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Discussion: OCIN plans to change rules on US Relays Champs

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 9, 2006 3:15 AM # 
Details will follow
Feb 9, 2006 5:06 AM # 
After the flurry of posts on the ClubNet today, I was wondering when this topic was going to make it to Attackpoint. Here we go.

I'll leave it to others to discuss the more outrageous proposed changes. But what disturbes me is the seemingly innocuous proposal to make 35-39 year old men still worth 0 points. All that will accomplish is to make it even harder for a club to put its best 4 orienteers together on the same team. Granted, as a BAOCer I am not exactly unbiased here, but it has always bothered me that at the US Relay Champs we have rarely, if ever, put our club's 4 best orienteers together on one team. Instead, we have to put our 4 best people who add up to 4 points on the team, which is a big difference. And if you now have to be a 40 year old man to be worth even a single point, that's going to put the clubs with fast younger runners at even more of a disadvantage than they already are.

If we are going to start rewriting relay rules, I'd like to propose that we scrap the minimum point count idea. After all, doesn't the introduction of the 12 point team category eliminate whatever historical reasons there were for introducing that idea in the first place? I'd do this:

0-5 points: "Open" category (the most prestigious)
6-11 points: 6 point category
12+ points: 12 point category

This would ensure that the club with the best runners present has the best chance to win the title, which is the way it should be. And clubs without enough firepower to compete in the Open category can put together competitive 6 or 12 point teams. In fact, I suspect this proposal would increase the number of top orienteers running in the "Open" category (since point counting is no longer an issue anymore) and thus make the other two categories more evenly balanced and more competitive. Or am I missing something???
Feb 9, 2006 5:27 AM # 
I like the 0/6/12 idea. I do think that it would make it easier to field not only good "elite" teams, but also open up the next rung to a lot of clubs that have no hope in the current 4-point, but can't get enough women and/or old folks together for an 8-point.

That said, we're talking about a championship event that is less than 2 months away. Any change in the rules at this point is completely out of order.
Feb 9, 2006 6:20 AM # 
BAOC is one of few clubs for whom the 4-point requirement is a severe restriction on team make-up. For Cascade, the point requirement has, at times, been a restriction on our team configuration, but mostly it has not cramped our style much. As the sport develops, it will probably make sense to lower the point requirement to three, then two, etc. I think that Cascade's best possible relay team right now would probably have between 2 and 4 points.
Feb 9, 2006 11:11 AM # 
Isn't the idea of a National Championship to find the best teams, and so including the best runners? Whereas the system described first is effectively a handicap relay, and is does exactly that to the best teams by restricting who can run in them.

The 0/6/12 idea is a good one, especially if there's a limited number of runners and you want to maximise the number of teams out there. You then have a situation similar to the Harvester Relay in the UK, which has an Open class (the '0' class here), in which the best men's team can be found, and a Handicap class (the '6' class), in which the top all-female team is crowned women's open champion, but also where any other handicap team can run - it's an inclusive system. There's the added advantage, with only a few categories, of the event still having enough people in each class so it feels like you're actually involved in a relay.
Feb 9, 2006 12:11 PM # 
0/6/12 is an excellent idea - as distracted said it is inclusive. 0/6/12 with three three person teams would be even better...
Feb 9, 2006 12:45 PM # 
Out of curiosity, how many US clubs, if they were to put together a team of their best four runners, would wind up with a zero-point team? And how many would have less than four? For my own club, RMOC, I think our best team last year probably would have had three points.
Feb 9, 2006 1:51 PM # 

I can only immagine the pandalerium that is going on there now. Might as well pull the pin...toss a grenade into a crowded room and then plead for everyone to remain calm.

Yeah, you got it dude. I'm being told that my comments are offending people, so I'm done. Far be it for actual facts to clutter the matter, like the one that a majority of the sanctioning committee has expressed opposition to at least one tenet of the race in its proposed from. The sanctioning committee apparently has no jurisdiction over how sanctioned races are conducted (or asserting such leads to hard feelings, which is certainly not why I got into orienteering).

For the Douglas Adam's fans, I'll just put a big SEP field around the whole thing :-)

Feb 9, 2006 1:53 PM # 
I like that 0/6/12 idea, too.

But, more than anything, it is too late to be changing the rules for a meet <2 months away -- for which, many people have already made plans.

Well, I guess it is not too late to not go as an act of protest...
Feb 9, 2006 1:54 PM # 
Is OCIN's proposal posted anywhere? Their rules aren't posted on the FP web site.
Feb 9, 2006 1:54 PM # 
Randy -- how could your comments offend people? You said exactly what I would have. I guess next time I think about posting on the USOF clubnet I should pull out a fingernail instead.
Feb 9, 2006 2:01 PM # 
>how many US clubs, if they were to put together a team of their best four runners, would wind up with a zero-point team

Not necessarily 0 - but less than 4....

Another question could be. If there was a zero point category would there be more desire for US clubs to develop/attract/train etc. more people so they can enter zero-point teams?

Feb 9, 2006 2:23 PM # 
I would prefer to see the minimum point team at 2. it forces you to have at least one elite woman. maybe 2-6-10. our clubs best 4 would be about 6 points. mass start = mass confusion.
Feb 9, 2006 2:54 PM # 
Existing system is well accepted for many years - there is no need to change it.
Feb 9, 2006 3:23 PM # 
SLOC's best team would include Anna Shafer-Skelton (3), David Frei(1), and myself(1). I'm not sure who the optimal fourth would be, but clearly we'd be well over 4 points. As much as I love SLOC, any system that would give us a chance in the elite relay category is a very broken system. We don't have any top M or F 21 runners and that really should be a requirement for a winning relay team.
Feb 9, 2006 3:23 PM # 
If you're mucking around with things, you might also consider the requirement that every team have at least one woman. If I had my way, the international elite relay format would be two men and two women, likely run in the order W-M-M-W. I think if the IOF really wanted to get orienteering into the Olympics, going with just that one race (no individual events, at least to start) would have the most promise. But that's a separate issue.

Modifying aspects of the relay is a fine idea. That's how the current relay system evolved. It's significantly better now than it was when the old relay system was first abandoned in 1991.

I have to wonder (facetiously) if the three-legs-start-together idea is just a distraction: develop a big uproar about that, then say, "ok, never mind, but how about these other minor issues?", and everybody says "fine". :-)
Feb 9, 2006 3:26 PM # 
Here it is - the proposal by OCIN:

Dear Orienteers,

Open period for comments on proposed point structure for 2006 U S Relay
Championships: Please comment between now and 11:59 pm EST on 12 February 2006
All of these changes are permitted within the USOF rules for relay
championships. However, we want to allow a brief comment period
before finalizing
them. As in recent years, there will be 4 legs. A brief rationale for
proposed changes is presented at the end.
Some of these ideas will undoubtedly generate some strong feelings.
Please limit your comments to the proposed changes versus the system
in use for
2005 (I.e. not proposing another change not already under consideration), and
please be respectful to other people's opinions.

Mike Minium, 8 February, 2006


1. The following table for point values is expected to be used for the 2006
U.S. Relay Championships:
Changes from 2005:
A. males younger than age 14 get 1 additional point.
B. males older than 70 get 1 additional point.
C. orienteers of both genders, age 35 - 39 lose 1 point.

age male female
-14 3 5
15-16 2 4
17-20 1 3
21-39 0 2
40-49 1 3
50-59 2 4
60-69 3 5
70+ 4 5

2. Additionally, it has been proposed that point categories be consolidated
as follows:

4 point teams: teams with members adding up to between 4 and 9
approx. leg difficulties: orange, brown, green, red
10 point teams: teams with members adding up to 10 or more points.
approx. leg difficulties: yellow, orange, brown, green

(changed from 4, 8 and 12 used the last couple years, 4 and 8 only prior to

3. Finally, it has been proposed that to reduce the total time consumed, the
first three legs be started simultaneously. The final leg would still be run
head-to head based on cumulative elapsed time of the preceeding legs.

age -14 males: Below age 14 or so, boys and girls are much more similar
physiologically and developmentally. Therefore, the normal 2 point bonus for
females is too big a differential. Clubs should be given a greater reward for
taking the risk of using a younger, less experienced orienteer.
age 70+ males: Again, physiological ability starts to converge with
like-aged females (not to the same degree as with the young kids). Again, an
increased reward for taking a risk, this time on someone who will
probably navigate
accurately but at a reduced speed.
age 35-39: This is a quote, not my words: "There is no sane physiological
explanation for the MF35 category in
orienteering. Its existence was probably justified in post-WWII conditions in
Europe. All other endurance sports I know have an age-40 masters' cutoff in
agreement with the data showing that trained endurance competitive capacity
peaks in late 20s and decreases very slowly afterwards, with a
steeper drop-off
not until late 40s, in both genders." Data suggests that maximum perforamance
in endurance athletes typically has decreased by no more than 3% by age 40,
but decreases more steeply after that. The negative: 2 of the 7 US eligible 4
point teams in last year's champs would not be eligible in 2006 (without
substituting a member).

points consolidation: The original proposal had the minimum points for
any team being changed from 4 to 5 or possibly 6. However, this (changing to
5) would have eliminated 2 of the 7 teams that were eligible last year by
itself (and 3 additional teams when combined with the 35 - 40
change). Therefore,
we felt it was too radical a change to implement for this year on such short
notice (now 2 months away). Here is a quote from the discussion: "...(The
objective is)... to arrive at a point value that is an index of the
who are interested in participating in the Relay Champs. I.e. look
at historic
Relay Champs entries. Think of a point system similar to the one currently
used. Then calculate the average point value of a person, times
four. This should
determine the cutoff for the top competitive category. I.e. if, in the
current point system, the average participant is 1.5 points, then the top
competitive category should be 6 points. Then clubs will be thinking
of how to best use
their runners on a competitive team, instead of sequestering the old folks
away in the 12-pt category. The current proliferation of categories
dilutes the
value of a win and does not make team-forming strategy its most inclusive."

starting the first 3 courses at once: This reduces wait times and some
of the need for "catch-up" starts. It can be wet & chilly to be
hanging around
waiting & relay events by their nature take a long time to complete. By
still having the last leg start in a chase format, you keep the competitive
head-to-head excitement of the final leg, but speed up the overall
process. The
idea of starting ALL legs simultaneously was dismissed because it
would greatly
diminish this competitive excitement.

Feb 9, 2006 3:36 PM # 
Hi all,
Two notes on the discussion.

First: The proposed changes were posted on clubnet. They are now available at:

Second: These are proposals presented for discussion and public comment. They aren't a done deal.

It looks like Greg has also just posted the changes here, but he used the incorrect table for age/gender points.

The correct points are:
age male female
-13 4 5
14-15 3 5
16-17 2 4
18-20 1 3
21-39 0 2
40-49 1 3
50-59 2 4
60-69 3 5
70+ 4 5

Mike Minium
Feb 9, 2006 3:37 PM # 
Relay is Relay and it's NOT a goat-style competition with a mass start.

In case of eliminating 1 point from 35-39 age group, I like an idea of having 0-6 point (or so) open category. Otherwise, it's really hard to combine best relay team. My point is, if someone's age is between 21-39 and 1 point is eliminated, then person should have a chance to run in the top team (in current system 4-points team). Otherwise, there is no reason to participate in relay at all.
Feb 9, 2006 3:37 PM # 
JJ's idea is interesting but I don't see how it makes O more appealing to the Olympics other than it is different. I need to review the events, but I don't recall them having mixed relays in running events in the Olympics. Are you going for the beach volleyball effect? I don't know that a mixed O relay team gets there...

I thought from a pure competitive standpoint, a relay should contain the fastest x number of non-bionic/drug-enahanced/whatever humans, independent of whether they are men or women. There are other valid reasons to have mixed teams--and I find those credible, especially in O--but once you mandate a certain gender/age composition you have to acknowlege that you are no longer expressly seeking the fastest team -- you are checking boxes.
Feb 9, 2006 3:42 PM # 
jj's last paragraph beginning with "I have to wonder (facetiously)" is a concise and accurate account of how this bid has made its way to this point through the USOF sanctioning process (not just the committee, but the entire process). It appears that the final "sanctioning" of this event will be made on clubnet, by decree, telephone survey or mob rule, at 11:59 pm EST on 12 February 2006. Randy's assesment (although not posted here) is 100% correct.
Feb 9, 2006 4:11 PM # 
The open, 0-pt relay has been the standard until PG made up the core of the current rules in 1991 (?) The goal of having the 4-pt category is obviously not to make it easy for a club to field the best team, it is to promote inclusiveness. Early (pre-1991) Relay Champs suffered from lack of such, and low attendance.

If we are going to start rewriting relay rules,

OCIN's point is that USOF Relay Rules leave the exact point allocation and category composition to the host club. Earlier Relay organizers mostly chose not to utilize this freedom. I will agree that at this point is is a bit too late for a dramatic change of the status quo. However, note that, sadly, the orienteering population is mostly aging, and thus the 4-pt restriction has become mostly a non-issue—what was meant to promote inclusiveness now is just a rubber stamp on what otherwise already is the best team for most clubs. Thus the introduction of 8-pt and 12-pt categories.

Note that in about 2009, Leif, John F, and Robbie will be about the only 0-pointers left in USOF.
Feb 9, 2006 4:18 PM # 
I can't imagine what in Randy's clubnet comments could be considered offensive to anyone. They were well reasoned, evenly stated, and went right to mark.
Feb 9, 2006 4:22 PM # 
Let us look in to the roots of this issue:
The desire to change the format of this relays comes from the fact that we have two championship events on the same day, that shell never be done in the first place, but it is a fact already (and that was done without sanctioning, by the way). We are 99.99% amateur athletes in this country, and what is the fact - amateur organizers of events too. Any one who studied exercise physiology knows that during a short race (sprint winning times ~15 min) most competitive orienteers will run in anaerobic mode for some part of the race , and therefore accumulate lactic acid in their muscle sells. Without having professional massage and professional medical help on that day, many of us will seriously underperform in a second race on that day - it is a fact. Therefore, they are asking us to sacrifice one of two championship events (to some degree of course).
The only solution, in my opinion, for the problem of the duration of relays, without compromising the nature and the spirit of the relays, is to make length of the courses shorter.
Feb 9, 2006 4:34 PM # 
Greg, there are Sprint Quals and Finals on the same day at the WOC, and you do have to haul in the Quals, just ask Yuri O. And in the early 1990s the Middle Qual and Final were on the same day (but the courses were shorter than now). The second USOF Short Course Champs in 1995 had two races on the same day, both of which added times for the Championship. The same was true in 2003.

and that was done without sanctioning, by the way

Sanctioning signed off on having both the Sprint and the Relay Champs on the same day; request submitted 22 November 2005, approved shortly thereafter. The point, category, and mass-start changes were never submitted to Sanctioning because OCIN viewed those as items it was free to establish within USOF Rules according to its view of competitive fairness and participant enjoyment.
Feb 9, 2006 4:34 PM # 
My first point earlier was primarily "what is the purpose of the US Relay Champs?"

