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  1. #1

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    Lightbulb Hypothetical: Would a Qualifying Score system for US Nationals be more fair?

    Food for thought from the U.S. Senior Ladies thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by Coco View Post
    But they don't have to "guess" about that if they switch from a "top 4 @ regional" qualification system to qualifying score system. Just saying...

    Maybe they'd consider something similar to a PGA cut for determining the field at nationals, like the highest 20 scores from the previous 12 months. They'd take 24 skaters over all, with four spots reserved for injury byes or skaters ranked 21-24. The added plus of this system is the various fields are ALWAYS 24 skaters.

    They also wouldn't have to lock themselves into a formal rule that gives a skater a bye to nationals if he/she/they have 2 GPs. 9 times out of ten, someone with two GPs will have earned a qualifying score, but in the event they haven't, then they don't go to Nationals.

    And for the qualifying score system, they'd have to figure out a formula that takes into account the variances between judging panels, even though they shouldn't exist.
    Any thoughts and/or practical proposals on how to implement such a system and to make it as "fair" as possible?

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    I'm blushing,

    Advantages: doesn't automatically eliminate skaters with injuries during either of the two qualifying systems; lets skaters from stronger regions make it through the process at the expense of weaker skaters from, well, weaker regions; gives judges an incentive - over time - to get it right for the good of the country.

    Disadvantages: variances in applications of the scoring system from panel to panel will skew results and give judges an immediate incentive to inflate their scores. Skaters have as many chances as they have competitions, this might force them to compete too much, or give them a unproductive attitude that they always have a 2nd chance.

    That's why I like the "top 20" score vs. a qualifying score standard (everyone above X qualifies). You don't know what others will do, so there will be an incentive to do as much as possible. I think regionals and sectionals will still happen, they just won't be the only chances for skaters.

    As for making it "fair", well the only way to do that is to judge accurately.

    Assuming, sadly, that's not going to happen, I think a formula that takes base value and -GOE at 100%, and multiplies +GOE and PCS with a factor that minimizes variances in judging panels is best. I'm thinking of something that would look at all the scores from that particular judging panel in that competition, and determine trends in GOE and PCS. Sounds expensive and complicated, but preferable to just taking the raw scores.
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    It's all "greek" to me! I'd have to take a refresher math class to figure it out.

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    I'd be all for it. Maybe dump Regionals and just have Sectionals, with Qualifying Rounds. I think a combination process would be good- allow the top 10 summer/fall comp scores a bye to Nationals, and then take the top 3 from each Sectional, ensuring multiple chances. If they wanted smaller junior and novice fields, they could take the top 6 summer scores and then top 2 from each Sectional. In that case, the following skaters would currently be in line for a bye to Nationals in Junior Ladies- Gracie Gold, McKinzie Daniels, Angela Wang, Courtney Hicks, Lauren Dinh, and Mary Beth Marley. That would significantly reduce the current imbalance between Sections. More spots for Pacs and Mids ladies, and less for Easterns. Not to be hating, but come on now, do we want the best at Nationals, or not? CoP makes it so easy to do this, so why not? I don't even think score tweaking would be necessary- so far I think the judging has been pretty normal and balanced. Maybe they could assign certain summer/fall comps as qualifying events (Liberty, Detroit, Golden West, Indy, Lake Placid, Mid Atlantics, Glacier Falls, DuPage, etc) so you don't get some wacky backyard comp judged by the skater's parents as a counting score.
    Last edited by haribobo; 09-05-2010 at 10:28 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by haribobo View Post
    I'd be all for it. Maybe dump Regionals and just have Sectionals, with Qualifying Rounds.
    Which levels are you talking about? It might work for senior only or junior and senior, but sending all the novice ladies straight to sectionals would make sectionals unmanageably large, which kind of defeats the purpose.

    What I could see doing for the upper levels (junior and senior only) would be to change qualifying from the current funnel-shaped process (regional qual rounds narrowed down to final rounds, narrowed down to sectionals and then to nationals) to a sieve-like process instead, or something like the grand prix system.

