Breaking news out of Burlington is a last minute postponement of the 2012 Northwest Women’s Conference Championships for a weekend. News out of Victoria is this may force the the 4th ranked team in a 3-bid region to be unable to attend the following weekend and by consequence, Regionals.
Score Reporter notes the postponement is to “ensure the use of a fair and USA Ultimate approved tournament format.”
More information as the situation develops.
Update 4/15 [Adam Lerman]:
USA Ultimate specifies very specific formats to be used at College and Club Series events. You can find the USAU Formats Manual here [PDF].
Here’s our understanding of what happened:
- On Friday morning, Score Reporter said that the tournament would be Sunday-only. The format was a 7-team bracket where each team would get 2 or 3 games. This isn’t an approved format.
- Teams were told that the format wasn’t acceptable, and they would have to play a 2-day tournament this weekend. Fields weren’t reserved for Saturday.
- A couple hours later, teams were told that the tournament was moved to the following weekend.
- Teams were then told that the tournament would be going ahead this weekend.
- At about 7:00 PM, a revised 2-day schedule was posted with games starting at 2:00 PM. The format was basically what is in the Formats Manual, modified for only having 2 fields on Saturday. Multiple teams said that the format wasn’t acceptable because of their travel requirements.
- Just before midnight, teams were told the tournament would be played next weekend instead.
We received an email from Andy Lee, Director of Marketing and Communications for USA Ultimate. Here’s what he had to say about the situation:
There is an assumption here teams were alerted of a potential issue on Friday. That isn’t true. Teams were made aware of the situation on Thursday, immediately after USA Ultimate was made aware of the incorrect (Sunday only) format.
Also, Fields were indeed reserved and insurance certificates were issued for BOTH Saturday AND Sunday. This actually created some confusion over the format because it was assumed that since the field site was reserved and insured for both days, it would use the required 2-day format.
Your timeline also references that teams were communicated to on 4 separate occasions with changes. Also not true. Changes to the schedule/format were made twice. On Friday, a schedule was sent to teams that included a format to be played on the original dates, including both Saturday & Sunday. When several teams communicated that they could not play on Saturday, the decision was made to reschedule the event to the backup weekend and teams were informed.
In this particular instance, we weighed heavily the negative impact on the teams cause by making last minute changes to the schedule and that a number of alternative 1-day formats that would have prevented any major scheduling changes were considered. Unfortunately, given the number of teams and bids to be determined, all of the alternative 1-day formats we explored would have resulted in unacceptable problems in determining elimination of teams from the series, as well as seeding placements for Regionals. It is imperative that these elements of the overall series competition are handled fairly. Once it was determined that a 2-day format was necessary, an attempt was made to use the same weekend, including shifting the scheduling to later in the day to accommodate travel issues that arose from the late notification. Only after several teams expressed an inability to participate with this schedule was the decision made to move the event to the backup weekend (and only after confirming that all teams could make the rescheduled weekend). We are currently working with all the teams involved to facilitate participation and a fair format.
Given all of the circumstances, we feel that the appropriate decision was made for this event, however we will continue to review our already thorough format approval and communication process to help catch scheduling problems and communicate with teams in a more reasonable timeframe.
The University of Victoria UVixens have confirmed that they will be sending a team of 7 players to the conference tournament this weekend.