Are they meant to act as a National Championship? If so, why not remove restrictions and make everyone in a particular relay class run on the same set of gaffled courses. Then you have real relay head-to-head racing, and there wouldn't be any qualms in declaring youself US Open Relay Champs, for instance.

Or, seeing that there are different leg lengths/difficulties, is it acting as a club competition more like the 25 manna in Sweden? i.e. participants in several age groups with restrictions who can run certain legs. Is this because of the relatively low number of people in clubs in the US?

It seems more like the latter to me, and I think that might make it unique in terms of a "national" championship... If it is a handicap relay champs, call it that.
Feb 9, 2006 4:36 PM # 
You can't immagine how happy I am to see you post this, Greg. We should establish that we have not spoken before about this issue, nor have I influenced you in any way to post this (except for that large case of banana flavored Gu packets I sent you).
Feb 9, 2006 4:38 PM # 
Anyone can run any legs, but your team must have enough points to win the Championship, and meet the club and citizenship requirements. So, it's neither.
Feb 9, 2006 4:38 PM # 
Note that in both cases of what Vlad quoted, both races on the same day contributed to a single result and a single named champion. Everyone had to run both races on that same day to get a result. This is not the case for the US Sprint and Relay Champs on the same day. its not an issue of running two races on the same day. Its an issue of naming two different champions in two differnet disciplenes on the same day.
Feb 9, 2006 4:42 PM # 
I agree with Eddie. But, extrapolating, there are multiple races at the WOC, and one wears you more than another, and some people are running a few and some, them all and winning them all, too.
Feb 9, 2006 4:44 PM # 
This is a tangential point, but if the USOF rules are such that they allow "point, category, and mass-start changes" to be effected by the host club, they are bad rules. And there may be other permissable changes as well.

These are bad rules because they seemingly allow a host club to do whatever they want to achieve competitive fairness and participant enjoyment.

While I don't doubt that a hypothetical small, iconoclastic club who earned the right to do the relays may make decisions of the same caliber as those deliberated on by the national body, it seems silly that they should have the lattitude under the rules to implement changes that can so completely alter the flavor of a national "championship." I don't mean this in a pejorartive sense, but it would seem that USOF has no "standards."

Anyway, I'm really not well-informed on the USOF rules so I may be completely wrong. This is just the impression I'm left with...
Feb 9, 2006 4:45 PM # 
There were one, or possibly two dissenting opinions on this very point in the second sanctioning request by OCIN - the issue of two champs in one day. The sanctioning committee saw this as something that should be a Board level decision, since it was precedent setting. As such, the decision on this was tacet approval by the sanctioning committee, pending approval by the next higher authority. By current USOF rules, that authority is the Executive Committee (i.e. the president's office, not the USOF board). The EC approved the change request allowing the two champs events on the same day.
Feb 9, 2006 4:49 PM # 
And now we are left with a time squeeze as one of the primary arguments for a mass-start first leg. A time squeeze which was brought up explicitly in the second sanctioning change bid, and bidder said there was no problem holding both events the same day...the same bidder that is now proposing to mass start the first leg in order to save time.
Feb 9, 2006 4:51 PM # 
Actually, from a physiological standpoint, racing the day after a sprint is more damaging than racing a few hours after.
Feb 9, 2006 4:54 PM # 
More damaging to what? My legs or my relay result?
Feb 9, 2006 5:28 PM # 
Between the proposed 4/10 categories and past two years 4/8/12, I strongly prefer the 4/8/12.

First, the 12 point category has been an immediate hit. Clubs can include 2-3 juniors and have a competitve team - great boost for the juniors! For example, the Breseman's have prospered with it and SLOC's first Relay team in years had two juniors run great legs 2 & 3 in Colorado (team was hurt by a fumbling M55 4th leg- ugh!). Also, if you haven't noticed :), most Brown and Green competitors have slowed down quite a bit and feel more comfortable on 12-point teams - ie they sign up!

Second, most 7-9 point teams will not be very competitive against most 4-6 point teams. I'd prefer going for a top 5 8-point team finish than top 20 4-point team fihish.
Finally, the top 8-point teams (eg CSU) are fast and competitive, but would usually not match the top 5 4-point teams.

Logistically, there doesn't seem to be that much diffrerence between two or three categories since most courses for the third category already exist. Plus one more set of trophies.
Feb 9, 2006 5:40 PM # 
More damaging to what? My legs or my relay result?

Both, actually, but I could have been more clear that I was referring to the ability to run well (and therefore, the result). I assume that some temporary damage to muscle fiber is considered a reasonable price to pay for winning a championship.

It's true, that at the truly elite level, a massage or similar therapy would be in order. I think that mandating that for US sprint and relay champs is taking things a bit too seriously. The relay is rarely won by seconds and even if it is, it's highly unlikely that the difference will be because one of the competitors goofed off during the sprint.

That said, if a meet director decides to run two events on the same day, it's their responsibility to take care of the scheduling without bastardizing the event. We did it last year with the short course and relay in Intercollegiate Champs and it was generally regarded as a success (although it sure was a lot of work for our meet crew and I'd only do it again if both events were run from the same area).

I'd much rather see the courses slightly shortened than have legs run simultaneously. Far from a negative, that standing around waiting for teammates is much of what makes relays fun (even if it is in the rain).
Feb 9, 2006 5:45 PM # 
To Vlad - they are Professionals, or semi-pros - the people who make it to the finals @ WOC sprint.
Feb 9, 2006 5:45 PM # 
Due to the toal length of the Relay event, especially with two events in one day, I have some sympathy for the mass start - perhaps 2 legs instead of 3?

But how would it work? When each team's 3rd runner comes in, does the 4th runner start? Then it would be total time, not head-to-head, yes? If not, how long would 4th runner wait? If based on leading teams' total of 3 runners, the 4th runner on 'average' teams could have a long wait after their own 3rd runner comes in. Also, the logistics of getting 3 times totalled for the stagferred 4th runner could be hairy for teams close in total times.

Concerning total time for Relay event, I'd prefer 3 legs with perhaps a 3/6/9 structure (though SLOC's top team seems to still be 1-point short).
Feb 9, 2006 5:49 PM # 
I'm also not sure how much time would actually be saved by starting the first three legs simultaneously. You're going to need some time to compute the last leg start times, even with e-punching. That means that the total time saved will be the fastest team's two fastest legs minus the time to come up with chase start times. Maybe 45 minutes, probably more like half an hour. Not worth changing the format for.

The slow teams are still going to start WAAAY after the fast teams unless the plan is to just start everybody en mass after all the competitive teams are on course. But that's just another form of "catch-up" starts which is supposedly what this format seeks to avoid.
Feb 9, 2006 5:55 PM # 
To Eric - The moment we start to take this sport seriously - we may expect that in distant future we may have some success on international level, because the rest of orienteering world does.
Feb 9, 2006 6:54 PM # 
>There is no sane physiological explanation for the MF35 category in orienteering.

Agreed! Masters should start at 40 and increase in 10 year age groups thereafter -especially now with sprint, middle, long. Makes it similar to trail running rogaine and AR masters cut-off levels.

Back to the relay....
AR is a team sport that friends of similar abilities (and usually ages) can do together in teams of 3 or 4. That same team could not enter the US relay champs together if they were a 20-39 male team.

Feb 9, 2006 7:11 PM # 
As Vlad mentioned, the 4-point rule was implemented in the early 90's. The former Open Category 'makes sense', so what problems created the need for the 4-point fix? Do those potential problems still exist or are there better ways to address them? USOF wouldn't want to return to the Open category if the same problems were likely to arise again.
Feb 9, 2006 7:16 PM # 
The US relay champs is a club champs. All team members must be from the same USOF O-club. Its not an open relay champs in that sense. Of course that doesn't address the value of a "worthless" (0-ish) points category. Worthless teams are always allowed to run, but don't get trinkets if they win. Last year all the worthless teams got beat by 4-point teams.
Feb 9, 2006 7:25 PM # 
The "old" relay system had several separate relay events all going on in parallel (Men, Women, Masters, etc.). It was poorly attended, and the same teams won every year: BSK for the Men, NEOC for the Women.

In 1991, DVOA asked for permission to use a different format: one category for all teams, and each team had to include a variety of people, but the definitions were vague (having to do with what course the people "normally" run).

In 1992, NEOC put on the relay, but with more clearly defined criteria for team membership (the point system that has survived almost intact to this day). 4 points required for a team.

A couple of years later, WCOC added an 8-point category, but it wasn't a championship category at first. Same courses as the 4-point.

In 1997, the 8-point category was shifted to a shorter set of courses (Cascade hosted that one).

The 12-point category was added still more recently (CTOC?).
[edit] Greg's comment following this one is correct. The first time a 12-point category was offered was 2004, OME.
Feb 9, 2006 7:36 PM # 
I believe 12 point category was added by Maine OC two years ago
Feb 9, 2006 8:12 PM # 
The moment we start to take this sport seriously - we may expect that in distant future we may have some success on international level.

Perhaps, although some might argue there are larger cultural forces at work. At any rate, the place to start would not be the Sprint champs (which are new) or the Relay champs (which, as has been pointed out, are not designed to produce elite teams). I would suggest US Classic Champs (or, better yet, adopting the international standard of Sprint/Middle/Long) and US Team Trials as more appropriate venues for developing elite competition. As meet director for the latter, I can assure you no gimmicks or last-minute rules changes.
Feb 9, 2006 8:26 PM # 
On the M35=0 point question, I have long argued that M&F35 are silly classes. I stood by that argument by running Blue exclusively until I was 40.

Greg, however, makes a good point. If you're going to get rid of those classes, you need to make a corresponding adjustment in the points or you toss a whole bunch of top orienteers out of the race. Assuming that a typical 4-point team will contain 1 or 2 people in M35, reducing the points for elite to 2 would seem to solve the problem. Knock the other from 10 back to the original 8 and you've got a system that should work for just about everybody.
Feb 9, 2006 8:47 PM # 
This just goes to show how events can be interpreted by people differently. Somehow, I didn't think this relay adjustment was about redressing the long-standing ill of MW35 classes at all, but was really more along the lines of tossing a whole bunch of top orienteers out of the race. (Or, stated differently, making the relays more inclusive.)

Because of this I wouldn't have thought that introducing a 2 point category would be congruent with the organizers' motives.

Feb 9, 2006 8:52 PM # 
It's my opinion also that M&F 35 hurts, rather than helps, orienteering here in the US, by thinning out even more what is already often too thin competition. Were it up to me, I would have ditched those classes long ago!
Feb 9, 2006 8:54 PM # 
In Stocholm some years ago (maybe 1991?), they briefly experimented with an M30 class. It was quite a bit harder to win M30 than M21.
Feb 9, 2006 8:55 PM # 
It sounds like its about time to propose that change officially, so lets plan to do it at the AGM this year.
Feb 9, 2006 8:59 PM # 
While Clem may be on the mark, I don't see how disqualifying the cream of the crop from a championship event makes it more inclusive. Unless a club happens to have an top woman over 40, a 4 point team can barely afford one 0-point runner. Two is particularly difficult to work around. That means that teams will generally only have one male runner between 20 and 40 years old. Granted, USOF is getting older, but this is getting ridiculous.
Feb 9, 2006 9:02 PM # 
I think we need to take over some preschools and start indoctrinating the next generation.
Feb 9, 2006 9:06 PM # 
It seems to me that the points should be based on physiology (in which case there isn't a good arguement for the existence of the 35 age class - master's should start at 40 and so should the 1-point).

The point classes for relays should then depend on what type of event one is trying to produce. I'd argue that the system should allow the top women to be part of a winning team in the most prestigious class. I'd be inclined toward 2/6/10 for the relay categories.

As for mass-starting the first 3 legs, then starting the last runners based on calculated total time - that is the most ludicrous suggestion I have heard. The fundamental aspect of a "relay" is that racer's run sequentially and the competition is "head-to-head" - not calculated on a spreadsheet.
Feb 9, 2006 9:20 PM # 
Brian, if the proposal to mass start the first 3 legs had been put to the sanctioning committee, there's *no way* it would have made it out approved. That's not a bastardization of the relay as Eric Buckley put it, it's not even a relay. It would just be a flat out weird event. There's nothing inherently wrong with weird events (the Prologue/Chase qualifies, I'll happily admit), but this sure wouldn't be the US Relay Champioships.

I'm still curious to see if anyone is going to step forward to claim responsibility for the idea. Ha!
Feb 9, 2006 9:27 PM # 
The funny thing about this is that it follows so closely the uproar over Micro-O in WOC finals. It's not that these ideas are bad (maybe they are maybe they aren't) it's that you'd think people would know by now that you can't make big changes in format without properly communicating your intentions well in advance. I don't think an email to clubnet seven weeks ahead of the event qualifies on either count.
Feb 9, 2006 9:47 PM # 

The point, category, and mass-start changes were never submitted to Sanctioning because OCIN viewed those as items it was free to establish within USOF Rules according to its view of competitive fairness and participant enjoyment.