    Offer junior and senior events at all the regionals that are being held anyway for the lower levels, and at all the sectionals that are being held anyway for novices (who qualified through regionals) and for pairs and dance (who start there), and also at one or more designated summer competitions in each section. JGP, GP, and senior B internationals would also be designated. Skaters who want to qualify to Nationals have to enter (at least?) two such competitions, but the first is not a qualifier for the second. They can choose two events on the basis of convenience, which could be two different regionals, two different sectionals, or one of the above plus one summer competition or one international. But they'd have to indicate by the Sept. 1 deadline which two events they intend to count.

    Definitely the summer competitions would need to be from after July 1, when new ISU rules go into effect. There were some big changes this year, for example.

    Then take the combined, average, or best score from the two designated competitions to determine who qualifies for Nationals.

    A "bye" might mean the option of using two international scores. Except, perhaps, for last year's top 5 seniors who have the option not to compete at all in the fall and go straight to Nationals.

    Using scores would be better than using placements because of differences in the strengths of the fields at these different kinds of events. But there are still potential inequities in using scores as well, as already discussed in this thread. No system will work perfectly.

    so you don't get some wacky backyard comp judged by the skater's parents as a counting score
    That won't happen. Judges aren't allowed to judge their own kids.

    They can sometimes judge their children's direct competitors, so in theory that would be an opportunity for funny business.

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    Continuing the discussion in the senior ladies thread...

    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    As I said, there's no good way around the issue, as the byes due to GP assignments are shaping the US nationals competitor list and are not completely within USFSA control. (Which I think is a bit weird. USFSA should have complete control over who compete at their own nationals to make sure the best get there.)

    The only things I can think of is 1) closer monitoring prior to international assignments and 2) being more stringent with byes. Or a combination of both.

    ETA: Here's another thought: USFS could spread out the sectionals through two weekends, so a lower-ranked skater going to, say, Skate America, will still go to a sectionals the weekend before or after (eta: if that skater does poorly in the gp, say 10th, 11th or sth). In those cases, that skater isn't required to be in any skating club within that region. That would be a drastic reform of the regional/sectionals/bye system though.
    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    How do they know who are the best? The skaters have to have competed in the past to earn that consideration. If they were top 5 in seniors at Nationals last year, then they're in. Otherwise, they have to prove themselves. If they really are the best, they'll get there.
    I agree top 5 should get byes. Hypothetically (making up a new system here) fOr the rest they either do well enough in interationals to earn their byes (like placing top 6 in their gp or making the jgpf) or they qualify through regionals and sectionals. But if a skater goes to gp and places 11th, I think that skater should probably go through qualifying.

    Because in between there's a whole group of skaters who are more or less as good as each other, good enough not to embarrass themselves at Nationals or senior B/JGP events and to defeat any other skater in that group depending who's having a good day whenever they compete against each other. If you're using several months of results from different events with different fields and different judging panels at different times of the season, there may not be a clear way to tell who's the "15th-best US senior lady" and who's the "25th-best." You'd have to let them all compete against each other directly to sort it out, and even then they might switch places between short program and long.
    Regionals and sectionals will decide that. I just think those with not-so-spectacular or stagnant/declining international results should be doing some US qualifying competition too. For instance I think it won't hurt someone like Czisny to do a qualifying this year. It's good for the development of skaters to get that "jolt" once in a while. Didn't Todd Eldredge do regionals and sectionals when he came back in 00-01?

    For foreign Grand Prixs it won't help much. If USFS thinks a skater with a foreign GP assignment didn't look good in monitoring, forbidding them to accept the invitation isn't going to guarantee that the host federation will replace them with another US skater. It might just mean one less US skater on the Grand Prix and one less skater at Nationals.
    I don't think it has to come down to "forbidding them (skaters) to accept the invitation". Like I said, if the sectionals are more spread out, those with poor gp showings could be asked to do sectionals, as long as USFSA allows them to compete in a sectional that they don't normally belong in. That may make skaters focus on qualifying for their sectionals and skip their gp.

