Ohio 2016

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby meteorology125 » April 11th, 2016, 6:02 pm

I would mainly like to address this to chalker but for anyone who has insight please feel free to chime in. I feel terrible for all the students and parents involved especially at Mentor. Out of curiosity I wanted to ask if the national team limit for Ohio could theoretically be raised by the national coordinator given the situation. I feel as though if there was ever a time to raise that limit, now would be that time.
While raising the team limit for Ohio seems to be a good idea, it also brings up the question whether Tower Heights in division B should be allowed to go in that case. They were third by a closer margin than Mentor. Also, Westlake was third last year by one point, but no exception was made for them. It is very unlikely that the national committee will make an exception now considering this is how it's been for many years. At this point, it has been decided that Centerville is going to nationals and that will not change. I believe that the decision was well thought out and fair and it is no use further discussing it.
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby samlan16 » April 11th, 2016, 6:10 pm

I would mainly like to address this to chalker but for anyone who has insight please feel free to chime in. I feel terrible for all the students and parents involved especially at Mentor. Out of curiosity I wanted to ask if the national team limit for Ohio could theoretically be raised by the national coordinator given the situation. I feel as though if there was ever a time to raise that limit, now would be that time.
They would likely have to cut a team from another state to accommodate a third Ohio team.
Remember, we are proud of every team that participated and you are all winners.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby [noy_tou] » April 11th, 2016, 6:12 pm

Formercoach wrote:
As I see it, the students violated the pledge of ethics that they all sign as participants in Science Olympiad. If I were their coach, I would have insisted that the penalty be a DQ or a tier, as I do not at all want anyone on my team to think that I would ever permit or condone such behavior. I have it on good authority that a number of the other head coaches have similar feelings.

I think this is the point that I am trying to get at. I simply can't understand how their actions can be rewarded, because that makes absolutely no sense to me.
Chalker mentioned that they were down the hall and around the corner from the room, so I think that shows they didn't want to be seen when people were going around to the different buildings to find their location.
I also understand that they weren't testing braking distance, because nobody had that opportunity. However, friction on that specific floor has a huge impact on what they were testing, and they clearly went into that building to gain that advantage. They point out rule 4f, "on or adjacent to the track surface". The track surface was the same where they were testing it. I am confused why that part of the question is up for debate there. However, I pointed out a few times that even if there is a debate whether or not their actions qualify as cheating, I still do not think those students aligned with the Code of Ethics they agreed to. I realize that the "spirit of the competition" is not defined, and maybe the Centerville coaches are correct that testing, calibrating, and modifying vehicles is a part of that. However, I hope that, for the sake of all past, present, and future competitors, that the spirit of the Science Olympiad program means a little bit more than that. I hope that everybody hold the spirit of competition to be one of respect, honesty, kindness, and fairness, rather than testing, calibrating, and modifying.
And, I would like to add that any part of this comment, my past comments, or any possible future comments that seem derogatory or disrespectful is not written with that intent. I am commenting solely for the purpose of promoting honest and clean debate, not anything to drag others down. Perhaps in the heat of my comment typing my message came off more malicious than I intended it to be, and I fully apologize for any confusion or harm that may have caused.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby Private Wang Fire » April 11th, 2016, 6:15 pm

I would mainly like to address this to chalker but for anyone who has insight please feel free to chime in. I feel terrible for all the students and parents involved especially at Mentor. Out of curiosity I wanted to ask if the national team limit for Ohio could theoretically be raised by the national coordinator given the situation. I feel as though if there was ever a time to raise that limit, now would be that time.
While raising the team limit for Ohio seems to be a good idea, it also brings up the question whether Tower Heights in division B should be allowed to go in that case. They were third by a closer margin than Mentor. Also, Westlake was third last year by one point, but no exception was made for them. It is very unlikely that the national committee will make an exception now considering this is how it's been for many years. At this point, it has been decided that Centerville is going to nationals and that will not change. I believe that the decision was well thought out and fair and it is no use further discussing it.