Jim Eagelton, however, has pointed out on clubnet how the proposed changes run afoul of other rules (specfically 34.1 and 34.5.3). The sanctioning committee is responsible for enforcing rules; aside from sending cops to Ohio, the only way I see to do that is to bring it back into committee and possibly strip sanctioning, or grant the club the waivers. A committee member has requested this. I don't think this is the best option, but I do think the committee should approve or reject the requested changes to sanctioned races, especially controversial ones, regardless of what the rules say. You can't have it both ways, saying the rules allow this, then violate the rules Jim cites.

So, I don't see why OCIN can't send this into sanctioning now. A rubber stamp on it from committee should make everyone feel better; a denial would send the appriopriate message, and have the appropriate result. If the club knows sanctioning is against this, and proceeds anyway, how will that be a good thing?

But, once people start throwing the "offended" card around when dealing with what you feel is fact and logic, the ship is usually sunk at that point. I know I don't really want to deal with it.

Feb 9, 2006 9:51 PM # 
Here is how the drop of giving point to MF35 will drastically effect DVOA 4 point teams - Angelica and Vadim will each loose a point and instead of two 4 point team we will have to scramble only one, plus it kills the incentive to bring 4 people and motivate them to train for the Relays and come to OCIN event (everyone is paying their own expenses, we are not in Russia or Sweden). And on any given year you can find a number of teams which will be affected by that change of rules. I do agree that in individual races in this country at present time for MF35 are some what artificial, but it is now, I do not think that rules shell change according to current demographic situation in orienteering population.
Feb 9, 2006 11:33 PM # 
If it is the US Champs, why the hell have we ever had a handicap on the race? It seems like creating a 0 point category is way overdue.

Why do people keep pointing out how it may affect different clubs? Are we trying to set up a relay that will benefit certain clubs, or one that will define which club has the best 4-person team?
Feb 9, 2006 11:39 PM # 
Are we ever going to have a real US Champs Relay competition with standard Men's and Women's categories, and of course a matching Junior relay. I know that the people in charge of this stuff in the US don't care about competition and simply want to make it fun for all the old folks, but one day it would be nice to have a real Relay competition that would give clubs some incentive to support the training of their best runners.

The handicap stuff is nice for the 35+ folks, but it is completely out of place on Junior and Senior level.
Feb 9, 2006 11:45 PM # 
Sergey wrote: "Existing system is well accepted for many years - there is no need to change it."

Existing US results around the world are also well accepted. Do you think there is a need to change that?

Just because we have an established system doesn't mean it is the best one. If there are any changes we can make to further the development of elite Orienteering in this country, then I hope that everyone in the position to make that change will do whatever it takes to make it come about.

That kind of attitude has kept us down on the bottom for too long. It's time we start accepting that there are things we can do to further the development of elite Orienteering in our country.
Feb 10, 2006 12:29 AM # 
this relay adjustment was about redressing the long-standing ill of MW35 classes at all, but was really more along the lines of tossing a whole bunch of top orienteers out of the race. (Or, stated differently, making the relays more inclusive.)

I suggested the MF35–39 to 0 points change, and possibly increasing the 4-pt to 5 pts or 6 pts, while decreasing the total number of competitive categories to one or two. I didn't propose any of the other ones.

My motivation was not to toss out anyone, but to make those top orienteers include a junior or a female in their top team, in agreement with the spirit of PG's 1991/92 system. To me, its idea was "try to come up with the best folks you got in your club in a variety of age/gender conditions". As of the last Relay Champs, the recipe for a win was more like "try to come up with the best M35s/M40s, and possibly a nice F21".
Feb 10, 2006 1:38 AM # 
I second John's opinion. I have for a long time avoided the relay champs, because they are not a relay but a handicap lottery. Why stress out a 12 year old girl or boy on a yellow course, because she/he knows that some reeeealllllly good runner waits desparately for her to come back?

Having grown up with real relays with people of the same age category on each leg, I was always puzzled (and bored) by the US system. It is an equalizer of the worst sort, taking the fun out of the competition. I would propose a straight forward system. Three leg relays for elite M and F, regardless of age, plus relays for juniors 16-20 years old and M/F 40-50, M/F 50-60 a.s.o. Maybe a mixed bag entertainment relay with a most complicated point system (maybe include the G factor, why not give weight, age, experience & ethnic points) for those people who want to run for the fun of having done it, too.
Feb 10, 2006 2:09 AM # 
Forget about any points. Just junior, open, master, and veteran categories for men, women, or coed teams. No restrictions for open category.
Feb 10, 2006 2:11 AM # 
John, before you come down too hard on the status quo, you might try putting on an A-meet. It's an awful lot of work to have 5 teams show up. The points system was implemented to increase participation and in that respect it has been wildly successful. Nobody has been able to demonstrate, either by argument or by actually putting one on, that there is any real demand for elite relays in the US.

I strongly encourage you to prove me wrong by hosting an elite relay. I assure you that I will enthusiastically attend if at all possible.
Feb 10, 2006 2:15 AM # 
There aren't enough people in the US clubs to do it that way. At least not as a club-based event. The US relay champs is a club relay champs. Thats different from an open relay champs. I believe jj gave some background on how and why the current handicap system developed - dig for it in the fray above. The main point was that if it was open *and* club based, two or three clubs would win every year - which is fine, except that many of the other clubs would give up hope of ever winning and stop attending. It would then dwindle to the point of only the top 3 clubs showing up with 6 people each to see who gets which color trinket. No one wants to host a national champs race that only 18 people show up for, and so it stops happening. If we had the plethora of orienteers that the old world has an open relay champs would be ideal.

So unfortunately some form of handicapping is necessary to keep the thing alive. Picking and choosing your team within the framework of the points system can be fun too. Changing the points system a couple of months before the race is not fun.

Also keep in mind that this is not the *only* relay held in the US each year, nor are there any limitations on what kinds of relays people can put on. There's a mighty fine and well attended one out in Wyoming every year. There was a pick-up relay in Oregon this summer. We have one at the Mid-Atlantic regional champs every year and its a blast. The special relay under discussion here is called the US (club) Relay Champs and is the primary club-vs-club race hosted by USOF. Its not intended to be an individual championships, or a "loose aglommeration of individuals" championships. Its for esprit de club, and I think its great fun.
Feb 10, 2006 2:42 AM # 
I would propose a straight forward system. Three leg relays for elite M and F, regardless of age, plus relays for juniors 16-20 years old and M/F 40-50, M/F 50-60 a.s.o.

That's exactly what we had up until 1990. I was there. It sucked. (IMHO)
Feb 10, 2006 2:43 AM # 
Mass starting 3 legs and using a spreadsheet is ridiculous to call a relay. Most legs are just too long on relays. Better to have shorter and easier legs if you want to take less time.
What kind of events and lengths of events we have is not going to improve our international standing, lots of training and coaching will.
Feb 10, 2006 3:01 AM # 
I am surprised that Peter has not said anything so far on these issues, but the reason for eliminating 0 point category is very simple and it had presidents in the past: you create an artificial club (BSK in the past, CSU in present, and please do not start throwing stones at me for saying that, I AM NOT AGAINST THAT IDEA, and, both SCU and BSK are great clubs) and have four elite runners in it – and here is a little sampling – Kenny, William, Boris, Ross, I do not know history well to know who was on BSK team in late 80’s. It was and it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for 95% of US Clubs to put together a team to compete against such team, we lose intrigue, and eventually interest in the relays (it is not like it is super big right now ether). I believe, that we shell respect history in that way, and do not repeat same mistakes 15-20years later. It is my opinion, that in order to have more or less interesting US Champs relay in 0 point category, the competitive group in so called “US elite” or blue runners shell have more then 50 runners in 20% range from leaders, and according to late Tangerine and young and growing Boogie Pepper we have only 24, plus, I would include 5 more guys who did not compete in 5 races in US. Not enough depth yet.
Feb 10, 2006 3:02 AM # 
At least for 2006 US (club) Relays at OCIN, I propose that AP is surprisingly close to consensus.

1. Being so late in process, avoid dramatic changes, even those allowed by USOF. Much should have been addressed in sanctioning process.

2. Mass start - Very unpopular and hard to manage. Solution: Make the Relay legs challenging but SHORT - its more fun anyway.

3. Points - Hearing no protests from 14 and 70 year old females, the key debate is M/F 35's 1 pt. I suggest this decision depends on #5, below.

4. Categories - Three categories (Elite; Very Competitive, but not Elite; and Juniors and Rest of USOF) had great participation in Maine and in Colorado - let's keep it. The 8-pt and 12-pt categories were fun and very competitive. JF: Challenge a club Junior team to win the 12-point!

5. Points per category - The most contentious decision is 'points for Elite category' with 0-6 being suggested. (0-2 versus 6 is a tough philosophical decision for USOF in the future!) For 2006, I suggest 'minimal change'. 2 or 3 pts if M/F35 loses their point; 4 points if not. Then I favor Brian's 2/6/10 slightly over the current 4/8/12, or perhaps something in between. OCIN choice!

Feb 10, 2006 3:06 AM # 
The reason Coach keeps propounding for shorter relay legs (my silent sources tell me that he thinks anything over about 9 minutes is too much) has a lot to do with the average lifespan of the Saegermeister orienteering shoe. Simply put, this is not a shoe built to last.
Feb 10, 2006 4:18 AM # 
After a modicum of research, I hereby revise my timeline of notable relay dates from above:
Dark Ages (sometime in the early 1980s?): First US Relay Champs
1991: DVOA gets special rules waiver for "single class" relay champs, with somewhat vague rules about team makeup; forking used
1992: NEOC hosts relay, institutes point system for team makeup; forking abolished
1995: DVOA adds 8-point category, but not as a championship category
1996: WCOC upgrades 8-point category to championship status, possibly as the result of a misunderstanding
1998: COC moves 8-point category to shorter set of courses
2003: CTOC uses same courses for 4-point and 8-point categories,and uses forking again (one year only for both)
2004: OME hosts relay, adds 12-point championship category in response to USOF BOD ruling due to a proposal from a club
Feb 10, 2006 4:50 AM # 
J-J - OME was in 2004, 2005 was in RMOC land
Feb 10, 2006 6:03 AM # 
John F. wrote:
> give clubs some incentive to support the training > of their best runners.

There is a lot of merit in John F's comments. Yes training and coaching will improve results but quality domestic relay opportunities are not mutually exclusive from training. The relays might be the motivation for some to train harder - ie., their goal could be to make their club's top team (or not to be bumped off the top team). For some this is their only shot at a medal at a US Championship so that can be very motivating. This is what drives a lot of training in the Scandi clubs and in North American Adventure Racing teams. The desire to make the team mixed with the fear of not making the team.

Having a race where people of similar ages/abilities can race together is a great way to motivate people - given that they are all working towards a common goal. The current system allows for almost all categories to race together for a 'championship' except M21 and M35. The argument is that only a few clubs could field a team and the same clubs will win every year. So what! If there are only 2 women in F65 and one person wins every year does that mean we scrap that category? Nope.

I don't see this as a negative I see this as a positive as it is a great opportunity for all clubs to start developing athletes and putting postings on trail running and AR bulletin boards "Wanted fit male or female athlete to race on the XYZ club team for the US Relay Champs... following experience an asset". ;-)

AR has grown quickly because people are always looking for team mates and as such they do a lot advertisement for the sport. Our existing relay format works but there is limited reason why a person would go out and search for new blood to fill out a team because the existing approach is to see who is going to the race and make the teams from that.

John F's wishes in my opinion would go a long way to giving club's an athletic development purpose and not just an events hosting purpose.
Feb 10, 2006 6:40 AM # 
Regardless of what comes of this and what sort of event takes place in Ohio one thing is very very clear. Relays rock, we love to run relays, we love to talk about relays. If I posted something about the French Creek or the Vermont relays, people will respond like it's going out of style.

So why are there so few in North America? Why all this fuss over one race?

We need to have more relays. They are always the most exciting races, and we barely run them. It would be great if this changed.
Feb 10, 2006 9:40 AM # 
I completely agree that the handicap idea is great for the 35+ crowd and is the key to getting large attendence at the Relay Champs. That doesn't mean that it works for those under 35. I don't think I need to elaborate on the reasons that Hammer gave for creating an open relay, I just hope that people start to realize that maybe we can do more to develop the support of elite Orienteers on the club level so that when our current Juniors start reaching the broke-college-student-yet-kick-ass-orienteer level some of them will have a club that actually cares about their development and will support them when mommy and daddy are too busy throwing parties in their kid-free house.
Feb 10, 2006 9:49 AM # 
Oh, and just to make this clear, I highly support the 0-6-12 (or whatever you want to combine with the 0 category) idea. As long as you have an open category for the elites (and maybe even one for Juniors) you can do whatever kind of handicapping you like for the masters categories to get all the wise and experienced folks to come out and kick butt too.

There is no doubt that we need to support the competitive spirit at all levels, and that is one the things that makes this sport so great. While I may act a bit disprespectful of the old folks at times, that is only because I am embarrassed that Peter is still better than me, and my real goal in the sport is to be at least half as good as Peter and Sharon are at their ages. The most important medal in Orienteering is of course the Laurels in the 90+ category at Oringen.

However, I do hope that we can design a Relay Champs that drives the competitive spirit in the Junior, Senior and Master levels while maintaining the fun side of our sport that makes it so great. One of the best things about the current Relay champs is that it is a fun event, but it isn't be a US Championship (despite being named that). I have hope that we can manage to keep the fun while further developing the competitive aspect.
Feb 10, 2006 12:14 PM # 
Based on Hammer's comments I think I want to defect to Canada. It's an easy choice - no bush and forward thinking!
Feb 10, 2006 12:16 PM # 
>We need to have more relays.

Yes and we need to have more one-person relays (Farsta, O-Cross, etc) to prepare our athletes for international relays. Perhaps making a few existing individual races team events (like that Nor-AM Cities challenge a few years ago) will help.