    I don't think one less US skater on the GP will mean much in the long run unless that skater is extremely promising. In fact, US has had many many ladies on the gp the last couple years, but having that many ladies hasn't improved US's chance on the gpf (or eventually worlds). For that you only need 3-4 very good ladies (ala the Japanese team).

    Again, that's not going to help get any other deserving skaters to Nationals -- if anything, it could mean that someone who otherwise could have gone will have to stay home.

    All this "closer monitoring" would achieve in these cases would be to keep some borderline-national-quality skaters out of Nationals. Which could make Nationals slightly smaller and less expensive. It won't do much to help other borderline skaters that by some criteria might seem more deserving.
    It's probably just me, but last year the byes ended up with a large field of competitors but the competition at US nationals wasn't necessarily better. I want a good competition, not necessarily a large one. Of course, if the goal is to qualify as many as possible then forget what I said.

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    Haribobo brought up the idea of having qualifying competitions, and I like that idea very much. Choose, let's say, Liberty, DuPage, Detroit, Golden West and Middle Atlantics. The top 20 combined scores from those events would move on to the National Championships. The key is that the same exact panel would judge/call each event to eliminate bias. Therefore, this would probably only limit this system to the novice, junior, and senior levels. Otherwise it could become exhausting.

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    IMO, the bottom line as to whether or not the judging system can be considered as valid and reliable depends on COP's reliability and validity in statistical terms. Validity is defined as the system measures what it purports to measure. Reliability is defined as the system measures what it purports to measure consistently.

    I think that the jury is still out as to the absolute reliability and validity of COP, let alone intra-judge(within a given judge's assessments) and inter-judge (between judge) reliability. Judging, IMO appears to becoming more valid, although not always.

    It would make a great dissertation topic though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Haribobo brought up the idea of having qualifying competitions, and I like that idea very much. Choose, let's say, Liberty, DuPage, Detroit, Golden West and Middle Atlantics. The top 20 combined scores from those events would move on to the National Championships. The key is that the same exact panel would judge/call each event to eliminate bias. Therefore, this would probably only limit this system to the novice, junior, and senior levels. Otherwise it could become exhausting.
    But this, having the same panel at these events, doesn't happen now, right?

    I'm wondering if it would be concentrating too much power and responsibility in too small of a group. Also, even amongst the same panel, scores can be influenced by the size or quality of the competitors as a whole.

    At some point, the scoring system needs to WORK and allow for inter-competition comparisons, within the same season. I would hate to discount PCS entirely, that would be a mistake, but that is the area that is most likely to lead to unfairness.

    It will be interesting to compare, after sectionals, the scores of nationals qualifiers with the scores of non-qualifiers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    Continuing the discussion in the senior ladies thread...
    Yes, you're right that this is where the discussion belongs.

    I agree top 5 should get byes. Hypothetically (making up a new system here) fOr the rest they either do well enough in interationals to earn their byes (like placing top 6 in their gp or making the jgpf) or they qualify through regionals and sectionals. But if a skater goes to gp and places 11th, I think that skater should probably go through qualifying.
    So it sounds like you're not so much interested in making sure that skaters who deserve it get to Nationals as in keeping out skaters who haven't proved they deserve it based on this season's skating.

    It's probably just me, but last year the byes ended up with a large field of competitors but the competition at US nationals wasn't necessarily better. I want a good competition, not necessarily a large one. Of course, if the goal is to qualify as many as possible then forget what I said.
    Historically, in the past couple decades there have usually been about 18-20 senior ladies, and often senior men, at US Nationals, more or less. Less, of course, when there weren't that many senior men in the US at all some years, or when there were fewer byes given and taken.

    I think fields of more than 24 would be too large.

    So aim for 18 or 20 but expect it might end up anywhere between 15 and 24 in any given year.

