Ohio 2016

Crazy Puny Man
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby Crazy Puny Man » April 11th, 2016, 7:03 pm

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 "track surface" had technically not been defined at the time Centerville was testing. Also, if they were testing in the hallway instead of the actual testing room, then they were neither on the actual track nor were they adjacent to it, technically speaking.

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.
What stopped other teams from doing the same thing? If there was no explicit prohibition against it at the time, and other teams could have gone in that building to test, how does that make it an unfair advantage?

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.
I think you're taking those words a bit too literally. Obviously the spirit of competition doesn't include just those aspects (I'd also like to point out that the coach said "spirit of the problem"), but the spirit of competition also includes, well, competition.

I would just like to say that I'm quite disturbed at the fact that teams were videotaping Centerville testing their EV near the competition. I honestly believe that those who were taping it were acting much more out of the spirit of the competition than those running the EV.
I have no evidence there was any videotaping done. While it has been mentioned here on the thread, we were only provided with a single photo and there was never any comment about additional photos / videos (nor were they requested as Centerville confirmed what they were doing). I'd also like to point out my strong belief that observing / taking pictures of other teams in public is NOT against the spirit of the competition. I've posted about this before here and encourage everyone to read it: http://scioly.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php? ... re#p287852 To summarize my thoughts: by trying to be all secretive about device designs at events that are open to the public, a disservice is being done to the mission of SO
I think what Bazinga is getting at is that (s)he got the sense that the teams were recording Centerville just for the sake of catching them "cheating" on tape, and using it as evidence against them. I personally find this unsettling as well.

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.
^Agreed. Chalker, thank you for being transparent with everything and taking the time to lay out what happened and address everyone's concerns in the midst of all this snowflurry.
Last edited by Crazy Puny Man on April 11th, 2016, 7:04 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby [noy_tou] » April 11th, 2016, 7:03 pm

Chalker, I want to thank you for continually responding to these comments when you are under no obligation to do so. I think it is pretty clear that I do not agree with the way that everything turned out, and I (and numerous other people) keep raising questions and reactions to the information provided. I commend your endeavors to answer these questions to the best of your ability and explain what the coaches and arbitrators thought. Hopefully, things can work out in a way that pleases everybody as much as possible.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby fishman100 » April 11th, 2016, 7:18 pm

I'm a little late to the conversation, but when I was a freshman I decided to test my Gravity Vehicle the night before Regionals in the room where the event was held (albeit in a completely different area from where the track was set up). We ran into some tournament officials who were setting up as we left (so none of the track was in place when we tested) and they pretty much DQ'd me on the spot on the basis that I was cheating/trying to gain an unfair advantage. We ended up appealing but it was denied. However, when the VASO board reviewed the decision at their annual end-of-season meeting, all of the board members agreed that the decision to DQ me on those claims were incorrect.

I don't think VASO has an official rule banning competitors from testing on or near the testing location, but most of the teams know about the incident and avoid doing anything like it.

Of course, there's only so much one can do to prevent this. For example: 2 years ago, Scrambler was held in a hallway. Who's to say that the Scrambler team from the host school didn't use that exact same hallway for testing prior to the tournament? And even if they didn't, all of the hallways are constructed from the same material, so if they tested in any hallway, they would therefore be testing on the same floor as the test track. However, VASO never saw that as an issue, and it would be unreasonable to monitor that team to ensure they didn't "cheat", so nobody was penalize or even accused of cheating. Thus, the decision regarding this rule is highly situational.

Just my $0.02.
Last edited by fishman100 on April 11th, 2016, 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby varunscs11 » April 11th, 2016, 7:23 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.
I highly doubt that would happen. To be honest there are a lot of states deserving of a 3rd spot due to competitiveness (Ohio, Texas, New York, etc) but that would mean that another state would not get an opportunity to compete at Nationals. As Chalker has stated in the past, the 60 team limit is due to the logistics of Nationals. This is a long time ago but in 2004, Kealing officially lost to the 1st place team by one point but after the awards ceremony a scoring error was discovered and Kealing should have actually won, but Kealing was not allowed to compete at Nationals. I sympathize with both sides: I can understand Centerville's reasoning for testing their device but I also can understand the disappointment Mentor feels. I believe that the arbitrations committee acted within their prerogative and from where I come, the "punishment" was quite lenient and I believe that it was justified. In Texas crazy stuff happens. Like in 2013, Seven Lakes was disqualified in Mission Possible because they took out their phone and handed it to their parents before entering the testing area. So in comparison to that, Ohio's decision was very logical and not ridiculous. But I think as part of the Science Olympiad Community we should not be criticizing the people that make Science Olympiad possible. We should just let the event go and I know it will be hard for the people involved in the event and that is understandable.
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby syo_astro » April 11th, 2016, 7:54 pm

I also wanted to reemphasize your point varuncs. New York for many years has had a 3rd place team typically deserving or quite quite close to the 2nd place team (I recall 2011 ESPECIALLY off the top of my head, ONE event for 3rd and 4th might have let one get to nats). It seems just to give it to OH, but it is an issue that is constrained by space alone among other things and year after year a third team is never given as states with even one team (Indiana comes to mind) can have the top get pretty competitive. Why not them, why not TX, NY, or heck even No/SoCals? I just wanted to not get people's hopes up on this specific point because it is improbable for many reasons (this is another one of those super close circumstances that may warrant employing the argument, but I could point to this being proposed many times over both today, in the past, and for practicality's sake alone...it is difficult to get going justifiably and decide who gets that extra team in general is my point).