For the record GHO is paying the entry for all our club members taking part in the 2006 US Relay Champs (in any point category) and are using this excellent weekend of orienteering to kick start the race season and motivate people to train and race. It is part of our "Boldy GHO" campaign to get people to travel to races outside of southern Ontario. Oh yeah and one of our top 1 point club members is sitting out the sprint and resting his legs for the relay!
Feb 10, 2006 12:30 PM # 
As a reality check, I'd like to point out that the 1st place team in last summer's US Relay Champs had an M21 on it, and the second-place team had two M21s. The current rules do not exclude M21s. And in the case of the winning team (and maybe the second team as well), it's not clear to me that they could have done much better if they didn't need to have so many points when choosing which club members to put on the team.
Feb 10, 2006 2:30 PM # 
I think we should spin a wheel and randomly assign points and categories on the day of the race. Or, we could have a totally open relay, but auction off the runners, as was done at the fundraiser in CT. That could alleviate some of the prospective race day boredom.

More seriously, I think John makes good points, especially in the ultimate sense. In the proximate sense, however, I think the best way to approach this problem is to look at who will probably show, and look at how the teams will fall out under the different scenerios. Which will be more fun? Will it simply be a wealth transfer from clubs that benefit under the present system to those who benefit under the new one? Will this exercise be repeated every year in various fora, some of which may or may not include the missing F14s and F70s, and go to those with the most elegant skills of pursuasion?

I think if we do tinker with the system, especially if we add a 0 point category, we should stick with it for several years to see if the (presumed) incentives or other presumed benefits are borne out.

Feb 10, 2006 2:34 PM # 
AR has grown quickly because people are always looking for team mates and as such they do a lot advertisement for the sport.

That's certainly true. I've recruited a lot more people for AR than for orienteering. There's an important difference, though. A reasonably fit person can join an AR team and compete at a pretty high level very quickly assuming the team already has a good navigator. I've won USARA qualifiers with "novice" teammates (albeit, experienced mountain bike racers).

This is not true of someone on an orienteering relay team. You could maybe get someone fast enough on the yellow and/or orange legs in a few months, but to be competetive on the advanced courses takes time.

As it is, the relay format actually works pretty well for your typical 4-person AR team. The top teams are typically late-30's/early 40's and have one woman. That's 6 points under the current system.
Feb 10, 2006 3:14 PM # 
I also think the time of 0/6/12 has come but, if there aren't enough clubs with 0 point teams we might want to begin by choosing those teams on a more regional basis: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, etc. If there were just a few elite teams going head to head there might still be room for 4/8/12 categories on top of it. Were we to take this approach we should find funding to make sure that the runners who make the teams can all go.
Feb 10, 2006 3:16 PM # 
When is the next Canadian Relay Championships?
Feb 10, 2006 3:35 PM # 
>next Canadian Relay Championships?
This summer in Ontario:

But as far as I know it isn't an official championship anymore.

In the mid 80's to early 90's it was province vs. province with M/F 21, junior and masters categories
Feb 10, 2006 3:53 PM # 
As per jj's note, lamentably, I turned 35 last year. Although I did get carded a few weeks ago! So SVO's team had 5 points, and had there been a 0 points category we would have fielded exactly the same team. The same is probably true of the DVOA team - perhaps Gregory for Angelica, but she did just fine. And if you think we're over the hill, just look at the numbers for RMOC and OK :) CSU could have dominated a 0pt category, but with their star at WOC in Japan I guess they saw the futility in that. The best they could manage was 3 purdy gals and an old goat, and I can't even count high enough to figure their point-value. I preume they would have fielded the same team in the 0pt category (and done very well). So last year there would not have been much difference, but if a 0pt category had been known further in advance that may have changed people's plans. WOC was an extenuating circumstance last year for the M/F21s.
Feb 10, 2006 6:14 PM # 
Promoting elite competition sounds fun, but just a reality check (hoping not to offend):

The age-and-gender category relays, and I remember them well, were horrible, to the point that people were talking about scrapping the relays. Three teams (if that) per category, 20 minutes between teams in the results. Even in the "elite" categories. I can't imagine anything more boring. What was the point of even having them? The image of ten elite teams competing head to head sounds appealing in an attackpoint thread, but that isn't the reality I remember. And looking at USOF membership, I can't see that being the reality now either, at least not with club teams.

4 points: two elite men, two elite women. I don't get the problem with forming elite teams...unless your club doesn't have enough elite women...which is the point about a flexible point system making it easier to form a highly competitive team, not harder. A lower point threshold might indeed make it more interesting for elite age males (but maybe less so for elite age females or top juniors?) Note that ARs generally have gender-mix requirements, and the open category, if any, is not for awards.

I don't really care if the relays are point system per se or not, but one big category beats ten tiny categories any day.

I think that kfrederickson has hit on the real answer...regional teams rather than club teams. (Or, completely open team formation.) This would allow the best to form teams much more readily, whatever the team formation criteria.

Have the relays become non-competitive? Last time I ran, the times were pretty close, and I didn't see elites and juniors sitting on the sidelines. (With age category relays, the times were not even remotely close (could have timed them with a sundial, literally), the relays were very uncompetitive (even huge errors were unlikely to change results), and lots of people were sitting on the sidelines unable to form teams (most people, in fact).) Let's innovate, but let's try something that wasn't already such a depressing failure year after year.

By the way, I really like the idea of 3 people starting at once, but for a larger relay, of say 8 to 10 person teams. 25-Manna, a relay south of Stockholm which has four people starting the fourth leg at once, was a hoot! Lots of excitement and fun. Maybe someone can try that someday for a relay at some event big enough to get enough teams (70 to 100 relay participants I figure could be enough for 8 to 10 teams of 8 to 10 persons).
Feb 10, 2006 6:16 PM # 
2/6/10? With declining number of participants and aging of the orienteering community we really should start thinking about ADDING 2 points not subtracting thus moving to 6/10/14 categories instead :)

I think the current point system 4/8/12 is widely accepted by most of the USA clubs and there is no need to change it. It reflects demographic realities of the orienteering community in this country. Given ten fold increase in the number of participants we may start talking about changing the system.

What is really needed is renaming of USA Relay Orienteering Championships to USA Club Relay Orienteering Championships.

And, by the way, relay should stay a relay which is sequential running of the legs by the team members with passing the “baton” using hand or map.
Feb 10, 2006 6:26 PM # 
Looks like we've got another championship on hands. One US Relay Champs and the other US Club Relay Champs. Hmmm... now that's sounds interesting...
Feb 10, 2006 6:30 PM # 
By the way, on the subject of more relays, and out-there ideas, should the US or Canadian Team Trials have a Relay event, now that they have Sprint, Middle and Long events? Arguably, the difference between Relays and the other formats is as large or larger than the difference between Sprint and Middle or Middle and Long or possibly even Sprint and Long. A short one-person relay would be a good way to test relay skill. And it's the one WOC format that there isn't so much training available for in North America.

Just for the conversation. That would be one way to promote relay competition amongst elites and juniors.
Feb 10, 2006 6:40 PM # 
Well, you could have both a Club and an Open relay champs in one event, with everyone head to head. Have Open 0-point and 4-point categories (no club restrictions), and 4, 8 and 12 point club categories (or maybe just 8 & 12). If Open were a formal category with US Championship awards, rather than just a catch-all category for people who can't form valid teams, you might get some good people trying to form good teams nationwide, and Open might be hotly contested. Especially if club teams could also compete for Open.

(That might also bring the number of awards close to that of our norm of one award per two participants.)
Feb 10, 2006 8:18 PM # 
I personally don't think that we currently have a "Club" relay championship if everyone in the club is not allowed to participate because of greencard status. We, the ORCAs, used to run in a DQ status because we didn't want to leave one of our club founders and chief mapper off the team. In at least one other club, the club president couldn't run on their relay team for the same reason.

On the team trials topic, Jim has a good idea with the one person relay mass start event to test relay running skills.

Feb 10, 2006 8:30 PM # 
Re: One-person relay...

Yes, this is a good idea for team trials but also may make for an interesting team competition as well (in a non team trials setting) by taking the total time or placing of say a club's top 3 participants.

Putting all the top runners together on the starting line for a forked one-person relay race and you will get closer to that needed stress and feeling of an international relay. Also the qualifier races at WOC have a relay type atmosphere to them with the forking of the different qual. courses. Good idea.

FYI, GHO will have an O-Cross (one person relay) on the Monday after the NAOC in October (This "Wine-O" race is a non Champs race).

Feb 10, 2006 9:31 PM # 
Thanks Jeff.
Feb 10, 2006 9:43 PM # 
"I am surprised that Peter has not said anything so far on these issues"

Well, it's tax season and my priorities have changed a little from what they were a month ago in Hamilton when Spike accused me of being addicted to AttackPoint....

Priorities (yesterday):
1. Keep up with my work (that took care of about 11 hours).
2. Get the run in during the early afternoon (also has the effect of eliminating any opportunities for eating between 7 am and 9 pm, thereby assisting in the downward trend of the G).
3. Watch Survivor while eating dinner at 10 pm (we all have our weaknesses).
4. Finish up the ESC's work on criteria for the Team Trials (we hope to take a team of 5+5 to Denmark).
5. Finish a bit of advance planning for the Billygoat Sprints (Saturday afternoon before the Billygoat, 2 sprints, both just under 2K, both Team funraisers, both 45-pointers....).
6. And a couple of times glance at AP and notice, shit, there's a lot of discussion on the relay proposals, Eddie must be having a party there.

I managed to read the stuff early this morning. I think the mass stuff start is silly. It's certainly not a relay. And I have a certain fondness for the point system as it has developed over the years. That's not to say it should never be changed. But it shouldn't be done in a hurry the way it seems to be happening this year.

But I guess my main thought is that if more relays of one type or another are needed/wanted, then people just need to step up and organize them. They don't need to be championships, they don't need to be A meets. I've enjoyed some fine events that were done this way (the couple of inter-city challenges, DVOA's training weekend last March, Sandy's Water Gap weekend last Memorial Day, and the Hamilton training camp come to mind). Put together a weekend program, get the word out early, just make it happen.

By the way, with all the flak OCIN is taking, I should point out that the latest standings in the Sprint Series, posted on Monday after the weekend's tripleheader in Ohio, show the men's lead being held by Mike Minium. Yup, it's true, you can look it up at the usual place.

Back to work....
Feb 10, 2006 9:44 PM # 
Aren't green card holders eligible for the US individual champs events (short, long, individual, night, sprint)? If so, why not also for the relay?
Feb 10, 2006 9:55 PM # 
In the instances I'm thinking of, it is a greencard status of zero--they didn't have one. I believe the rules are consistent across all the championship events.
Feb 10, 2006 9:58 PM # 
> If so, why not also for the relay?

Green card holders are, also certain visa holders (e.g. students) as of a couple of years ago (I don't know the specifics). But club members who don't have that sort of status are not eligible for any championships, relays included.
Feb 11, 2006 12:02 AM # 
Green card - yes. But those here waiting, are not. Like those transferred by their work situation.
Feb 11, 2006 12:25 AM # 
If I get Canadian citizenship (in addition to US citizenship), I'd be only eligible in Canada.

Is this bit true? Brian May has been doing this for years.
Feb 11, 2006 3:06 AM # 
Last time I read the USOF rules, yes, because I live in Canada. (If I lived in the States, and had dual citizenship, I think I'd be eligible for both.)

Brian is a US citizen, and maybe a citizen only of the US I think. Therefore, if this is true, he's in the same situation that I'm in...US citizen living in Canada, eligible in the States but not Canada.

It all gets a bit complicated, these being orienteering rules.
Feb 11, 2006 12:44 PM # 
Brian's dual citizenship means that he's eligible only when he's living in the US (this is colloquially known as the "Pam James Rule", as it was instituted when Pam was a junior and won the US Champs as a dual citizen living in Canada). So Brian was eligible when living in Minnesota, but not when living in BC (you have to have spent at least half of the preceding year living in the US). The weird twist from a few years ago was than when the Mays moved to Minnesota, Brian had to wait six months before becoming eligible for US championship events, but his wife Abbi, a Canadian with a green card, was eligible immediately. (Don't know if the rules have since been adjusted.)
Feb 11, 2006 1:17 PM # 
also certain visa holders (e.g. students)

IIRC, This was added because a particular high school wanted to have an exchange student run on an Interscholastic champs team. It had the (I believe unintended) effect of granting Will and others eligibility, while still excluding those who happened to have work or diplomatic visas. I attempted to change this so we didn't need to check which particular sort of visa an entrant had, but that went over like the proverbial lead zeppelin in the rules committee.

If it were up to me, the rule would be simple and straightforward -- either be a US citizen, or reside legally in the country for the previous X months.

Feb 11, 2006 6:04 PM # 
It's actually sillier: I was first eligible under my student visa status; then technically ineligible (although an exception was granted) while my green card application was pending (so 'adjustment applicant' status, without either a student visa or a green card), and now eligible again as a permanent resident, despite the fact that if I wanted to run at the WOC it would have to be for Australia (or the UK) under the IOF's rules, despite the fact I don't live in either place.

I once saw Kafka mispunching.
Feb 11, 2006 9:15 PM # 
I think the rules about the eligibility based on the green card is arbitrary at best (or worst). People can live happily and legally here on several kind of work visa as I did for almost 20 years. Yet I was not eligible for the US champs until I got the green card approved.

It is be time to do it in a more flexible way, like in Europe.

When Sime starts at the classic champs in Sweden, she can't win the classic champs in Switzerland in the same year. But she can start at the other races, e.g. sprint or middle. This is as simple as it comes. I don't think we will be overrun by foreigners who come here only to steal the precious US champ gold medals.

I always felt it is weird when I need to be in the USOF approved, "correct" status to be US champs eligible. I sense the rule was set by people who have no clue how slow and tedious it is to get a green card and that it is in no way the only legal status to be in the US.
Feb 11, 2006 9:23 PM # 
If memory serves, it was... 1988? when green card holders became eligible for the US Champs. I remember when the issue came up for approval at the AGM, and I believe it was the convention at Hampshire College (if not, then my second guess is the 1990 convention at Kent School). Prior to that, only US citizens were eligible. And I'm not even sure that the ruling initially applied to all championship events.
Feb 11, 2006 11:52 PM # 
USOF Rules:
a) Are USOF members in good standing
b) Meet one of the following citizenship requirements:
- Are U.S. citizens and citizens of no other country
- Are in a permanent residence status commonly referred to as "green card carriers".
- Hold dual (U.S.) citizenship and reside primarily in the United States.
- Hold dual (U.S.) citizenship, reside primarily outside the United States, and have not yet and agree not to compete for a championship title in another country during the current calendar year.
- Are full-time students in the U.S. holding a current student visa.