    The fluctuation in size might have to do with byes, injuries, withdrawals and retirements, how many JGP skaters are competing domestically in senior vs. junior, timing of international events, etc. There will rarely be a direct correlation between number of competitors and quality of the competition.

    And it's not really possible to predict in advance how many not-really-national-level skaters will qualify or how many generally good skaters will skate badly at Nationals.

    Olympic years are likely to have larger fields and more pressure on the skaters who hope to make the team. Post-Olympic years will tend to have smaller fields with fewer stars.

    In the ladies' event, the cut between 4th and 5th at sectionals is likely to be between skaters of similar ability, depending who had a better two days at the qualifying event. And that fourth-place qualifier from some regions may end up in last place at Nationals or bottom of the top 10 or anywhere in between. Especially when we're dealing with talented but inconsistent skaters.

    That's sometimes true for the men as well.

    In other disciplines, though, it has often been the case that there only are four or five skaters at sectionals at all, or there are fewer than four entries who have what it takes (but may not show it today), so the third and fourth place slots may go to skaters who just don't have elite-potential talent to begin with.

    But you can't predict from year to year how many good skaters will enter from each region or section. So for the sake of fairness, up to four from each section have always been allowed to advance.

    I attended a few Nationals in the 1990s, and a few sectional competitions, I've seen tapes from some others from the early 90s and 1980s. More recently, I've watched on IceNetwork. There has been some pretty bad skating at Nationals in the bottom of some fields in some years. And bad performances from good skaters that landed them in the middle of the field, lower than they had achieved or would later achieve in other years.

    Some years, even the final freeskate group is a splatfest.

    So what? You can't predict all the potential disasters and weed them out in advance. As long as the size of the field is still in the manageable range, including more skaters doesn't just increase the potential for disaster. It also increases the potential for some really good performances from skaters other than the established stars. And the bad performances put the good ones in perspective.

    I don't think there's any point in trying to keep Nationals as small and elite as possible.

    If the goal is to try to get as many of the good skaters there as possible, so what if an occasional bad skater sneaks in?

    Regionals and sectionals will decide that. I just think those with not-so-spectacular or stagnant/declining international results should be doing some US qualifying competition too. For instance I think it won't hurt someone like Czisny to do a qualifying this year.
    No, it wouldn't hurt her, but it might hurt the skater who finishes a close 5th at her sectionals. And it wouldn't especially hurt her or you if she doesn't do a qualifying competition.

    It's good for the development of skaters to get that "jolt" once in a while.
    But does USFS necessarily know when making assignments in the spring and summer which skaters would most benefit from that jolt? They don't have to go out of their way to make sure that former medalists all get byes, but they also don't have to go out of their way providing jolts to selected skaters who disappointed recently. If after shuffling international assignments a bye works out, fine. If not, the skater can go qualify.

    I don't think it has to come down to "forbidding them (skaters) to accept the invitation". Like I said, if the sectionals are more spread out, those with poor gp showings could be asked to do sectionals, as long as USFSA allows them to compete in a sectional that they don't normally belong in. That may make skaters focus on qualifying for their sectionals and skip their gp.
    But what if the poor GP showings take place during or after the last sectionals? Or during the next-to-last one, which would mean a last minute change in plans (expensive travel arrangements, coach not necessarily available) once it's known how well the skater did at the second international.

    For the most part, if skaters get to skip both regionals and sectionals it's because of the timing of their international events. For the JGPF qualifiers, some skaters had conflicts and some didn't, so for fairness they all have been given byes.

    Occasionally a skater with international scheduling conflicts will have bad performances at the internationals and get to Nationals anyway. This affects at most a handful of skaters a year, so I don't see it as a problem that needs to be solved.

    You could insist that all skaters (except last year's senior top 5) must attend a domestic qualifier and spread out the timing of those qualifiers so all international skaters can find at least one without a conflict. They'd have to register in advance and expect to compete. Maybe skaters with especially good international performances before the qualifier they'd signed up for would be told they don't have go qualify after all. But it's hard to make it equitable since some skaters would (choose to, or have to) fulfill that obligation at their regionals before the international event.