I don't want to sound unsympathetic as I've been there in the no nats spot but at the top 5 of NYS every year when I competed. It is heart breaking, and one should commend the top of OH in general as they are all amazing teams. I want to note that there have been a lot of comments going around especially aimed to get chalker to respond (which he seems to do for the most part anyway). As he said, we who try to run tournaments are volunteers, and he is as anyone quite busy. I don't mean to be saying drop the debate or discussion, but there has been ~6 pages in 2 days, which doesn't count the other questions he has probably gotten by email/PM. This is in fact pretty typical from what I've seen when debates go on about contestable issues within scioly, but typically these types of long debates get lost and misled because of the multitude of views that are stated. As a result, not much is done, though I'm sure chalker being generally active in soinc will result in more foresight about such circumstances for the future, which is at least some consolation compared to if this happened elsewhere.
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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby BelieveinSteven » April 11th, 2016, 7:59 pm

While everyone here is in conflict, it seems we all agree that action needs to be taken to prevent this from occurring again. Personally, I do not believe teams are being discouraged to ignore, manipulate, or ‘misinterpret' the rules if they see that Centerville got off with only a five point team penalty, which is hardly anything compared to what it could and possible should have been (the 1000 point penalty to the EV score would have resulted in a 33 point penalty for the entire team. In comparison to that, a five point penalty is negligible). I understand that this was a close competition so a five point penalty could have been the difference between Centerville qualifying for nationals or not, but it still seems to be an extremely lenient punishment for a team who clearly pushed the boundaries of what what acceptable without so much as asking for permission or clarification from event coordinators. If they were not using this situation to gain an unfair advantage, they should have submitted an FRQ and waited for a response before taking what was bound to be a controversial action.

As for those who are comparing this to past events where teams were treated unfairly:
Just because unfortunate situations arose in the past where other teams were not treated fairly, that does not mean that it should be permitted to happen again. Your reasoning is basically saying “Well, this issue has always existed, so why bother changing it now? Besides, it would be unfair to the teams who were mistreated in the past.” If we always settle on the decisions of the past, how are we ever to grow and improve? Realize that change needs to come about at some point, and there are always people who will just barely miss out on the positive effects of a change. While it is unfortunate that some teams have been mistreated, it is better to invoke change now instead of accepting poor policy simply because “life is unfair.” Rather than being so willing to leave things as they are, we should focus on using this as an opportunity to improve Science Olympiad.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby BelieveinSteven » April 11th, 2016, 8:00 pm

*possibly

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby MrPillowcase » April 11th, 2016, 8:13 pm

I think it is high time that Ohio sent three teams to Nationals. I realize that this would take a few years to get fixed, but the sheer level of talent in Ohio leads me to believe that Ohio deserves an extra spot. Heck, California gets to send four teams (yes, I realize they have two separate State tournaments). This whole mess seems like more of a sportsmanship issue than anything else, and perhaps it would be worth it to prevent future mishaps by allowing a third team from Ohio. If the system we use today for determining how many teams each state sends to Nationals was set in place 30 years ago, I think it would be worth the time to adjust the number of teams, not just for Ohio but for each state. If 60 teams go to Nationals, some states have to already sending more than 2 teams.

Also, I feel bad that Mentor had their place revoked due to an error in tallying, but at the same time, they should realize that Centerville probably felt just as bad when they found out that they had gotten 4th place. The thing is, Mentor would have come out in third anyway, it just sucks that they had to experience false hope. We're all human, and we all make mistakes from time to time. And for Centerville to still come out in 2nd even with a penalty against them just shows how strong of a team they are. I'm sure we all expect them to achieve great things at Nationals. You too, Solon. There are high expectations for you guys as well. Even if Mentor doesn't get to go to Nationals this year, I'm sure they will attend in fighting spirit alongside Centerville and Solon and then come back fully loaded next year.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby BelieveinSteven » April 11th, 2016, 8:19 pm

As a side note, I am from a team that has been treated unfairly in a similar way before. Despite that, I would not be upset if regulations were imposed that prevented this from happening again, and I am actually in full support of such regulations. I know what it feels like to lose everything you worked for just because of an unfair ruling, and I do not want Mentor or any other teams to suffer as my team did. And I'm pretty confident that other teams who have been victims of flaws in the system would feel the same way. While we may still be upset about the outcomes of our own particular situations, that does not mean we want future teams to be treated in the same way we were.

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Re: Ohio 2016

Postby samlan16 » April 11th, 2016, 8:23 pm

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.
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