Coming from a school in Ohio that falls short at state every year, raising the limit to 3 teams sounds appealing - the discussion was had last year after Westlake lost by a point as well. But IMO it doesn't make sense to make an exception now, after all this time, despite the extraordinary circumstances. Mentor got played hardcore though, what an awful way to cap off a season.
MASON HIGH SCHOOL '18

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby Private Wang Fire » April 11th, 2016, 6:24 pm

Formercoach wrote:
As I see it, the students violated the pledge of ethics that they all sign as participants in Science Olympiad. If I were their coach, I would have insisted that the penalty be a DQ or a tier, as I do not at all want anyone on my team to think that I would ever permit or condone such behavior. I have it on good authority that a number of the other head coaches have similar feelings.

I think this is the point that I am trying to get at. I simply can't understand how their actions can be rewarded, because that makes absolutely no sense to me.
Chalker mentioned that they were down the hall and around the corner from the room, so I think that shows they didn't want to be seen when people were going around to the different buildings to find their location.
I also understand that they weren't testing braking distance, because nobody had that opportunity. However, friction on that specific floor has a huge impact on what they were testing, and they clearly went into that building to gain that advantage. They point out rule 4f, "on or adjacent to the track surface". The track surface was the same where they were testing it. I am confused why that part of the question is up for debate there. However, I pointed out a few times that even if there is a debate whether or not their actions qualify as cheating, I still do not think those students aligned with the Code of Ethics they agreed to. I realize that the "spirit of the competition" is not defined, and maybe the Centerville coaches are correct that testing, calibrating, and modifying vehicles is a part of that. However, I hope that, for the sake of all past, present, and future competitors, that the spirit of the Science Olympiad program means a little bit more than that. I hope that everybody hold the spirit of competition to be one of respect, honesty, kindness, and fairness, rather than testing, calibrating, and modifying.
And, I would like to add that any part of this comment, my past comments, or any possible future comments that seem derogatory or disrespectful is not written with that intent. I am commenting solely for the purpose of promoting honest and clean debate, not anything to drag others down. Perhaps in the heat of my comment typing my message came off more malicious than I intended it to be, and I fully apologize for any confusion or harm that may have caused.
While it's valid argument that they did go into the building to gain an advantage, I don't really see how rule 4f clearly bans them from trying to calibrate on the same surface of competition. Moreover, in previous years vehicle events like Scrambler or even events this year, the state tournament people have sent out a message clearly saying that people couldn't test in the same building before competition, but that wasn't a thing for EV until after Centerville was found. With these factors in mind, combined with the fact that as you mentioned, friction and braking distance (which you can still test for without knowing the actual distance), are critically important for some EV designs, so it was a logically choice to go test Friday night especially considering that they were never specifically prohibited.

However, I do feel that a 5 point penalty is rather light - it accounts for what I feel is around the minimum drop in placings that would've happened had they not been able to test the night before. But without specific details on their vehicle that's all speculation.
MASON HIGH SCHOOL '18

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby Apple_Nut » April 11th, 2016, 6:31 pm

I would mainly like to address this to chalker but for anyone who has insight please feel free to chime in. I feel terrible for all the students and parents involved especially at Mentor. Out of curiosity I wanted to ask if the national team limit for Ohio could theoretically be raised by the national coordinator given the situation. I feel as though if there was ever a time to raise that limit, now would be that time.
While raising the team limit for Ohio seems to be a good idea, it also brings up the question whether Tower Heights in division B should be allowed to go in that case. They were third by a closer margin than Mentor. Also, Westlake was third last year by one point, but no exception was made for them. It is very unlikely that the national committee will make an exception now considering this is how it's been for many years. At this point, it has been decided that Centerville is going to nationals and that will not change. I believe that the decision was well thought out and fair and it is no use further discussing it.
When Westlake got third place by one point they got third place fair and square. Nothing happened to them. They were not announced as being in the top two and having that title removed from them. These are clearly different situations that I feel you cannot apply previous decisions made to. The margin between the two teams, in this case Mentor and Centerville has nothing to do with the situation. If the scores had been properly announced Mentor would not be in a state of emotional distress as they are now.
[b][u]Regionals 2016[/u][/b]
Electric Vehicle: 2nd
Game On: 1st
Wind Power: 1st
Wright Stuff: 1st