    Keep in mind, though, that sectionals also need to be scheduled more than a week or two after the last of their respective regionals, not during Thanksgiving or Christmas week, preferably not during the same week as Junior Nationals (for availability of officials). So there's only so far they could be spread out.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by haribobo View Post
    I'd be all for it. Maybe dump Regionals and just have Sectionals, with Qualifying Rounds. I think a combination process would be good- allow the top 10 summer/fall comp scores a bye to Nationals, and then take the top 3 from each Sectional, ensuring multiple chances. If they wanted smaller junior and novice fields, they could take the top 6 summer scores and then top 2 from each Sectional. In that case, the following skaters would currently be in line for a bye to Nationals in Junior Ladies- Gracie Gold, McKinzie Daniels, Angela Wang, Courtney Hicks, Lauren Dinh, and Mary Beth Marley. That would significantly reduce the current imbalance between Sections. More spots for Pacs and Mids ladies, and less for Easterns. Not to be hating, but come on now, do we want the best at Nationals, or not? CoP makes it so easy to do this, so why not? I don't even think score tweaking would be necessary- so far I think the judging has been pretty normal and balanced. Maybe they could assign certain summer/fall comps as qualifying events (Liberty, Detroit, Golden West, Indy, Lake Placid, Mid Atlantics, Glacier Falls, DuPage, etc) so you don't get some wacky backyard comp judged by the skater's parents as a counting score.
    If I recall...I brought this up a year or so back and was told that I was full of Zamboni droppings....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jenna View Post
    Haribobo brought up the idea of having qualifying competitions, and I like that idea very much. Choose, let's say, Liberty, DuPage, Detroit, Golden West and Middle Atlantics. The top 20 combined scores from those events would move on to the National Championships. The key is that the same exact panel would judge/call each event to eliminate bias. Therefore, this would probably only limit this system to the novice, junior, and senior levels. Otherwise it could become exhausting.
    Those events are all in the summer. You'd still need to have some in the fall. Currently the various regionals, which are the qualifiers for large fields of juveniles and intermediates. Might as well continue to hold higher level events there as well, although skaters at the upper levels could have the option of skating their qualifying events in the summer rather than fall if they prefer.

    The test deadline for qualifying is currently September 1. Most of the summer club competitions do not require a skater to have passed the test already (i.e., skaters are allowed to "skate up" one level). Many of them hold short programs and long programs as separate events.

    And remember that there are a few hundred novice ladies in the US, and historically only 12 go to Nationals. Most of the regions have novice qual rounds. Most of the big club competitions have novice qual rounds.

    Over a hundred nationwide for junior and senior ladies.

    I don't think we want to replace the nine regionals with five or six club competitions. Maybe augment the regionals with additional club comps.

    I don't think this would work very well for novices, especially the ladies.

    For skaters who are not contenders for the top 12 or top 20, it doesn't really make much difference whether they only enter one phase of the event or competed at a level they hadn't passed the test for. They're not going to qualify anyway.

    But for those top few dozen who are in contention, how do you decide which scores to count?

    *What if the skater scored higher in qual rounds than in final round? Do you use the qualifying score?

    *What if the skater qualified for the final round in short program but not in long, or vice versa? Can you make a combined score using one qualifying round and one final round?

    *What if the skater tested in August and earned her highest score in June or July? Can the earlier score count, or does she need to use another competition from when she was officially at that test level?

    *What if a skater entered different competitions at different levels over during the summer-fall qualifying season?

    Suppose, e.g., a talented young skater wins some novice competitions in spring or early summer, enters a junior competition later in the summer just to test the waters, and scores well there as well. She has one of each in a designated summer qualifying competition. Both or either of her novice and junior high scores might hold up to qualify her, or they might not. She doesn't know in August what other skaters might do in October. So should she test up or not? Should she compete again in the fall? Does her test status as of Sept. 1 determine which level she's eligible to qualify in? What if that doesn't match her test status at the time the scores were earned?

