Before I begin an item or two from yesterday's post can be cleared up, sorta. First, it seems there wasn't any actual webcast. There were only uploads to YouTube and from the posts in the NPPL forum on PBN there were issues with timeliness and sound, as in (apparently) there wasn't any much of the time for many of the viewers. I mention it now because I made some comments yesterday that assumed a webcast had occurred. And with regards the All*Star rosters that information was available on Pev's Facebook page. D'oh! Where else? And as to the format used during the All*Star event apparently the players (the All*Star participants) were informed of the new elements 10 minutes before they started. Make of that what you will, it's unimportant in the greater scheme of things compared to the subject of today's post.
Some of you will recall I had some issues with the officiating and the institutional control of the officiating in Chicago. For a refresher see the post in question here. Just to be clear when I say 'institutional control' I mean the person or persons in charge of oversight and the league rules for how that oversight should occur. As was plain in Chicago very little, if any, institutional control existed then--and it would seem even less exists after DC.
The first incident I want to recount occurred in one of our games on Friday because it has ties back to Chicago. There is considerably more to the story than I am going to make public in this post. The reasons are simple; I didn't personally hear what some of the participants are reputed to have said and because it is my intent to demonstrate a larger problem and not indulge in a whinefest. A player (for our opponent) attempted to run down one of our players. Another of our players was posted on the gap between the opponent and our player. (The announcer on the webcast, er, download stated his opinion that the opponent appeared to have been shot first.) The opponent dove forward, went out of bounds and the refs jumped in. One ref eventually threw a flag. The player the opponent attempted to bunker was wiped off. (Though he was pulled seconds later when he was shot from across the field.) We assumed the penalty was on the bunkering player for playing on given that our player was wiped clean and left in the game. But it wasn't. It was on our player who was defending the player our opponent attempted to bunker and the call was a 3 game suspension for overshooting with the intent to injure. (This penalty does not exist in the current rule book, btw. Overshooting with the intent to injure is a 6 game suspension.) If you looked you will note that I stated in the linked post (from Chicago) "the league rep chose to use his authority over the refs to target another pro team" and in fact, that league rep mentioned a specific player by name. Curiously, the player given the suspension was that player and the team we were playing is owned & captained by the league rep who oversees the referees. Coincidence? You decide.
That however is not my principle problem with that situation. My problem is a) the penalty assessed doesn't exist, and b) must be assessed by the Head Ref, and c) we were later told by (Commissioner? Ultimate Ref? Head Ref?) Tom Cole that if our player had lied or played dumb he wouldn't have upheld the suspension. (For the record my guy freely admitted that he continued to shoot the opponent until a ref pulled him out and he stopped shooting at his teammate. Which is, of course, what anyone would and does do when in a similar situation.) If you find this hard to believe it's gonna get better and there are numerous witnesses who heard what I heard.
As for the rules themselves--overshooting with intent to injure first appears under 21.06 Unsportsmanlike Conduct as definition (2). 21.06 refers to 23.04 & 23.05 for clarification as 23.04 provide details on 1 game suspensions and 23.05 on 3 game suspensions. However this specific infraction isn't mentioned under either 23.04 or 23.05. Only 23.06; 6 game suspensions.
23.03 offers a general description of suspensions but ALL the clarifying rules ( 23.04, 23.05, 23.06) contradict the general terms given in 23.03. 23.03 suggests players may be suspended without teams being additionally penalized however .04, .05 & .06 all state player suspensions are accompanied by the affected team playing short. So which is it? As written .04, .05 & .06 ought to supersede 23.03 given they are the specific rules that clarify the general.
Which leads me to the Infamous situation in which Infamous was DQ'ed for allowing LJ to play when he was (apparently) suspended as a carry over from the Chicago event. There are a number of "facts" which appear to be either unclear or in dispute as well so I won't pick and choose among those. What seems to be the case though is that no responsible NPPL representative was initially aware of the situation. That Infamous was given conflicting info about what to do and was allowed to play two games before it was decided they were DQ'ed. The disqualification is, surprisingly and ironically, the correct call, by rule. (23.09) There is however reason to believe the calls made in Chicago were not made in accordance with the rules and the same applies to LJ's suspension. Was the suspension handed out by the Head Ref? (Who is the Head Ref?) And as has already been demonstrated the controlling rules contradict each other but suggest Avalanche should have had to play short for the duration of LJ's suspension and further that, given a team change, Infamous's only obligation was to not play LJ for the term of the suspension. Additionally in 23.01 not only is any suspension to be determined by the Head Ref the Commissioner is to record and keep track of all suspensions & hand out all DQ's. (Who exactly is the Head Ref? Or the Commissioner for that matter? Are they one in the same?) So did a Head Ref make the original suspension call? Did the Commissioner keep track and was he aware that LJ was still under suspension? Who suggested Infamous play short one game? If the league was aware of a prohibited player playing why did they let it happen? And if they weren't, why weren't they?
Here's a situation you haven't heard about. After the games were played in the pro bracket on Friday Impact was one of the top four teams and through to Sunday. Except by Saturday morning they weren't. It seems that sometime during the evening on Friday one team lobbied for a video review in order to amend a game result. Someone--the unnamed Head Ref?--or the mysterious Commissioner?--decided to actually look at the video record and then overturned the game result changing the scores of the two teams involved and consequently changing the finishing order of the Friday prelim round. Word was that Impact had no idea until the next day they were out based on a changed result though I can't confirm that. What I will say is there is absolutely no rule in the rule book that allows for game reversals after the fact. The only rule that can even be used to try and justify what the league did is 22.07 (The Finality of Calls) which states 'Referees calls during a game will stand and cannot be changed after the game except in extreme circumstances when the Head Ref becomes involved.' The rules on Scoring (27) suggest otherwise and further clarify that the only changes allowed are to correct mathematical errors. In fact 27.02 (8) states that only mathematical errors may be corrected after the score has been posted on the scoreboard. And 27.02 (5) describes what occurs when one team captain objects to the final score as determined by the officials on the field and how the Head Ref is involved in resolving the situation and no where does it allow for post play video review.
By rule it doesn't matter what the video showed. For starters there were only two cameras on the field so the complete action wasn't covered. Without a complete record whatever is on the tape is irrelevant. And if you are going to allow one team to try and overturn the on field score with the webcast video I am certain every team has one or more games they'd like reviewed as well. As a one off decision it is absolutely contrary to the rules. As a practical matter it opens every game and every decision up to later arbitration and sets a ridiculous precedent. I frankly didn't think the league could screw up the officiating any worse but this is a new low.
At a minimum we have unclear rules that may or may not be known to those responsible for enforcing them while at the same time there are numerous examples of an egregious lack of 'institutional control' that is more than simple incompetence. And the NPPL seems to be incapable of even recognizing the fact there is an enormous conflict of interest built into their system and the individuals the league is relying on to maintain the integrity of the league aren't up to the challenge. If they are serious about improving the officiating it starts at the top with a commitment to the rules and the impartial enforcement thereof. Whoever is (nominally) in charge needs to go--go now and stay gone. And the league needs to separate oversight of the officials from the teams and players as the present situation is ripe for abuse and corruption in addition to the general incompetence demonstrated over and over this past weekend.