[b]Team: 1st[/b]

[u][b]States 2016[/b][/u]
Electric Vehicle: 1st
Wind Power: 8th

[b]Team: 7th[/b]
Regionals 2017
Electric Vehicle: 4th
Wind Power: 1st
Remote Sensing: 3rd
Robot Arm: 7th

Team: 1st

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby EastStroudsburg13 » April 11th, 2016, 6:32 pm

Formercoach wrote:
As I see it, the students violated the pledge of ethics that they all sign as participants in Science Olympiad. If I were their coach, I would have insisted that the penalty be a DQ or a tier, as I do not at all want anyone on my team to think that I would ever permit or condone such behavior. I have it on good authority that a number of the other head coaches have similar feelings.

I think this is the point that I am trying to get at. I simply can't understand how their actions can be rewarded, because that makes absolutely no sense to me.
Why are we continuing to assume that Centerville was deliberately trying to get away with something? Why are we so quick to jump to the conclusion that other teams are trying to subjugate the rules? If they were deliberately trying to gain an advantage, what Centerville did was probably the most tame way to go about that. And, as such, they were penalized for it, but calls for DQ's are, in my opinion, extremely out of line. If all event supervisors jumped to DQ every single transgression, Science Olympiad would be a very toxic environment indeed.

It is natural that people have strong opinions right now. I get that. But I definitely think it is clouding our judgment a bit, and we've started to label teams and individuals some very, very harmful things. In addition, we've started to make overarching statements that sound good in these circumstances, but could be very detrimental in others. Nothing is, or should be, absolute, in order to continue fostering a healthy competitive environment.

Bottom line: these situations are unfortunate, but also sometimes unavoidable. Everyone is human, and mistakes are always possible. Does it suck to give a team joy and then take it away? Yes, absolutely. But it's not okay to point the finger at specific people or teams for letting it happen, because in the end, they're all human. We make mistakes, and try to atone for them the best we can.

Personally, given the set of circumstances, I think the directors and supervisors did the best possible job they could have. And I applaud chalker for doing so much more than he needs to and addressing everyone's concerns, and I really think we ought to be showing him more gratitude for being so accessible as opposed to insinuating he is corrupt or at fault, or emphasizing how upset everyone is.
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby meteorology125 » April 11th, 2016, 6:37 pm

I would mainly like to address this to chalker but for anyone who has insight please feel free to chime in. I feel terrible for all the students and parents involved especially at Mentor. Out of curiosity I wanted to ask if the national team limit for Ohio could theoretically be raised by the national coordinator given the situation. I feel as though if there was ever a time to raise that limit, now would be that time.
While raising the team limit for Ohio seems to be a good idea, it also brings up the question whether Tower Heights in division B should be allowed to go in that case. They were third by a closer margin than Mentor. Also, Westlake was third last year by one point, but no exception was made for them. It is very unlikely that the national committee will make an exception now considering this is how it's been for many years. At this point, it has been decided that Centerville is going to nationals and that will not change. I believe that the decision was well thought out and fair and it is no use further discussing it.
When Westlake got third place by one point they got third place fair and square. Nothing happened to them. They were not announced as being in the top two and having that title removed from them. These are clearly different situations that I feel you cannot apply previous decisions made to. The margin between the two teams, in this case Mentor and Centerville has nothing to do with the situation. If the scores had been properly announced Mentor would not be in a state of emotional distress as they are now.
I'm not saying that Westlake should have gone to nationals. I'm saying that we shouldn't let an extra team go due to sympathy. Just because there was an error during the awards doesn't justify them going to nationals more than any other third place team.
2015 Events: Anatomy and Physiology, Crave the Wave, Entomology, Meteorology, Picture This, Road Scholar, and Simple Machines