    And then at junior and senior level, you also have the whole question of how international events figure into the qualifying process for the top skaters.

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    I think top 20 scores would be to hard and unfair. Perhaps a fairer system would be to say the winners of sectionals/regionals make it through to ensure every section gets some representation. and then judge everyone else through a qualifying score. And the score would have to be reached through an accredited competition though either national/club.

    Then except for those who pre qualified through last years results etc, everyone else would HAVE to put up that score somewhere, if you have 2 GPS you would have to put up that score at your GP event.

    They could always aim for a somewhat high score, and then lower the score if not enough people put that score up. I think a qualifying score would be significantly more fair than the current system. Its a bit detrimental when a talented skater like Agnes gets left off the JPG because she missed nationals due to a tough sectional.

    If you have an injury etc, than a person with documentation who made that score last season could maybe get a bye.

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    Just curious, bek: why is it important to have every section of the country represented?

    I'm also wondering if being from a strong section makes a young skater become better than they otherwise would have been. They develop knowing that they have to be really sharp just to get to Nationals, and they have tougher competition from a younger age. This has to have a positive impact on them.

    Conversely, how many skaters from weaker sections aren't pushed to become the best they could be because they can "get away" with efforts that wouldn't get them to sectionals in other regions?

    By no means do I think someone is loafing it on purpose. But w/o being pushed, who can say what they might have achieved?

    In any event, switching to a qualifying score system won't eliminate any of the benefits of the top 4 from sectionals, but it will get around that perceived drawback.

    I like limiting it to the top X number of skaters above a certain qualifying score, because that gives you the advantage of fixing the maximum number of skaters (and practice groups) in a discipline and setting it in stone. Is that best for the sport? Well, it doesn't hurt from the business end of things. And I don't think the US is really hurting itself by excluding the 25th best skater in a discipline.

    I know in my sport (women's lacrosse) there are MANY differences in officiating from region to region. It's something we really struggle with. Not sure if this would be a problem in skating. You don't want to give a region's judges and callers incentives to inflate scores and be lenient on calling levels and rotations.

    As an aside, I do think that the new downgrade "partial credit" rule will go a long way towards improving consistency amongst callers regarding jumps. I think some thought the previous penalty too harsh, and resisted hitting skaters with downgrades. Now they don't have to worry so much.

    And with a qualifying score system, no one would be getting a bye unless they legitimately couldn't compete between July 1 and the cuttoff point (Christmas?). USFS can decide if they want to give someone a bye for "promoting the sport", like Lysacek is arguably doing this fall. But really, it would be more democratic, imo.

    I think regionals and sectionals will still be very popular, well attended competitions. These are later in the season than the summer comps and will represent skaters best chances of earning a qualifying score.

    Maybe USFS could require sectionals to be judged by officials from another section? Would that help?
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    Quote Originally Posted by bek View Post
    They could always aim for a somewhat high score, and then lower the score if not enough people put that score up. I think a qualifying score would be significantly more fair than the current system. Its a bit detrimental when a talented skater like Agnes gets left off the JPG because she missed nationals due to a tough sectional.

    If you have an injury etc, than a person with documentation who made that score last season could maybe get a bye.
    You could have (like in other sports) an "A" score and a "B" score. The "A" score would be enough to guarantee you a spot at Nationals and a spot the following year if you have an injury. Something around 160 maybe for ladies, or the A score could be the 5th place score at US Nats the previous season. You could require meeting the A score once or twice to get the bye.

    The "B" score could be the nth (n = 10 or 15, for example) place score at US Nats the previous season. You could increase the value of n to meet a target # of skaters getting this bye to Nats if necessary. If you qualify to Nats via the B score, you do not get the injury bye that the A score gives you.

    They could also implement a minimum required score to be eligible to go to Nationals. For example, if a lady can't score more than 100 or 110 for SP+FS, then she cannot go to Nats (unless they win their sectional, as you suggest). They could follow the ISU model and make the minimum score TES only to eliminate PCS issues.