Feb 12, 2006 12:06 AM # 
Some of the details regarding dual citizens was added back in 2000 when I moved to US. I was a little bothered when my green-card wife was eligible and I was not, so I gave the system a little poke :-). The 12-month residencey requirement was dropped. The rules were also amended so a dual citizen living outside the US could choose to run in US championships provided he/she didn't run in another country's championship. The "Will Hawkins" amendment came in at about the same time, but I don't quite remember the details on that.

Canada's rules are a bit less restrictive on dual citizens. I gave the Canadian system a poke when I was a dual US/Canadian citizen living in Norway - I didn't really like the concept of being ineligible for any national championship.

The upshot is that a dual US/Canadian citizen living in US can run in both Canadian and US championships. A dual US/Canadian citizen living anywhere else has to choose between US and Canadian Champs.
Feb 12, 2006 1:12 AM # 
There was a time when, as a primary RMOC member living in Massachusetts, I was eligible for no regional championship -- Heartland rules required you to live in the Heartland, Northeast rules required you to be a primary member of a northeast club. A NEOC member living in Colorado would have been eligible for both. (The Northeast rules have since been changed.)
Feb 12, 2006 2:12 AM # 
I don't think the mid-atlantic has any rules at all. At least I've never checked or heard of anyone being checked. But the Broken Compass award is given to SVO, er, I mean the winning club :) ...there are no regional individual champs awarded. All you have to do is admit you are a member of a mid-atlantic club. "Hello, my name is Eddie, and I'm a mid-Atlantic"
Feb 12, 2006 12:57 PM # 
Heartland rules required you to live in the Heartland, Northeast rules required you to be a primary member of a northeast club.

Now there's talk of nuking the heartland region. Perhaps you could all of the sudden become eligible for something else. I actually don't understand the purpose of the regions and why anyone cares, but that's just me.

My favorite is the arbitrary line drawn thru New Jersey that separates the Northeast from Mid-Atlantc, and seems to have happened to have been drawn to divide the presumed DVOA and HVO territories. If HVO split into 2 clubs, would they put north Jersey back in the MId-Atlantic where it belongs? (no definition of Mid-Atlantic that I'm aware of splits any states).

As for SVO, we should create their own region for them so they have any hope of winning anything :-) Then they could elect their own board rep -- I'm sure eddie would volunteer ...
Feb 12, 2006 2:20 PM # 
Nuke the heartland? That seems a bit drastic. Especially with Valentines Day just around the corner. I'd be happy to run for dictator of the SVO Prefecture. Are you sure its ok to bring beer to Board meetings?
Feb 13, 2006 11:30 AM # 
How about bringing in an adaptation of the French Club champs? Possibly in addition to the relay champs...

Say a first division with seven or eight runners with some restrictions - at least three non-elites, at least two/three females, at least two under-20s, at least one under18.

Second division of four runners, at least one female/non-elite.

With promotion and relegation. And with a substantial prize for the winning club (1000 dollars?) - in France several clubs get funded depending on their results in the Champs.

Put a middle distance on the day before and have first start at daybreak or a little before for the first division.

Inter-club races are great for promoting in-club training and development...
Feb 13, 2006 4:03 PM # 
Eddie, we build and store the nukes here in the heartland, but we send them out west to the desert to be set off. Of course we don't actually do that anymore as far as anybody knows.

I'm not outright opposed to it, but I would voice caution about introducing cash prizes. A sport undergoes a fundamental change once monetary compensation becomes part of it. Not all those changes are bad (the level of competition almost always goes up), but some of them are (protests become more frequent and a lot nastier). This street is pretty much one-way: it's very hard to get money out of a sport (unless the money kills the sport entirely, which has happened).
Feb 13, 2006 4:46 PM # 
Man Neil, that would be sweet. Unfortunately most US clubs can barely manage to get 4-6 runners of any flavor at all to the relay champs. My guess is only 3 clubs in the US manage to bring 8+ folks to the champs on a regular basis (BAOC, CSU, sometimes DVOA). A few other clubs manage it occasionally, depending on where the event is held.
Feb 13, 2006 4:48 PM # 
Hey, the much anticipated line-in-the-sand has passed. Any word on the outcome? Will we be having a mass-start, skip any one control, possibly forking relay? No wait, thats the Billygoat. My bad.
Feb 13, 2006 6:44 PM # 
Eric, actually making of nukes is outsourced to India and China! Couldn't pass on that :)
Feb 14, 2006 4:14 AM # 
Dear Orienteers,

Orienteering Cincinnati's event committee has reviewed all of the responses to the proposals for the 2006 U.S. Relay Championships.

Proposal #1, changes to POINT VALUES table. Changes were ACCEPTED (OCIN committee vote 3-1). Although some people felt that time was short and that no changes should be made this close to the event, the proposed point changes received the widest support of any of the 3 proposals.

age male female
-13 4 5
14-15 3 5
16-17 2 4
18-20 1 3
21-39 0 2
40-49 1 3
50-59 2 4
60-69 3 5
70+ 4 5

Proposal #2, changes to TEAM COMPOSITION. These changes were REJECTED for 2006 (OCIN committee vote 1-3). Team categories for 2006 will remain at 4, 8 and 12 points.
However, we strongly believe that there is strong merit to proposals discussed on attackpoint to try a point structure with a lower threshold for the top teams, such as 2-6-10 or 2-6-12 in the future, possibly in 2007. We hope that the 2007 organizers will look closely at this possibility, especially looking at the demographics of the orienteering community and how the point system can be used to promote maximum participation at the relays.

Proposal #3, to simultaneously MASS START the first 3 legs was REJECTED (OCIN committee vote 0-4).
There was strong opposition to this proposal as completely altering the character of the relays. We received only one (off-net) comment favorable to this proposal.
We also want to assure those who have concerns about shortening the relay, that it will not be significantly shorter than the recommended 2.5 hour winning time. We intend, however, that they will be somewhat shorter than last year's 4 point winning time of 3:04:50.

Thank you to all those who participated by commenting on the proposals. I especially appreciated that this was generally a very polite discourse, although many people had strong feelings.

In the past decade, OCIN has been a leader in proposing and implementing innovations in orienteering. To name a few, we were the first club to offer M-10, F-10, M70+, and F70+ at an "A" meet (1997, before they were officially added to USOF rules); the first to do an "A" meet in farsta format, and the proposer of scoring proposals for the U.S. Interscholastic Championships, which although they were rejected for our meet, eventually became the basis of the scoring system approved for this year. Not every new idea will be popular or successful, but I hope that clubs like OCIN will continue to offer them in spite of the controversy and criticism they may generate.

We hope to see all of you at the 2006 Flying Pig "A" meet on March 31 - April 2, 2006.

Mike Minium
Feb 14, 2006 1:44 PM # 
Despite attempts to make this look like an official USOF decision process (i.e. the "OCIN Event Committee"), this is simply an internal club decision about format changes to an already sanctioned USOF championship meet - a decision which violates both the letter of and spirit of the "well in advance" clause of changes to the relay format rules. As such, this change cannot be allowed without a waiver from the USOF Board and a trip back through sanctioning. It is *extremely* late to go through that process for a third time, with the event only 6.5 weeks away. If the OCIN club wishes to make these changes I suggest they contact the USOF Sanctioning committee immediately with a change request. Otherwise everyone will expect the relay points system and format to be wholly unchanged from last year when they show up for the race on April 1.
Feb 14, 2006 2:26 PM # 
What if we boycott the race :)
Feb 14, 2006 3:01 PM # 
Personally, I'm OK with the point system changes. I assume nothing else is going to be changed in 6 weeks:))
Feb 14, 2006 4:09 PM # 
Never assume. Sanctioning "assumed" nothing would change when the bid was first submitted sometime in spring or summer 05. And here we are. Why bother to have a sanctioning process if people are going to do whatever they want anyways? Its a waste of people's time and energy.
Feb 14, 2006 5:22 PM # 
Next time, it may be changes you disagree with :-). And, given the precendent, there will likely be many next times ...

I think, going forward, sanctioning should occur after meets. Seems to eliminate controversy over parsing phrases such as "well in advance" and "changes need to be approved by sanctioning".

Some meets won't make the cut, others that the powers-that-be particularily like will be promoted into championships ... this would have the effect of putting a functionless process where it would have real teeth, and would probably incent quality ...

In this case, hopefully the expected gains in the quality of the race from the changes will outweigh the damage to respect for process, and the ill will some are feeling.

Sadly, there is more. Quoting from today's post announcing the changes --

Although some people felt that time was short and that no changes should be made this close to the event, the proposed point changes received the widest support of any of the 3 proposals.

It is true that the point proposals did receive the widest support, but it is far from clear that they received a preponderance of support of those expressing opinions, in light of the process/proximity to the race question (not that I think clubnet or AP should be the proper fora for this in the first place, but here we are).

Being someone who tries to deal in fact and logic, I re-read all the posts in this thread, and the one on Clubnet. Obviously, I am not privy to posts received directly by the organizers. I counted every speaker just once (with one or two exceptions which actually help the cause of the position I am arguing against), did not count my opinion, those of the organizers, nor those whom I am fairly certain are not USOF members or are otherwise ineligible.

My tally is 7 in favor on the announced changes, 14 against, in light of the time/rules constraint.

It would be my hope that a representational body would bounce the proposed changes in light of this data, were it given the chance. I have asked, without response, why it is not being given the chance.

The specific data used is quoted below. Note that even in the "for" opinions, there are qualifications. Note my sampling is probably biased, but I challenge the organizers to come up with data that clearly shows support and exposes my bias. This was fun, lets do it again next year :-)


I'll leave it to others to discuss the more outrageous proposed changes. But what disturbes me is the seemingly innocuous proposal to make 35-39 year old men still worth 0 points

That said, we're talking about a championship event that is less than 2 months away. Any change in the rules at this point is completely out of order.

But, more than anything, it is too late to be changing the rules for a meet <2 months away -- for which, many people have already made plans.

Existing system is well accepted for many years - there is no need to change it.

Here is how the drop of giving point to MF35 will drastically effect [...] we will have to scramble only one, plus it kills the incentive to bring 4 people and motivate them to train for the Relays and come to OCIN event (everyone is paying their own expenses, we are not in Russia or Sweden). And on any given year you can find a number of teams which will be affected by that change of rules. [B]ut it is now, I do not think that rules shell change according to current demographic situation in orienteering population.

1. Being so late in process, avoid dramatic changes, even those allowed by USOF. Much should have been addressed in sanctioning process. [...] For 2006, I suggest 'minimal change'. 2 or 3 pts if M/F35 loses their point; 4 points if not

I completely agree that the handicap idea is great for the 35+ crowd and is the key to getting large attendence at the Relay Champs.

And I have a certain fondness for the point system as it has developed over the years. That's not to say it should never be changed. But it shouldn't be done in a hurry the way it seems to be happening this year.

Changing the points system a couple of months before the race is not fun.

However, my suggestion was that the organizing club
submit their event to Sanctioning with any proposed changes, in other
words, you'd either say "same as last year" (or some other recent year),
or else you'd describe what you intend to do. You wouldn't get approval
from Sanctioning and then come up with format changes after people had
started making travel reservations.

While I generally agree with the proposals, I'm strongly against making any
of them effective this year. There seems to be a consensus that the
following two rules are violated:

I'm fairly indifferent about these changes, but I somewhat agree with Randy
that it's a bit late in the game to be making them. I think there's no
urgent need for the point-value changes, so it certainly wouldn't hurt to
leave things alone.

For the immediately imminent event, [...] Likewise with the age category changes for
points (which, by the way, I do think make sense!), they need to
brought up for discussion longer before the actual event.


In case of eliminating 1 point from 35-39 age group, I like an idea of having 0-6 point (or so) open category. Otherwise, it's really hard to combine best relay team. My point is, if someone's age is between 21-39 and 1 point is eliminated, then person should have a chance to run in the top team (in current system 4-points team). Otherwise, there is no reason to participate in relay at all.

On the M35=0 point question, I have long argued that M&F35 are silly classes. I stood by that argument by running Blue exclusively until I was 40. Greg, however, makes a good point. If you're going to get rid of those classes, you need to make a corresponding adjustment in the points or you toss a whole bunch of top orienteers out of the race.

it's my opinion also that M&F 35 hurts, rather than helps, orienteering here in the US, by thinning out even more what is already often too thiin competition. Were it up to me, I would have ditched those classes long ago!

Existing US results around the world are also well accepted. Do you think there is a need to change that?
Just because we have an established system doesn't mean it is the best one. If there are any changes we can make to further the development of elite Orienteering in this country

I second John's opinion.

I do want to support Mike's first two proposed changes, however. Some have
said that these types of changes should be discussed well in advance and
not mooted close to the championship date, and they have a good point. But
I think these changes are going in the right direction.

I agree with the [M35] change

Feb 14, 2006 6:00 PM # 
A discussion is a lot different than a vote. I didn't speak up because I felt that someone else had already covered any points that I would have wanted to make.

For the record, I'm against all changes this close to the meet. The mass start as proposed isn't a relay. There shouldn't be 2 championship events on the same day. Torino is a perfectly good name, why Turin?. I like the old pursuit format in X-country better than the current one.
Feb 14, 2006 6:27 PM # 
I just saw that the horse is still moving, so…

The OCIN committee should have considered the M35 point change separate from the fogy and whippersnapper point changes. While I think taking away the M35 point is the right thing to do (given that navigation experience seems to offset some/much/most of the performance decline for that age group, making it even less of an issue for 35-39s to compete in an open category in orienteering vs. road racing/track/XC), it should not be considered without revising the point categories to allow most teams to remain intact. OTOH, adding the other points effectively just makes it easier to reach the 8- and 12-point categories with appropriate team members (which, even this close to the meet, seems to be a good thing for the community - i.e. it tends to be inclusive rather than exclusionary).

