The Eighth Man

USQ Awards Incorrect Team Regional Title

Credit: US Quidditch

Another Northwest Regional Championship, another controversy. Confused about what went down tonight? We’ve got a primer to clear it all up for you.

What happened?
The format for the tournament was a single round robin in which every team played every other team once. At the end of the round robin, three teams finished with a 4-1 record: the Boise State University Abraxans, Utah State University and Provo Quidditch. Based on the USQ tiebreaker policy, Provo received third place, Boise State received second and a US Quidditch Cup 10 bid and Utah State received first place and a bid.

Via @USQScores

Why is there controversy?
It quickly became apparent to many that USQ may have utilized their tiebreaker policy incorrectly. What USQ chose to do in this case is use point differential to eliminate Provo from the tiebreaker, and then, with only two teams left, award Utah State first place for winning the head-to-head matchup. But, according to the policy, a three-way tie should be broken as follows:

“In the case of a multiple team tie when more than two teams are tied, normal tie-breaking procedures shall be used. If at any point within the tie-breaking procedure one or more of the the teams are eliminated, the procedure shall then revert to the beginning of the tiebreaker list with the remaining teams. If a team is eliminated in a round of the tiebreaker procedure, that team shall not be eligible to be ranked above the teams which remained after that round. If two teams are eliminated simultaneously, but were not tied in that step, then those eliminated teams shall be ranked against each other based on their standing in that step. If the eliminated teams were tied in the eliminating step, they shall revert to the beginning of the tiebreaker procedure.”

The short version of the above is that you only eliminate a single team from the tiebreaking procedure and start over at step one with the remaining teams if they were the only team separated out by that tie-breaking step. For example, if Boise State and Utah State had identical point differentials and Provo had a worse one, then only Provo could be separated out at that step. But, in this case, all three teams had different point differentials, so the entire three-way tie should have been broken at that step, earning Boise State the regional title.

What has happened in the immediate aftermath?
The medal ceremony went on after the decision, with Utah State being awarded the first place medals and Northwest Regional Championship trophy. The USQ Scores Twitter account tweeted out that though the official scores document, which is created by the USQ Gameplay Coordinators and has the built-in capability to calculate tiebreakers, shows Boise State as first place, it simply has incorrect information.

Via @USQScores

That tweet was then subsequently deleted. Beyond that, the tournament has officially ended and USQ is preparing a statement.

Who made this decision?
There were no USQ Event Gameplay Coordinators at the Northwest Regional Championship. Early reports seem to confirm said coordinators were not consulted, and the decision was made by on-site staff, likely Executive Director Sarah Woolsey and Events Director Mary Kimball.

What was the final conclusion?
USQ released a statement around 11:54 pm ET regarding the mistake.

USQ sincerely apologizes to all players and teams, especially to Boise State and Utah State, for this error. We understand that our players expect better of USQ, and we are sorry that we have fallen short of this standard,” the statement said. “We have personally contacted the leaders of the directly impacted teams to apologize and to remedy this error, and we are committed to ensuring that mistakes of this nature do not happen again.”

Utah State has been instructed to collect the first place medals and trophy to ship to Boise State as soon as possible. The silver medals will be sent to Utah.

“I’m honestly really embarrassed by the situation. For USQ, but more so for the families, friends, fans and especially the players of USQC,” said Paul Davis of Utah State, who made the final grab for the team to beat Boise.

You can read USQ’s full statement here.

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