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    Just curious, bek: why is it important to have every section of the country represented?
    Well I think traditionally its important. BUT, I also think that winning sectionals or regionals should probably mean something. I'm not sure if they want to do top 4 or whatever, but I do think its a good idea if your going to have sections (and I think some kind of competition like that is necessary) than I think winning should mean something.

    I must agree that perhaps coming from a strong region makes you better. Perhaps missing nationals one year made Agnes and Mirai better skaters. However, when you consider that nationals is the be end/end all and it can mean junior skaters losing out on international competitions (junior skaters like Agnes who skated fairly well at their sectional) there is a problem.

    Its hard to know. I think in general coming from tougher competitions CAN make you better, but I also think that if the US is looking for the best possible people to represent them, than having uneven sections is a problem.

    I agree about the problem of some competitions becoming "inflation reputation competitions". Surely though there could be strict warnings about said competition develops it, the competition for the next year could be placed on review, which means tapes of all "qualifying" routines would have to be submitted or something like that. If a REAL abuse was going on. But the fact that the winners of the section would move on I think would stop those kind of things from happening. I think the benefits out way the risks.
    Last edited by bek; 09-07-2010 at 03:07 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So it sounds like you're not so much interested in making sure that skaters who deserve it get to Nationals as in keeping out skaters who haven't proved they deserve it based on this season's skating.

    Historically, in the past couple decades there have usually been about 18-20 senior ladies, and often senior men, at US Nationals, more or less. Less, of course, when there weren't that many senior men in the US at all some years, or when there were fewer byes given and taken.

    I think fields of more than 24 would be too large.

    So aim for 18 or 20 but expect it might end up anywhere between 15 and 24 in any given year.
    I base this discussion on the rather large ladies field from last year, which was 22, and that wasn't counting the early withdrawals like Musademba and Maxwell. Had Meissner also competed, the field would end up being 24, which is large even by your definition. If the intended field should be 18-20 like you said, that means last year the intended field of 24 was too large, with a couple too many byes.

    The men's field was 22 + 2 withdrawals (Carriere and MIner), which means the intended field was 24.

    So what? You can't predict all the potential disasters and weed them out in advance. As long as the size of the field is still in the manageable range, including more skaters doesn't just increase the potential for disaster.
    I think my tweaking only would cull the skaters down to about 18-20, which is near what you're shooting for too.

    No, it wouldn't hurt her, but it might hurt the skater who finishes a close 5th at her sectionals. And it wouldn't especially hurt her or you if she doesn't do a qualifying competition.
    Whether a skater should do qualifying competition should depend on the needs of a skater and not the needs of other skaters from that region. If a skater hasn't been skating well and should probably go through qualifying there's no reason to keep him/her out of it just to benefit someone else. Sending a skater to the same internationals year after year for mediocre results isn't always the best thing to do. Besides, giving the SA TBA spot based on recent qualifying competitions may not be a bad idea. That way the assignments could get more spread out also if some up-comers end up doing very well recently

    But does USFS necessarily know when making assignments in the spring and summer which skaters would most benefit from that jolt? They don't have to go out of their way to make sure that former medalists all get byes, but they also don't have to go out of their way providing jolts to selected skaters who disappointed recently. If after shuffling international assignments a bye works out, fine. If not, the skater can go qualify.
    I think your argument is "can't tell in advance", but in many cases, there're telltale signs months in advance. We all had concerns about how E. Hughes could manage school and skating. And some had heated arguments over her being sent to GP the last couple years. Fanshere also had concerns about other skaters who've had issues long before they competed at GPs.

    This affects at most a handful of skaters a year, so I don't see it as a problem that needs to be solved.
    a handful of skaters in a field of about 20. That's 10% of the competition.