Regardless, I am looking forward to my first relay event at the FP.
Feb 14, 2006 6:28 PM # 
Uh, oh, I'm on both the for and against list. I guess I'd better not run for office or my opponents will call me a flip-flopper.

Seriously, my first comment (any change this close to the event is out of order) overrides any sympathy I have for the changes themselves. Further, I don't understand what OCIN can possibly think they are gaining by messing with the points. Some will like it, some won't, but lot's of folks will think it's outrageous to be making changes after people have already made travel plans for teams that may or may not now be eligible.

Finally (and this really is my last post on this thread), I think OCIN is great. They are an innovative club and they put on excellent meets. I'm glad the discussion has been largely civil because I don't think that any of this arose out of disrespect for the competitive community.
Feb 14, 2006 6:30 PM # 
Italia is a perfectly good name, why Italy?
Firenze is a perfectly good name, why Florence?
Roma is a perfectly good name, why Rome?
Göteborg is a perfectly good name, why Gothenburg?
Deutschland is a perfectly good name, why Germany?
Shqipëri is a perfectly good name, why Albania?
Feb 14, 2006 6:36 PM # 
My appologies in advance for the digression....

ebuckley: Do you think people will vote for me?

Spike: Heck yes! I'd vote for you.

ebuckley: Like what are my skills?

Spike: Well, you have a sweet bike. And you're really good at hooking up with chicks.

ebuckley: Vote for me, and all your wildest dreams will come true.
Feb 14, 2006 6:45 PM # 
You got shocks, pegs. Ever take it off any sweet jumps?
Feb 14, 2006 6:50 PM # 
This is why ebuckley will get my vote for "Man of the Year". He's already got a wife supposed to be of Swedish derivation, which is basically awesome. He's got baby-O. And he got a biker chick *too*! The question begs to be asked: how much is too much for one 1.5%er man? Because in addition to the above, there is also the kreme-de-la-kreme (krispy kreme): the Death Match.
Feb 14, 2006 9:32 PM # 
Right on! Deutschland is a good one. Why does it have a very different name in English, Germany; French, Allemagne; Finnish, Saksa; Czech, Nemecko;...?
Feb 14, 2006 11:01 PM # 
jj's mom asks:

"J____ J_____ is a perfectly good name, why JJ?"

Since eddie admits to turning 35 this year, will the 0-pt change forever be known as the "eddie rule"?
Feb 16, 2006 5:23 PM # 
It seems that OCIN is adopting their self-imposed, unsanctioned rules change for the 2006 US Relay Champs. As a result of what I see as a proceedural run-around...bordering on unethical...I personally will not be attending the Pig. Its unfortunate, as I would very much have liked to race in the first US Sprint champs and help SVO defend its national relay title. The high level of competition that usually attends this meet will also be missed, especially since it is well placed ahead of the Team Trials this year. Too bad. Things should have been done differently by the bidder. In case you missed it in the fray, the chair of the USOF Sanctioning Committee has resigned as a result of this episode, and I'm considering leaving it as well. Its just too frustrating. Its tempting to recommend to everyone going to the Pig to sit out the relay in protest, but you'll have to make your own decisions - and do so without all the information about this fiasco in your hands. Barring some drastic turn of events, it will be very difficult for me to attend the Pig in the future as well.
Feb 16, 2006 5:39 PM # 
2007 Pig - Just say NO.
Feb 16, 2006 6:22 PM # 
OCIN has provided quality events to thousands of orienteers over more than two decades (28 A meet days 1994 through 2005, not counting those co-hosted with MVOC or the US Team) and plans to do so in the future, in a manner consistent with IOF and USOF Rules of Competition.

Feb 16, 2006 6:30 PM # 
Thats true, except for this year.
Feb 16, 2006 7:50 PM # 
USOF Relay rules do give the host club considerable latitude in terms of the points and the number of relay categories. They rules state "at least two categories" and give an "example" of a point structure. I am quite certain that at least one or both of the last two USOF Relay Champs did not follow the USOF "example" point structure (check the junior cut-offs). If true, that means that there is no 'standard' or 'fallback' point structure.

It is clear that OCIN violated the rule: 34.5.3 "The point teams and categories for a specific relay event, as decided upon by the event organizer(s), must be published well in advance and made available to all interested parties." But by February, this rule was violated regardless of which point structure they chose (and as mentioned above, there doesn't seem to be any one fallback structure). Of course, if OCIN had not changed M/F35 this late, the lateness would not have been such controversial issue. OCIN other point changes probably affected the 8- and 12- point teams more than the 4-point teams.

Though the issue was handled poorly, in recognition of OCIN's outstanding efforts over the years, I still intend to run the Relay. SLOC will actually have a club team for the 2nd straight year - and our captain still has to decide how to put together our strongest 8-point team.
Feb 16, 2006 8:26 PM # 
So if you have an outstanding past history you are above the law?

It is clear that OCIN violated the rule: 34.5.3 "The point teams and categories for a specific relay event, as decided upon by the event organizer(s), must be published well in advance and made available to all interested parties."

How many more times do we have to state this before it stops being true?
Feb 16, 2006 8:28 PM # 
Changing the point system now??? you gotta be kidding, right??? I may give it a second thought if I want to show up at as well, considering that our team has been taken apart!
Feb 16, 2006 9:19 PM # 
GHO is looking forward to participating in the Pig. The Pig has become the unofficial 'kick-off' race to the year and the sprint and relay race make it that much more attractive. Yes the new rules will make it harder for us to form teams (and we aren't even eligible to win) but we still hope to enter 3 club teams.

Boldly GHO!
Feb 16, 2006 9:31 PM # 
I feel like like I should act in solidarity with my PA brother Eddie.
Feb 16, 2006 10:00 PM # 
Flying Pig is one of the best orienteering multi-days in the country. We always enjoy level of competition, challenging courses, and no missing or misplaced controls (contrary to some other national meets).

I don't see OCIN violating any USOF rules, may be stretching 34.5.3 a little bit. Other clubs violated and stretched USOF rules even more and no such fuss!

It is personal choice of any athlete not to go but I personally will see you as chickens for not showing at the USA Sprint and Relay Champs :)

PS. Clubs planning to do any innovation to the competition formats, please, reflect it while applying for the A meet sanctioning to avoid all the noise!
Feb 16, 2006 10:05 PM # 
I have not read much of this thread, which I think provides a little perspective that some may not have.

Imagine, you hadn't heard about this whole discussion, because you were on vacation on Mars for two weeks.

When you arrived back today, you'd find that the Relay point scheme that was just announced for the 2006 Relay champs is going to modified slightly from the point system used in 2005. Not especially surprising given that the speicifc point scheme isn't a USOF rule, and does get fiddled with every few years.

Now that you know the point scheme, and course difficulties & order, and the fact that there is forking this year for 2006, you can put together your relay team to best meet all of these factors.


I'm not even convinced there is a strong case that rule 34.5.3 was violated - 6 weeks is _plenty_ of notice for clubs to talk to the various people who may be going to the Relay champs and try to put together teams that meet the requirements.

Yeah, some of you may have a different relay team than last year, or even a different relay team that you were thinking of for this year under the presumption that the point scheme would stay the same. You now have 6 weeks to see if you can re-optimize your teams. Perhaps changing who's on each team, what order they run, etc., to best take advantage of the various things that we now know (e.g. forking which means you may not just want a really-fast non-navigator on an important leg...)

The Pig consistently puts on great quality events -good maps, good courses and I'm definitely going - even if it's just to spectate.
Feb 16, 2006 11:01 PM # 
Some people already have plane tickets. The definition of "plenty" varies from person to person, and is not specified in the rule. My interpretation would be plenty=6 months or a waiver from sanctioning. As I mentioned, sanctioning was told just a few weeks ago "no changes."
Feb 16, 2006 11:07 PM # 
By the way, is there going to be an announcement somewhere that these changes have occured? There is a note on the Pig event site. There is a note in this thread. I think it went out on clubnet. What about everyone else? It will be a rude awakening for some team to show up only to discover they are no longer a valid team. Is there an offical USOF channel for this info? The only offical messenger I know of is ONA. 6 weeks to the meet...
Feb 16, 2006 11:23 PM # 
I am feeling you Eddie, I almost bought my ticket yesterday :)
and btw, I don't think that people who serious about US Relay Champs plan this just few months before, I always thought of next year as soon as this year relays are over.
Feb 17, 2006 12:11 AM # 
Real athletes never 'boycott' competitions and don't afraid of new challenges. Don't be silly.
Feb 17, 2006 12:23 AM # 
I agree with Eddie that some people might like some longer lead time. That would have been better. Indeed, DVOA has been planning on and off since last year.

But after much debate, the rules have been posted and we can all decide if those rules make you not want to go at all, or just adapt and compete.

I don't think many of us would skip a chance to go to WOC even if they had changed the rules and put MicroO' in the Middle...
Feb 17, 2006 1:03 AM # 
This is kind of a philosophical point, but I think the notion of "boycotting" and that of "real athletes," while applied here likely both in a rhetorical sense, are strictly speaking not of the same class. That is, one can't a priori say that A does not imply B. There may be (spurious) correlation but no demonstrable causation.

My point is (and the only reason that I am stating it besides the fact that I am endeavoring to burn off some CH3CH2OH) that real athletes can and may boycott competitions, or they may not. The act of doing or not doing so is not helpful to determine their level of "realness."

People of principle, speaking normatively, if they interpret actions as contrary to their principles, should boycott competitions under certain coditions. While it might be sophistry to construct an absurd hypothetical "competition" to illustrate the fact that "competitions" can be devised willy-nilly, and therefore should merit no undue respect because they are so-called "competitions," it seems to me that this is no idle conjecture--it can and has happened--and therefore, it may indeed be incumbent, in the categorical imperative sort of way, that those who are especially concerned competitive integrity may actually consider a "boycott." Anyway, a God-awful sentence for y'all, but it just got me thinking about a "real athelete" is.

Thanks and apologies to Vadim for presenting such a pithy and fecund statement.
Feb 17, 2006 1:16 AM # 
I thought Greenspan retired last week. Did he really just move down to the cubicles to give personal obfuscation tutoring?
Feb 17, 2006 3:19 AM # 
I think Clem's been obfuscating as long as Greenspan has... I had to look up 3 words...
Feb 17, 2006 10:46 AM # 
Is "willy-nilly" one of them?
Feb 17, 2006 2:39 PM # 
The Pig staff can do whatever they please with their rules any time they want to. They have a great history of putting on quality events. I'm sure people who attend will have a great time.

However, to call the events they're putting on in 6 weeks USOF Championships is a farce.
Feb 17, 2006 3:43 PM # 
Chickens :)
Feb 17, 2006 3:55 PM # 
Why plural, John? Is anything wrong with the Sprint Champs?
Feb 17, 2006 4:06 PM # 
I think Eddie has ratcheted his rhetoric somewhat higher than he ought with forswearing Flying Pigs into the indefinite future barring whatever he considers drastic changes (a putsch within OCIN?) - just boycotting the relay seems like enough to make the point if it must be made by actions beyond resigning from the sanctioning committee as well as words - but I don't see any justification for name-calling, even tongue in cheek.

Or, if you must call people names, consult with Clem on phrasing so they won't be sure even after they've checked the dictionary whether they've been insulted or not.
Feb 17, 2006 4:20 PM # 
What name calling? I think I'm making valid points here.
Feb 17, 2006 4:55 PM # 
Agreed, though you're making them quite vehemently. The name calling I had in mind was the likening of people to poultry and, somewhat more obliquely, discussion of what "real athletes" don't do.
Feb 17, 2006 5:18 PM # 
Oh, you're talking about Sergey.
Feb 17, 2006 5:51 PM # 
He's clearly joking. Besides, the chicken is a noble beast, to be sure. What other athlete is dedicated enough to continue running even after it's head has been chopped off?
Feb 17, 2006 5:55 PM # 
Oh, hell, here I am again after promising to shut up. Now my campaign is truly doomed (of course, it already was because my bike, while sweet, has no pegs).

It's with considerable dismay that I've read the tail end of this thread. I was beginning to think that perhaps some movement had been made away from the angry mob mentality of the internet when the bulk of the contributors kept their points both pertinent and impersonal. I understand that some members of the sanctioning committee would have preferred things done differently. I understand that such members may decide that the discrepancy between reality and their desires is great enough that they no longer care to serve. All that is entirely fair. But, as Sergey and Wyatt pointed out, we are talking pretty small potatoes here.

The only rule that has been "broken" is an interpretation of 34.5.3, which is actually an impossible rule to break because the terms of the rule are not well defined. Granted OCIN did suggest a few other changes that were misguided to say the least. But those changes were retracted so all we're left with is a quarrel over weather 6 weeks is ample lead time for announcing the points structure.

I believe it's a bit short, very short given the importance of M35 in relay composition, but without a clear timeframe specified in the rules, I can't see how OCIN is actually violating anything - just exercising some dubious planning and/or judgement.

If members of the sanctioning committee think the process is broken, they can live with it, work to fix it, or resign. While I would not presume to suggest which course to take, I think it's a bit unfair to blast OCIN just because their interpretation of a subjective rule differed from that of others.

I still don't understand what OCIN thought they had to gain by stirring this pot, but the end result does not appear to the sort of thing that calls for righteous indignation.
Feb 17, 2006 7:33 PM # 
Who cares about how the rules were interpreted, the whole idea of changing the point system in such a short time defies any logic, and I don't know why OCIN decided to open this can of worms while clearly aware of the negative reaction to follow afterwards from many members of the O community.
Feb 17, 2006 7:45 PM # 
Z's point is well-taken. Where are the people who are happy about the M35 point change in this circumstance? Who is OCIN benefitting by this change? They are clearly pissing some people off. Are they making others smile? If not, then does this just qualify as a really dumb marketing maneuver?
Feb 17, 2006 7:59 PM # 
In addition, there is more to this case than what you've been reading in this thread. Righteous indignation is called for (in my opinion), points issues aside. Hopefully after the board meeting in FL there will be more to say.
Feb 17, 2006 8:12 PM # 
I bet the reaction had been a whole lot more positive if OCIN had announced, for instance, that everyone who shows up will get a big chocolate medal regardless of how well their team does.