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby rfscoach » April 11th, 2016, 6:42 pm

Formercoach wrote:
As I see it, the students violated the pledge of ethics that they all sign as participants in Science Olympiad. If I were their coach, I would have insisted that the penalty be a DQ or a tier, as I do not at all want anyone on my team to think that I would ever permit or condone such behavior. I have it on good authority that a number of the other head coaches have similar feelings.

I think this is the point that I am trying to get at. I simply can't understand how their actions can be rewarded, because that makes absolutely no sense to me.
Why are we continuing to assume that Centerville was deliberately trying to get away with something? Why are we so quick to jump to the conclusion that other teams are trying to subjugate the rules? If they were deliberately trying to gain an advantage, what Centerville did was probably the most tame way to go about that. And, as such, they were penalized for it, but calls for DQ's are, in my opinion, extremely out of line. If all event supervisors jumped to DQ every single transgression, Science Olympiad would be a very toxic environment indeed.

It is natural that people have strong opinions right now. I get that. But I definitely think it is clouding our judgment a bit, and we've started to label teams and individuals some very, very harmful things. In addition, we've started to make overarching statements that sound good in these circumstances, but could be very detrimental in others. Nothing is, or should be, absolute, in order to continue fostering a healthy competitive environment.

Bottom line: these situations are unfortunate, but also sometimes unavoidable. Everyone is human, and mistakes are always possible. Does it suck to give a team joy and then take it away? Yes, absolutely. But it's not okay to point the finger at specific people or teams for letting it happen, because in the end, they're all human. We make mistakes, and try to atone for them the best we can.

Personally, given the set of circumstances, I think the directors and supervisors did the best possible job they could have. And I applaud chalker for doing so much more than he needs to and addressing everyone's concerns, and I really think we ought to be showing him more gratitude for being so accessible as opposed to insinuating he is corrupt or at fault, or emphasizing how upset everyone is.
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby chalker » April 11th, 2016, 6:49 pm

I for one am sickened over this whole thing. I think the real question should be (and I feel qualified to have an opinion as I am a Mentor parent) "How can we make sure such a heart wrenching, careless mistake, never ever happens again at any invitational, let alone states?" I am so very, very sad for these Mentor kids that we are even in this situation. Why are they being made to feel they need to defend anything? They worked as hard as anyone there and were made to believe they did it!
I appreciate you coming here to comment and again apologize for the emotional rollercoaster my mistake caused. I'm not sure why you said the Mentor kids are being made to defend anything, as I haven't seen ANY accusations against anyone from Mentor. Can you please clarify this?
We watched them cheer and celebrate in tears with teammates, friends and family only to have that joy ripped away! and why? because you said they won and then changed your mind! They were so close they held the second place trophy in their hands, dancing and taking photos only to listen in heartbreak to a grown woman yelling that their team "DID NOT EARN THE SECOND PLACE TROPHY!"
I didn't witness what you stated about a woman yelling at the team, but have high confidence it wasn't someone associated with the tournament since we were all huddled with the coaches for a long time. I'll also point out that Mentor is keeping ALL the trophies and medals they were handed at the ceremony. We never ask for teams / students to return medals. Additional appropriate medals / trophies will be ordered for Centerville to have.
So, while you worry yourselves over the fact that you dare not let more than two teams from Ohio go to Nationals, try to find it within yourselves to put policies in place that guard against this hurt in the future. I truly know this error was not made on purpose. But just like you are so very sure the penalty for doing something questionable at states is only five points, be very sure that Centerville has the right scores in the future because if not, another innocent school will suffer.
As I indicated previously in this thread, whether 2 or 3 teams from Ohio can go to Nationals is purely left up to the National Office. I can only advocate for it, which I have strongly. No-one in Ohio has any actual ability to make the decision.

