March 15, 2010

Update to Miami NAAC regional results

Well, as I feared, my post yesterday was indeed incorrect. As commenter John B. suggested, a second team from Oklahoma – and not WashU – was named as the fourth regional champion. The confusion apparently centered on a “missing” ballot in the round. As many of you know, the break rounds of the NAAC are determined by the team winning a majority of the ballots. If there are five judges, the team who wins three or more ballots wins the round. On the other hand, if the ballots are tied, it then goes to points (indeed, one of my own teams won its regional final this way, tying two ballots to two but winning on total points). Well, in the regional final between Oklahoma and WashU, on first tally, there were only four countable ballots (despite there being five judges in the room). On points, WashU was ahead, and was therefore declared the winner. At some point, however, a fifth ballot surfaced, which was in favor of Oklahoma. Based on the new ballot, the previous announcement was reversed.

I know the folks who run the ABA NAAC well, and I’m certain there’s a good explanation for the confusion. But man oh man, do I ever feel for WashU’s team, who experienced the joy of thinking they had secured a regional championship, only to learn 30 minutes later that a lost ballot had mysteriously surfaced to sink their chances. On a larger level, I think this further goes to show the importance of transparency in administration of competitions. I’m sure the ABA isn’t thrilled about the confusion, but I’m likewise sure they’re happy that their transparency policy allowed this to come to light and be addressed. As for what happens in this case, we’ll have to wait and see – my hope is that WashU’s second squad will be invited to Chicago as a 25th team, which I think would eliminate any questions that either WashU or Oklahoma could raise…

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

In addition, the speakers representing Washington University in that final round (the round effected by the mysterious missing ballot) were initially awarded first and second speaker. As John B pointed out, due to a separate error, they were later informed that they were in fact second and third, only to learn about the missing ballot shortly thereafter.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the thoughtful comments here. We are still hopefully and anxiously awaiting word from the ABA Competition Committee as of the time I am posting this comment.
From the standpoint of a pure fan, the OU v. WUSL round at issue was amazing. There were many excellent, creative questions from red hot panel. Conor, Emily, Jessica and Sophie were all fantastic in both substance and style. Well before any results were announced, I told several people it was best moot court round I had ever witnessed in my twenty or so years of competing, judging and coaching,-- as indeed it was. Mark Zoole, Coach, WUSL

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately for my three outstanding students on 167 (Joe Whitfield, Jess Mendez and Sophie Wang), the ABA is declining to invite that team as a 25th participant in Chicago. Congratulations to the terrific competitors on Oklahoma's 228. The NAAC is an excellent competition and this incident in no way diminishes my high regard for the fabulous job its people do in running the tournaments. We still have one team going on (making this the fifth year in a row we have sent one or more teams to National Finals in Chicago!), and we still very proud of that. Mark Zoole, WUSL

John B. said...

John B. had a somewhat personal stake in the matter, as he ended up the first speaker after the error (assigning him the wrong first round score) was corrected.

However, Chapman would trade places with the advancing teams in a heartbeat. Coach is right - the WUSL teams were very impressive.