There are two aspects of event quality: fairness and competitor enjoyment. OCIN has not viewed the process in which certain athletes benefit, against the body of available physiological evidence, as fair, and tried to improve it. This obviously caused a hit to competitor enjoyment. Conclusion: OCIN's trade-even point between those two aspects varies from that of others who expressed their opinions.

To me the "who benefits and how?" question is sort of similar to one asked about, say, a dubious stock-trading schemes in which an insider benefits a lot from knowledge, and the rest of the market loses, each investor a tiny bit. The existing points scheme penalizes at least two types of clubs, one with few M35s but more M40+'s, another one with the predominance of pointless M21s.

If your club does not have good M35's, you resort to M40+'s and females to furnish a point-worthy team. Because of physiology, these runners are inherently slower than the M35's a different club would use. Thus the club with the most M35s has the advantage over the M40s club, which to me and most of the rest of OCIN does not seem fair. The other type of club is penalized most severely. If all you have a bunch of M21s, the team cannot be eligible for the Championship. Yet physiology says that your runners do not have more than a 3% speed advantage over the 35-year-olds.

The goal of making some of the fittest runners ineligible for points was to give an incentive to clubs to involve a broader section of their membership in competitive team selection. These runners—hopefully females and juniors— who would otherwise be left outside the club's number-one team, now should have a chance to contribute to their club's Relay performance.
Feb 17, 2006 8:14 PM # 
Based on Randy and Eddie's reactions, I think it's safe to say OCIN's actions must appear much more outrageous if one has been involved in the whole sanctioning process. Not having been involved, it's hard to say whether righteous indignation is overdoing it or not.

Will the board be meeting in open session in Florida or behind closed doors?
Feb 17, 2006 8:16 PM # 
Board meetings are open to public viewing as I understand it. Bringing pizza and beer was recommended.
Feb 17, 2006 8:41 PM # 
I only wish that other clubs put meets of same quality as OCIN did, does, and will do!

In my opinion we should be more concerned about degrading numbers of young orienteers than about team compositions for some clubs that would be affected by OCINs decision (which is undoubtedly within the USOF rules and guidelines).

Start training properly and let the peace be with you! V
Feb 17, 2006 8:43 PM # 
Just to add to my previous post... so, OCIN thinks it has a points system that is more fair, but isn't it blatantly unfair to people who already composed their teams and bought tickets to find out that their teams are now ineligible? Which fair is more fair?

It seems to me that there was quite a bit of understanding among us OCINners that it indeed was quite late in the process, but we nevertheless settled on the point change for the event. Clem suggested that these changes be held until a later Relay Championships. My personal reason to go ahead and still push for the points change for 2006 was that late in this case was better than never. Based on the existing track record, another club would be quite reluctant to implement any changes.

To begin, there seems to be a lack of organizer interest in the Relay Champs. It is one of the last Championship event slots to be filled, rivaled only by the Night Champs. And, once the event bid is settled, organizers have so far been reluctant to implement fairness-related items such as forking that they have been entirely free to pursue, and for which there is discernible public interest. The whole event concept seemed to me to become quite rigid ever since PG's monumental point-system introduction. And, with the aging of the NA O population, the point for M35–39 seemed to me to introduce the most unfairness, an item that needed rectifcation and that was wholly in the power of the organizing club to remedy.
Feb 17, 2006 8:48 PM # 
I also like very much the Vlad's idea that everyone who will show at Flying Pig will get a chocolate medal! OCIN should take it very seriously under concideration. Life is a big box of chocolates :)
Feb 17, 2006 8:51 PM # 
Pizza and beer might be good in any case. Curious, did most of these prior discussions occur by email? As the last few exchanges demonstrate well, electronic communication is a medium in which one person's tough-in-cheek can easily be misinterpreted as slap-in-face, criticism can come across harder than intended, and attempts to find common ground and break tension may come across as patronizing or defensive. I say this with some trepidation, for fear of being misinterpreted myself.

Seperately, I might suggest that a very approriate protest of the new rules might be to run a team that is now ineligible for victory anyway. Although you will disqualify yourself from the extremely prestigeous championship, that's a minor boycott that still lets you have fun.
Feb 17, 2006 9:00 PM # 
Looking North (more like North-East for me) I can only applaud GHO for their spirit! Just come and compete against best in the NA!


GHO is looking forward to participating in the Pig. The Pig has become the unofficial 'kick-off' race to the year and the sprint and relay race make it that much more attractive. Yes the new rules will make it harder for us to form teams (and we aren't even eligible to win) but we still hope to enter 3 club teams.

Feb 17, 2006 9:08 PM # 
No one talks about the quality of the events or competitive spirit, the point system is the issue.
Feb 18, 2006 4:52 AM # 
All the factors arguing in favor of changing the points were true at the time of the sanctioning request. Had they been suggested at that time the changes would not likely have been very controversial. As it is, any future relay director will probably look at this thread and say, "heck no, I ain't messin' with it." Thus, the most likely effect of forcing this change through will be to solidify the old system.

Also, I can't imagine that the level of vehemence expressed in later posts stems solely from the point change. The compressed start proposal really damaged the argument that OCIN was acting in the relay's best interests.
Feb 18, 2006 2:37 PM # 
I think it stems from a combination of the point change, the bad timing of the change, and the way it did an end-around the sanctioning process.
Feb 18, 2006 10:11 PM # 
OK So it may be a bit late to dive in on this discussion, but after some reflection I thought that 2 important points have been somewhat overlooked (maybe not, I may have missed something in the previous 130+ posts).

1- The changing of M35 to 0 points versus NOT changing the Team composition point values. Seems to me these go hand in hand. Just eliminating points for M35 but NOT lowering the lowest Team points from 4 to 2 seems pretty much guaranteeing you'll leave some teams out of whack. If both had been changed then perhaps some teams with M35's might still have been valid (ie a team with 2 M35's would still qualify as a 2 point team).

2- Changing rules of a sanctioned event, after it was approved by the sanctioning commitee, is sure to upset members of said committee, and further changing and arguing that you can do what you like by YOUR OWN interpretation of the rules is making a mockery of the sanctioning process. Put yourself in their position. THey volunteer their time, try to make prompt and fair decisions, and a club just ignores them and at this point had angered them sufficiiently to prompt some to resign. How likely is it we will get someone to volunteer for this job again soon?. Who wants to have a position where clubs and members obviously do not take your decisions seriously and you have no power to enforce your policies. Why bother having sanctioning committee,?Just send your A meet request to USOF HQ and they will be rubber stamped..

This goes beyond whether OCIN is putting on a great meet, even beyond whether their changes are fair or needed or what everyone wants. There is a process, making a mockery of it wil only destroy the fairness and democracy of USOF.
Feb 20, 2006 2:17 PM # 
I certainly hope the leadership of OCIN will find it worthy to address coach's point #2. That is the crux of this entire issue.
Feb 20, 2006 2:43 PM # 
Here is what I would do at least for DVOA: run Relays as we planned, even we do not get 4 point teams, due to the changes approved by OCIN committee and petition to USOF board to stick to the point system. I would discourage any thoughts of boycotting OCIN event, Flying Pig one of the best events with long history and this will set a bad president for US orienteering. I think it is a mistake made by OCIN to even raise those issues with rules changes , but only one who does nothing does not make mistakes. I still think there are civilized ways to get out of this sticky situation.
Feb 20, 2006 2:47 PM # 
Greg - you are always the voice of moderation and reason!
Feb 20, 2006 3:08 PM # 
Does anyone know if OCIN's stated decision, here and on clubnet, is final? I have wondered why we have not heard anything from the USOF BOD. I can only assume that there are behind the scenes discussions and decisions being made of which we are not aware. But to me, at least some public statement demonstrating involvement and leadership in moderating and deciding the issue is warranted.
Feb 20, 2006 3:20 PM # 
The BOD has a meeting next weekend at the FLO meet. Not sure if this issue will come up. I hope it will.
Feb 21, 2006 8:37 PM # 
If Sanctioning had granted its approval with the explicit understanding that the point system would be unchanged, then it should have written that into the sanctioning certificate. The Rules allow the club to set point and category values, and do not instruct the Sanctioning Committee to do so. It is not a "YOUR OWN interpretation", it's the Rules.
Feb 21, 2006 8:52 PM # 
First, there's no such thing as a "sanctioning certificate." The chair simply counts the votes and e-mails a yea or nay with the standard canned info about assignment of course consultant, etc. Note that sanctioning never says "your meet is approved provided you have white through blue courses," so why should it explicity state compliance with any other particular rule when sanctioning is granted? Compliance with the rules is always implicit. Thats especially true in this case, since the bidder explicitly stated no changes.

Second, to repeat:

It is clear that OCIN violated the rule: 34.5.3 "The point teams and categories for a specific relay event, as decided upon by the event organizer(s), must be published well in advance and made available to all interested parties."

Sanctioning is an interested party, as are most of the orienteering public. The question remains, what is the definition of "well in advance" and also in my mind, what constitutes publication.
Feb 21, 2006 11:08 PM # 
My point remains that it is not the Sanctioning Committee that decides the point system, it is the club. The Rules specify the ordinary course structure (Blue through White), but they leave the Relay point system to the organizing club.

I agree with all complaints about "well in advance". I disagree with Sanctioning asserting authority over what it has never been given authority according to the Rules. A more apt comparison would be, e.g., if a club that organizes Individual Champs decided, post-sanctioning, to lengthen or shorten the courses dramatically compared to the guidelines, something the club is given authority to decide but probably should not deviate from much.
Feb 21, 2006 11:51 PM # 
Yes, the rules say the point-system selection is up to the club *IF* it is done well in advance. If it is not done well in advance it requires a rules waiver and should go through the Sanctioning Committee (for a thrid time in this case, since this bid has already been through sanctioning twice for a number of reasons). Many of these reasons taken piecemeal were acceptable, but taken as a whole in addition to the time constraints might not be.
Feb 22, 2006 3:39 AM # 
I'd like to clarify a few points.

First, when OCIN asked the Board to approve the Relay Championhsips at the February, 2005 meeting, we stated that we intended to make adjustments to the point system. The board approved the bid, and if there was any serious debate or criticism of the idea of point adjustments, it was not recorded in the official minutes. At that time, we did not have any specific points proposal.

When OCIN asked Sanctioning Committee to approve having the Sprint and Relay on the same day, we still hadn't done any analysis of the points structure, so we didn't mention that we were still considering it. In retrospect, that was an oversight. At the time, it wasn't part of what we were asking for then, so we didn't think it important to bring up. During the sanctioning debate, somebody suggested that the relay be shortened to compensate for having both events on the same day. Others objected. At that point, I made the now infamous statement that we would not shorten the relay by a significant amount and that the "flavor" of the event would remain the same. OCIN has never stated that there would be "no changes" from previous events or years. Now, by "flavor", I meant very generally: 4 legs, a point system, a 2+ hour winning time and a head-to-head finish. I never intended that statement to suggest that we wouldn't make any changes.

When we did finally get around to discussing changes, we put them out for public comment. Given the publication times of point structures and other important event information about major championships over the past decade (some earlier, some later), we figured that the 7 weeks or so remaining satisfied the "well in advance". We would have liked to do this sooner, but we hadn't analyzed past championship results and formulated a specific proposal. But, we felt that better late than not at all. If we'd already announced a point structure, I would agree that it would have been late to change it. From the day that any Pig 2006 information was posted, we've included a notice that the relay information (including the point structure) was "coming soon". If that led anyone to assume that it would be exactly the same as previous years, that surely was not our intent. Maybe I should have said "undetermined and probably different from 2005", so our intent wasn't as clear as it could have been. But, anyone who asked was told that it hadn't been posted because we were considering changes.

Obviously, some fine orienteers are not happy with the decision or the process. Among others, I have high regard and respect for Eddie Bergeron. I know that he badly wanted to win both the Sprint and the Relay and was concerned that having both on the same day would diminish his performance. If he chose to do so, I'm sure he could still do very well in both, and I would applaud his performance. But, it is also his choice if he wishes to make a statement about the process by not attending. Either way, in spite of harsh words, I respect him and value his friendship.

Regarding the Board Meeting, it is scheduled for 2:30 pm Saturday. Directions can be found from the USOF website (follow links through "club resources" to "board info"). Although beer was commonly brought to board meetings in the early 90's, alcohol consumption during the meetings has not been encouraged in recent years. This meeting will use a park facility and I would suspect (although I don't know for sure) that beer would be taboo. Food is welcome, however. Meetings are open to all USOF members. At the beginning of the meeting, there is an "Open Forum" during which any USOF member may speak on any issue for a maximum of five minutes.

Once again, As Vladimir stated, OCIN is striving for a fair competition that encourages inclusion of club juniors and females on the club's top team.
Feb 22, 2006 4:00 AM # 
Isn't it funny, no one denies the bad timing of above decision and its unpleasant outcome, and yet it is still, somehow, being pushed through. Where is the logic, am I missing anything or the are very runners' opinions don't matter no more?
Feb 22, 2006 4:09 AM # 
z-man is right. The obvious solution is to drop the proposed changes at this late stage of the game. Save it for next time. Just to be clear, during the sanctioning debate of the two events on one day, it was you Mike who suggested shortening the relay to compensate, not anyone on the Sanctioning Committee itself. The "others" you speak of were the entire Committee.

