switch of unequal teams.
          "Call on God, but row away from the rocks." - Hunter S. Thompson

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          • #35
            Originally posted by JayZ View Post
            *puts finger on nose* From a purely statistical perspective, yes, actually.

            However, looking at each team individually, the end result is A team gets a tougher field while B gets an easier one. Hence, I think the fairest decision is to take one bid (the one from the B team, that got an unfair advantage) and let the A team, who actually was disadvantaged from the switch, keep theirs. Again, this is entirely a numerical approach but, if the switch was made for good faith reasons but violated the rules, its a fair resolution. If the teams truly are of equal caliber, than no "no harm" clause seems to apply. Taking both bids only seems fair if there was a bad faith switch of unequal teams.
            And if we are excluding the bad faith issue, the penalty would actually only be fair if the team only has 2 bids, since a team with 3 bids (like Penn State had here) would lose nothing by losing 1 bid and therefore no penalty would actually apply.

            But here's the other problem -- you're only looking at it from the perspective of the program. A gets a tougher field, while B gets an easier one. Except not only does A get a tougher field, but every other team at that regional (with the exception of C/D [whichever one gets sent from that program] who wouldn't be facing their own team anyway). So all of a sudden that second team gets an advantage. Now, assuming the only switch is A/B, you have the A/C regional pairing where A gets a tougher field but C gets an advantage because the competition is dealing with an extra A team. The effect of the switch isn't just on the program teams, but on the remaining teams at the regional. And where the A team is good enough to overcome the disadvantage, that does throw off the competitive balance at the regional.

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            • #36
              That's an interesting point, except both teams at regionals went 7-1. Hard to argue that either region should have had a better team

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              • #37
                Thanks to Penn State for exposing this. This is ridiculous, but unfortunately not particularly surprising. Check out the new section on AMTA's website: http://www.collegemocktrial.org/mock/Sanctions.pdf - or see this past summer's agenda with 50 million proposed amendments to the rules. Are teams in AMTA really so much worse than they've ever been before or are members of the Exec Board just increasingly hell-bent on enforcing a perverted sense of "civility?" I'd submit it's the latter. Take note also that Penn State is student-run. I wonder if things might have been different if they'd had a voice on the Board.

                To announce the possibility of sanctions at a Regionals closing ceremony and then offer no explanation to Penn State for denial of their appeal is totally classless and indefensible. What a shame and an utter disgrace on AMTA's part.

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                • #38
                  I'll not weigh in as to whether swapping A and B teams generally should be subject to sanctions and I lack the information necessary to assess whether such a swap took place here, but I find this result abhorrent given the far more blatant A and B swapping that occurred at nationals last year that went unsanctioned.

                  Edit: Does anyone know if AMTA issued these sanctions nostra sponte or whether a third party petitioned for the sanctions?
                  Last edited by Rhodes_Strasberg; February 24th, 2012, 11:55 PM.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by improper_opinion View Post
                    Take note also that Penn State is student-run. I wonder if things might have been different if they'd had a voice on the Board.
                    Originally posted by Rhodes_Strasberg View Post
                    I find this result abhorrent given the far more blatant A and B swapping that occurred at nationals last year that went unsanctioned.
                    Well, there you go. UVA had a "voice on the board", Penn State doesn't. I'm sure AMTA didn't intentionally play favorites, but it sure looks bad from the outside.
                    With the union my best and dearest earthly hopes are entwined.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Rhodes_Strasberg View Post
                      Edit: Does anyone know if AMTA issued these sanctions nostra sponte or whether a third party petitioned for the sanctions?
                      The EC statement said that teams complained. We asked for what teams and they did not provide any. We asked that the phrase in the EC statement be rephrased to clarify no teams brought personal complaints against us (because we knew of none, the teams that found out about what happened in round expressed empathy for us). Dave stonewalled us and refused.
                      Dominance Beyond All Reasonable Doubt

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Cloud View Post
                        The EC statement said that teams complained. We asked for what teams and they did not provide any. We asked that the phrase in the EC statement be rephrased to clarify no teams brought personal complaints against us (because we knew of none, the teams that found out about what happened in round expressed empathy for us). Dave stonewalled us and refused.
                        Did you speak to every coach and team member at both regionals? I'm not surprised that the EC wouldn't tell you who complained -- what would be the point of that? It doesn't affect the factual basis for the determination. And moreover, the fact that teams can go onto perjuries and post whatever they desire (while AMTA reps/board members cannot), could lead to the public shaming of a team that complained of a rules violation based on incomplete information. There's no good reason for the EC to tell you who complained.

                        As far as being "stonewalled" because you asked for the EC statement to "be rephrased to clarify" that there were no complaints, that's not a rephrasing or a clarification. That's changing what the EC statement said based on your determination that nobody complained. The EC wouldn't need to lie about someone complaining to levy sanctions, so I would guess that if they reference complaints there were complaints.
                        Last edited by The J; February 25th, 2012, 08:34 AM.