I'd love for there to be a way I can assure you (and everyone) that there will never be a mistake in the future, but the reality is it's just not possible. Science Olympiad tournaments are severely resource constrained in many ways:
-the majority of the ~200 people helping run a typical tournament are unpaid volunteers that aren't necessarily highly trained, and virtually every one at some point handles raw data that is used for scoring purposes
-there is very limited funding available that can be applied to technology (hardware / software / etc) to aide in the scoring process
-there are ~2,000 individual ranks to calculate, using ~100,000 raw data points (e.g. individual question answer, device measurements, etc)
-there is typically only ~3 hours between when the events end and the awards ceremony starts during which we have to process all that data

We do have a series of checks and balances built into the scoring process (if you are interested you can read about it here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/soscor ... f/download ) and are always open to concrete suggestions and ideas on how to improve the process.
Out of curiosity I wanted to ask if the national team limit for Ohio could theoretically be raised by the national coordinator given the situation. I feel as though if there was ever a time to raise that limit, now would be that time.
Anything is theoretically possible by the National Office. But as I and others have pointed out, similar situations have occurred in the past in other states (and have been documented on this site and elsewhere. They have a policy and process they abide by, not to mention the fact that we are just a few weeks away from a tournament that has taken over 2 years for the local people to prepare all the logistics for, most of which are finalized at this point.
I simply can't understand how their actions can be rewarded, because that makes absolutely no sense to me.
I think this is the crux of the differences in opinions. Many people are saying Centerville is 'being rewarded'. Others, including myself, are saying they were penalized appropriately, it just so happens that still results in them going to Nationals. As I stated at the very start of this thread, it comes down to debating the magnitude of an arbitrarily set penalty.
Chalker mentioned that they were down the hall and around the corner from the room, so I think that shows they didn't want to be seen when people were going around to the different buildings to find their location.
To be clear, I didn't state that, the Centerville coaches stated that on their appeals form. In reality they weren't 'around the corner', but 'past a corner'. The picture I saw was taken from the vantage point of the doorway of the event room. Anybody who went to look at the room would have obviously seen them. They were clearly not trying to hide.
they clearly went into that building to gain that advantage. They point out rule 4f, "on or adjacent to the track surface". The track surface was the same where they were testing it. I am confused why that part of the question is up for debate there.
The part under debate is more focused on the 'between the Starting and Target lines' part of 4.f. Those didn't exist at the time they were in the hallway, and even once they did exist, their location wasn't even remotely close to being between the lines.
And, I would like to add that any part of this comment, my past comments, or any possible future comments that seem derogatory or disrespectful is not written with that intent. I am commenting solely for the purpose of promoting honest and clean debate, not anything to drag others down. Perhaps in the heat of my comment typing my message came off more malicious than I intended it to be, and I fully apologize for any confusion or harm that may have caused.
Thanks for clarifying that.
Does it suck to give a team joy and then take it away? Yes, absolutely. But it's not okay to point the finger at specific people or teams for letting it happen, because in the end, they're all human. We make mistakes, and try to atone for them the best we can.
Personally, given the set of circumstances, I think the directors and supervisors did the best possible job they could have. And I applaud chalker for doing so much more than he needs to and addressing everyone's concerns, and I really think we ought to be showing him more gratitude for being so accessible as opposed to insinuating he is corrupt or at fault, or emphasizing how upset everyone is.
To be clear again: the scoring mistake is all mine and mine alone. I'm completely responsible and have no issue with people pointing that out. I also fully understand why so many of these questions and topics are being brought up, and don't fault anyone for trying to explore all possible avenues. I hope my responses have been helpful to the overall situation and in particular to the Mentor students.

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