My feelings against having two champs events on one day are in regard to people sitting out one in favor of the other, diminishing the caliber of both. This is particularly true when one of the events is a handicapped relay, and will be especially true when there is confusion over the points system at the outset. I see this as a fairness issue, but I was a minority in that opinion on the Sanctioning Committee, which is why the Committee gave it tacit approval pending the outcome of the Exec Comm vote. My plan was to attend but (unfortunately) skip the sprint. Had the sprint stayed on Friday as originally sanctioned this would not have been necessary. Now I won't be running either one.
Feb 22, 2006 2:10 PM # 
Mike and Vlad, taking advantage of poor written rules, and Relays rules are really bad in its current edition, is not a good idea. Please use common sense: a small club like SVO was able to be 2 or may be 3 times US Champions (I do no have time for research) due to M/F35 1-point rule.Plus, I see why Eddie and Randy are offended, because sanctioning process is clearly undermined by OCIN committee. Please, review you latest decision, because I would hate not to see current US Relay Championship team not to participate in this year Relays because of the changes. I wish to see Eddie and SVO team at the Pig, it is not too late to save the face.
Feb 22, 2006 2:26 PM # 
I'm still waiting to hear who is going to be happy about the change. In other words, is it believed that some club would come away from the event saying, "That was great, our team finished at least one place higher thanks to the fact that XXOC wasn't able to field the team they would have if their F35 had been worth three points instead of two"? Or some runner who is going to say, "I'm glad that I got to run on my club's team, instead of that M35 clubmate of mine who wasn't worth a point"? There may be some people who feel that way, but they certainly haven't spoken up.
Feb 22, 2006 2:44 PM # 
Well, CSU clearly benefits since we have lots of M21s and no M35s (afaik). Was that OCIN's aim? :)

It doesn't mean we're excited by the process that got us here, though.
Feb 22, 2006 4:08 PM # 
It is not fair that 35 years old and 49 years old would get same 1 point for the team using old point system. There is much difference between these ages. There is not much potential performance difference between 21 and 39 years old athletes though, which is supported by numerous scientific research publications. OCIN's implementation of the relay point system makes competition more fair and promotes inclusion of the best juniors and female athletes into top club teams.

Having sprint and relay champs same day is absolutely fine, especially for WOC hopefuls. Good training to have both quals and finals same day as it is usualy done for sprints. Just train properly, come and compete against best NA athletes.

OCIN was absolutely right in their decision as they followed the framework of current USOF rules.

The point of the further discussion should be concentrated on the changing USOF rules to make them more stringent or making them more relaxed to allow flexibilty for the hosting clubs. I am for more rigidness concerning fairness of the competition and more freedom in the format of the competition.

Feb 22, 2006 4:10 PM # 
Once again the issue is the timing of forth implemented change!
Feb 22, 2006 4:19 PM # 
1) Has anyone on this list asked the BOD to take up this matter?
2) Is there really a consensous that the proper remedy for violating the "well in advance" rule is to make changes "not well in advance"/1.8?
3) What action could the BOD take that would improve the quality of this years relay? In addition to changing the rules again, I have seen remove sanctioning and encouraging "open protest" teams. I suggested donating a portion of the Relay income to the US Team, but so far I have no support.
4) This weekend, I told Mike, that I did not want to take this before the BOD because I wanted to support clubs who wanted to improve the Relays, and I liked this idea in particular.

OCIN has clearly shown I'm an idiot so let me use sarcasm, not logic. OCIN has shown that only they can,
A) Interpret the rules, not the Sanctioning Committee or consensous of the O-community.
B) Only they can count. See Randy's 2/14 post and see if you agree with the 2:1 against this rule change vs OCIN's math.
C) The BOD, and separately the Exec Comm., was told about these changes in a clear and timely way, and we are idiots for not protesting the changes.

Feb 22, 2006 4:54 PM # 
I like logic and I like sarcasm. Unfortunately, both seem to have been of limited avail here.

Therefore, I'd suggest a third way. Let's rumble! People can join with their like-minded fellows and settle this like real men and women on a field of combat.

I want to be on Eddie's team! :)
Feb 22, 2006 6:59 PM # 
That reminds me a scene from the Braveheart when Scottish and English armies faced each other at the battlefield. Lets draw a line after sprints Saturday across the field and let the strongest relay team win!

At the end it is the unity that created the Great British empire :)
Feb 22, 2006 8:18 PM # 
In keeping up with the sarcasm, would the Sanctioning Committee like to expand its sorely lacking authority to include actual mapping, course setting, and map printing? None of these are currently entrusted to the Committee, but, each being a core item that can affect event fairness and one that certainly needs to be decided "well in advance", I, as an event organizer, would welcome all help that I can get, especially one that comes well in advance.

Greg, the whole point of the people protesting the new point system seems to me to be narrow self-interests covered by noble calls for fairness and due process. Let me assure you that if the issue was not so soaked in self-interest, and if people had indeed made credible, convincing arguments that MF35+ should stay with MF40+, I would have been the first to say, sorry, bad proposal, should retract. Sorry for mouthing off.
Feb 22, 2006 9:05 PM # 
I bring up all three of your mapping points with every bid that comes through the committee. My pet peeve is print quality, but we also look at the course setters if we don't recognize the names. For mappers we can only say something if we happen to hear rumours. So far you (Vlad) did the best job of all the bids I've seen in addressing these concerns with the FLO bid. In my opinion, these three things are *the* most important ones for meet quality. However the committee has no enforcement/punishment power. Its simply yes or no to a bid, or a request for changes to a bid before approval. There's nothing stopping a bidder from saying one thing and doing something else.
Feb 22, 2006 9:49 PM # 
My post will likely rephrase several other posts on this board, but I wanted to highlight several salient points I see on this issue.

1) It appears that there is a certain will in the O-community to disenfranchise the M21(M35) orienteers in the relay competition. While current 4, 8 and 12-point category system provides plentiful opportunity for higher-point orienteers to compete in the relay (each club can have as many as 10-11 female or juniors/master orienteers if they furnish one team each in 4-, 8- and 12-point category), there is only one or two zero-point (M21) members who can compete. This category now accounts for M21-39 (18-19 year category of the most competitive male orienteers). Are there so many more M40s than M35s that it makes sense to effectively exclude or greatly limit M35 runners from competing in the relay? Do people feel that participating in an 8- or 12-pt category is so much less prestigious than in the 4-pt that there is a need to redistribute the opportunity to compete in the 4-pt category to the women/juniors/masters away from M21/35? And would this change not effectively transform the old system 4-pt category into an old system ~6pt category instead, disenfranchising the M21/35 runners while making the category less competitive (and, presumably, less desirable than the original 4-point category)?

2) While there may not have been the intent of OCIN to undermine the sanctioning committee, the effect has been to make a public ridicule of the whole sanctioning process. No nitpicking of the vague sanctioning rules can remove this fact. Without active steps taken by OCIN to somehow mitigate the damage now, I don’t see a good outcome coming from any resolution at the BOD meeting. If BOD will choose a conservative option, and simply make the rules more explicit, the sanctioning process will be doubly devalued and might as well not exist. Perhaps a worse resolution of BOD would be to triumph tyrannically over OCIN by sending them back to sanctioning committee at this point in the game to receive a resounding rejection and force the club to hold the meet according to “the rules”.

3) There is no apparent effort on either side of this issue to compromise by acknowledging other side’s concern and working on a satisfactory outcome for this quandary. The apparent facts, thoroughly discussed on this forum, have now taken a back seat to the personal battle where failure is equivalent to besmirching one’s honor and virility.
Feb 23, 2006 1:52 AM # 
I don't understand TheDabbler's point 1. Does increasing the supply of elete runners reduce the number of elete teams? I thought the 4 point category was being "disenfranchised" by a combination of orienteers getting older and a greater percentage of older orienteers participating in the higher point relay categories.
Feb 23, 2006 3:45 AM # 
Jim--your point is well taken. It is true that with more 0-pt orienteers (now made possible by M35 having 0 points) clubs could form a greater number of 4-pt teams, provided that they siphon off orienteers from the 8- and 12-pt team categories. In this respect, DVOA is lucky to have 6 or more 0-point M21/35 relay hopefuls, as well as many potential 1+ point team members who are real o-weapons. So—I see your vision, there could indeed be three+ competitive DVOA 4-point teams, plus … maybe another team. Perhaps, one day there will be just one, large, exciting 4-point relay category. However, as it stands, so many people are offended by the way the change was instituted that many may not come this year. Practically speaking, would it be unreasonable, given how things have turned out, for OCIN to allow clubs to organize teams according to their choice of last year’s or this year’s point system? Those clubs favoring the change will experiment, and those who planned the teams farther in advance can run as planned. This would be a compromise, and OCIN’s, possibly positive, change to the relay point system will be less likely to die after this championship.
Feb 23, 2006 4:45 AM # 
It is true that with more 0-pt orienteers (now made possible by M35 having 0 points) clubs could form a greater number of 4-pt teams

You can have as many extra points as you want on a 4-point team. I've got 4-point gold medals that came with teams that had 5 and 6 points, and a close silver from a team that had (I think) 9 points!
Feb 23, 2006 5:58 AM # 
I may be viewed as either an "objective, disinterested bystander" or a "g-d foreigner who shouldn;t be poking his nose into this" but for what it's worth here is my 2 cents, as a Canadian who has no intention to compete regardless of the point system. Now admittedly I have not read in detail all of the previous 200+ postings, and I am certainly not familiar with the USOF sanctioning process. But what I pick up on and what it boils down to to me, once all of the specific details, arguements and counter-arguements are set aside is this: Does "7 weeks before the race" meet a "reasonable" definition of "well in advance"? - IMHO it does not (regardless of any explanation ('justification') for events unfolding as they did. Sorry Mike.
Feb 23, 2006 11:47 AM # 
I like Dasha's proposal a lot.
Feb 23, 2006 1:56 PM # 
Allowing people to choose their own points system ammounts to not having a points system at all, or at best a very loose one. Allowing 4 or 6-pt teams in a 4-point category *is* the existing 4-point category, as jj pointed out. People are free to experiment += within the existing point structure all they want.
Feb 23, 2006 2:55 PM # 
Eddie, you missed the point that Dasha expressed in her last message. That is allow teams to form according to old and new point system with the notion that it will be transitional solution. Her proposal looks like the best compromise in this situation. I like it very much.
Feb 23, 2006 4:26 PM # 
Aaaaaand.... the medals go to whom?
Feb 23, 2006 4:52 PM # 
That's just wacky. This is a championship meet, not an experiment.

The whole thing has been unfortunate, and I think even OCIN has conceded that the communication was flawed, but aside from some self-serving arguments, nobody has shown that any real damage has been done. Nobody has questioned OCIN's ability to set excellent courses. Short of BOD intervention (which, at this point would likely do more damage than good) it's time to just accept the situation and move on. Those who don't want to attend certainly don't have to.

As for the "there's more to the story" argumentes: let's have them. You can't blast a club in a public forum and then base your claim on some "secret" information. The rule in question is open to interpretation. That interpretation may have been flawed, but this implication of malice is just nonsense. It's no wonder it's so hard to find a club to host relay champs when this is how the meet directors get treated.
Feb 23, 2006 5:00 PM # 
This situation has nothing to do with why its "so hard" to find clubs to host the relay champs. Frankly, I've seen no real evidence of this difficulty. The reason its "so easy" to find hosts for the other champs is that they are closer to the A-meet norm. In other words, if you were going to have IOF Middle and Long races anyway, why not bid for long and short champs to boot? Hosting the relay involves a change from that norm and is the most likely reson fewer people bid on it.
Feb 23, 2006 5:33 PM # 
No real damage done? you've got to be kidding me.
Feb 23, 2006 6:25 PM # 
Relays are not popular for bidders because current system leaves many people outside of competition, especially young ones and small clubs that don't have manpower to field a team (or people who would travel). For example, my club CTOC had four person relay team only once at McCall only due to the proximity to the club homeland.

Generally at relays we see less people competing. Although, hosting club have to put same efforts as for a regular event.

New point system at least promotes more inclusion of juniors into competing teams.
Feb 23, 2006 7:16 PM # 
For the BOD, clarifying the "ample time" rule would seem appropriate. How about, "The host club for Relays will publish the point structure and categories at least 3 months before the championships. If not published by the deadline, the previous year's US Champs Relay point structure and categories will be used."

Since there is obviously no consensus on the 'best' point structure or categories, I believe that leaving that flexibility with the host club will promote experimentation. For example, that's how the popular 12-point category came to be 2 years ago.

I am curious as to why SVO wasn't just planning to bring back last year's 4 runners to defend their Relay championship. None were M35, were they? Aren't Mihai and Mark 40+ and Brad 50+? I guess one of these guys is not available?
Feb 23, 2006 7:25 PM # 
That would be me.
Feb 23, 2006 7:47 PM # 
Sorry, Eddie. What I meant was that under the old or new points structure, SVO's 2005 team is/was at least 4-point team regardless of the M35 change (1 each for Mihai and Mark; 2 for Brad).
Feb 23, 2006 7:53 PM # 
I propose, to make sure Eddie does not change his mind last minute and bring all mighty SVO team to victory, to make championship category - 5 points not 4 ;-)
Feb 23, 2006 8:10 PM # 
I was worth a point last year too, so we were (are) 5 points. Assuming the same 4 guys could attend, the late point-structure change would not affect SVO the way it is affecting other clubs. We're getting older like the rest of USOF. As I have been saying, my own complaint is not about whether the points change is good or bad, its about the timing and the proceedure.
Feb 23, 2006 8:29 PM # 
I believe that leaving that flexibility with the host club will promote experimentation. For example, that's how the popular 12-point category came to be 2 years ago.

I agree that most changes/improvements have been courtesy of the host club, but the 12-point category is a notable exception. That was not OME's idea, but rather another club proposed it to the BOD, and the BOD approved it and instructed OME to have a 12-point category. (Which was then won by a team from the club that had submitted the proposal.)
Feb 24, 2006 1:50 AM # 
the 12-point category is a notable exception. That was not OME's idea, but rather another club proposed it to the BOD, and the BOD approved it and instructed OME to have a 12-point category. (Which was then won by a team from the club that had submitted the proposal.)

Hmmm...maybe I should propose a category for teams formed of expats.
Feb 24, 2006 3:06 AM # 
You mean that many of you have already given up on the New England Patriots :) ?
Feb 26, 2006 12:40 AM # 
The USOF Board of Directors has made the following resolution:
"It has been brought to the board's attention that the process for announcing the point structure and team composition is unclear and request OCIN to revert to the point system used last year."
OCIN will honor the board's request.
Feb 26, 2006 7:32 PM # 
Thank you Boad, thank you OCIN. Eddie you better be buying the ticket now, you have to be there with SVO team, please.

This discussion thread is closed.