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                        • #42
                          Originally posted by improper_opinion View Post
                          Thanks to Penn State for exposing this. This is ridiculous, but unfortunately not particularly surprising. Check out the new section on AMTA's website: http://www.collegemocktrial.org/mock/Sanctions.pdf - or see this past summer's agenda with 50 million proposed amendments to the rules. Are teams in AMTA really so much worse than they've ever been before or are members of the Exec Board just increasingly hell-bent on enforcing a perverted sense of "civility?"
                          There are six sanctions on there. Three of them deal with unauthorized access to the case, i.e., getting the case without paying for it, which is theft of intellectual property. Those clearly aren't about "civility". The other three, one deals with drinking alcohol in a classroom. That could be (and most likely is) a violation of the policies at the host school. One deals with eating/drinking in a courtroom in violation of the rules of the facility. Rules like that need to be enforced because otherwise it could lead to courthouses denying access to mockers. Same with the lack of decorum when dealing with courthouse officials (not AMTA officials mind you, but courthouse officials, which are likely either court officers, judges or law clerks).

                          Asking that team members follow the rules of the building in which they are a guest, and that they show a proper amount of decorum to courthouse employees, are not some "perverted" sense of civility. It's a basic standard of civility. It's about acting like adults. If people are going to ignore the rules, and there's no enforcement of said rules, then why bother having rules?

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                          • #43
                            To me (and many members of the board) the problem with these sanctions is moreso the severity. Even if you accept the argument that Penn State violated a rule, the Board is duty bound to pick an appropriate punishment:

                            AMTA Rule 9.5 (4) FACTORS TO CONSIDER. In determining whether sanctions are appropriate and, if so, which sanctions are appropriate, the Executive Committee shall consider the severity of the conduct and the severity of the possible sanctions. The Executive Committee shall endeavor to impose a sanction no more severe than the conduct warrants. The Executive Committee should also consider the impact any sanction may have on individuals or teams not directly responsible for the conduct, and shall avoid or minimize such impact as appropriate and wherever possible.

                            Removing bids earned is an extremely serious punishment, and one would think that to decide that was appropriate the conduct would need to be blatantly malicious and harmful. Looking at the results of the two regionals NO ONE can argue that any harm came from Penn State's switching their teams. Their "A" team went 7-1 and won the region, dropping a ballot only to Michigan. Their "B" team went 7-1, dropping a ballot to CMU. Their "C" team went 4-3-1, dropping ballots to Miami of Ohio, and winning a bid. And their "D" team went 4-3-1 and didn't get a bid. The results were EXACTLY what the AMTA power placement gurus could have hoped for. As AMTA rule 9.8 clearly states, no harm no foul.

                            But more alarming is the board's blatant disregard for Rule 9.5(4). If you except the events as harmful and worthy of conduct, no one can disagree that these were the actions of the president. He told everyone where to go, and none of the team members knew that anything was wrong. By their own by-laws, the Executive Committee is duty bound to "consider the impact on individuals not directly responsible for the conduct". How about 12/13 of the members of Penn State's A and B teams? The EC made no attempt to "minimize such impact wherever possible." Clearly, the board and the EC wanted to send a message, and in doing so they sent one also about themselves, and how they do business; at the expense of student-run programs who aren't lucky enough to have representation on the Board.
                            Last edited by lionLawyer; February 25th, 2012, 11:30 AM.

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                            • #44
                              I have refrained from commenting so far, mostly because whatever my comments may be, they would ultimately be based on incomplete information. However, the tenor of this thread has taken such a turn that I feel compelled to voice my distaste. Initially, I, like Jay-Z, was impressed with the appeal (though I also felt uncomfortable about the manner in which it was aired). I chose not to come down one way or the other on the merits because there is just no way for us to get the full picture, including with respect to the harmless error issue. Nonetheless, I understood and completely agreed with people's outcry for an explanation and transparency. I also respected, though I didn't necessarily agree with, people's own assessment of the propriety or severity of the sanctions.

                              But the last few posts by members of the Penn State team have disabused me of any sympathy I may have had. Discussing the merits of the appeal is laudable. Questioning the propriety or severity of the sanctions is justifiable. Expressing disappointment is understandable. Making personal attacks on board members, particularly when you control how your one-sided story is presented and when the board members cannot defend themselves, is unforgivable.
                              "You can't steal second with a foot on first."

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by philbertk View Post
                                I have refrained from commenting so far, mostly because whatever my comments may be, they would ultimately be based on incomplete information. However, the tenor of this thread has taken such a turn that I feel compelled to voice my distaste. Initially, I, like Jay-Z, was impressed with the appeal (though I also felt uncomfortable about the manner in which it was aired). I chose not to come down one way or the other on the merits because there is just no way for us to get the full picture, including with respect to the harmless error issue. Nonetheless, I understood and completely agreed with people's outcry for an explanation and transparency. I also respected, though I didn't necessarily agree with, people's own assessment of the propriety or severity of the sanctions.

                                But the last few posts by members of the Penn State team have disabused me of any sympathy I may have had. Discussing the merits of the appeal is laudable. Questioning the propriety or severity of the sanctions is justifiable. Expressing disappointment is understandable. Making personal attacks on board members, particularly when you control how your one-sided story is presented and when the board members cannot defend themselves, is unforgivable.
                                Concur. Y'all might want to settle down before you do damage that extends past this year (if you haven't already).

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