    You could insist that all skaters (except last year's senior top 5) must attend a domestic qualifier and spread out the timing of those qualifiers so all international skaters can find at least one without a conflict. They'd have to register in advance and expect to compete. Maybe skaters with especially good international performances before the qualifier they'd signed up for would be told they don't have go qualify after all. But it's hard to make it equitable since some skaters would (choose to, or have to) fulfill that obligation at their regionals before the international event.

    Keep in mind, though, that sectionals also need to be scheduled more than a week or two after the last of their respective regionals, not during Thanksgiving or Christmas week, preferably not during the same week as Junior Nationals (for availability of officials). So there's only so far they could be spread out.
    Or we could have minimum scores like what has been suggested in the thread--if a skater is ill-prepared and ends up with 130 in a gp (say, ladies) then that skater doesn't go to nationals automatically.
    Last edited by jlai; 09-07-2010 at 04:47 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jlai View Post
    a handful of skaters in a field of about 20. That's 10% of the competition.
    I meant a handful across all disciplines in junior and senior, not just in senior ladies.

    Or we could have minimum scores like what has been suggested in the thread--if a skater is ill-prepared and ends up with 130 in a gp (say, ladies) then that skater doesn't go to nationals automatically.
    That would be a big change in the way qualifying works. But as I said in my first post in this thread, if we use scores from various designated competitions (big club comps, regionals/sectionals, and internationals) as qualifying criteria, then skaters with two or more internationals that conflict with domestic qualifiers could have the option of using the international scores as qualifiers. Not a direct bye to Nationals, but a pass out of regionals/sectionals.

    How close are we getting to scores being comparable between different events and different kinds of events?

    When we get there, such a system will work. It'll never be exact, but I think they are getting somewhat more consistent.

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    How close are we getting to scores being comparable between different events and different kinds of events?

    When we get there, such a system will work. It'll never be exact, but I think they are getting somewhat more consistent
    Well if they make it qualification by TES like the ISU is doing and another person mentioned, I think it will be difficult for the scores to be that different per competition. (And another reason I thought letting sectional winners go to nationals is that it will provide a compromise. Perhaps people from weaker sections won't be willing to vote for a system that may mean nobody from their section can go to Nationals. But if they are thrown the bone of a guarantee of one person, it may make a difference.

    I think the main thing is making the system better. I don't think the system is soo much a problem for the Seniors (I dont' feel sorry for Alissa that she has to qualify given her performance at Nationals) but I do think it presents significant issues with Junior skaters and younger ones. When you have someone like Agnes who could have used the JGP experience last year, and the fact that it really will affect her world ranking going into the Senior GP...

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    Another point that occurred to me is that by using scores from many competitions, a lot of skaters won't know for sure whether they qualified for Nationals until long after their qualifying event is over.

    As things stand now, if you go to regionals and sectionals and place top 4 at your sectionals, you know as soon as the results are posted that you've qualified for Nationals, currently mid-November. If you have internationals that conflict with sectionals are granted a bye to Nationals, you know as soon as the assignment and the bye are confirmed. If you have early JGP assignments and don't know after your last event whether made the final you have to wait a few weeks to find out whether you're going to the JGP final and get a bye to Nationals or whether you need to compete at sectionals. But either way you'd have the answer to that question in mid-October, and then if you do compete at sectionals you'd know right away whether you qualified or not.

    Suppose the sectionals are spread out so there are 2 in November and 1 in December. JGPF is also in December. Top X scores from various events will qualify for Nationals (and sectional winners qualify regardless of score). Now a skater who places 2-4 at the first or second sectional event, or maybe lower than that but with one high score from their one JGP or a summer event, has to wait and see how their scores hold up as the other skaters' scores come in from the remaining GP and senior B events and from the JGP final. Some skaters could be finished competing the second week of November and be "on the bubble" not knowing whether they qualified until 5 weeks later. Others may only have to wait 1-3 weeks after their own last event. But that's still a lot of uncertainty for a lot of people.

    Other points about whether to use of TES scores only as qualifiers.

    Yes, they're much more objective than PCS and therefore more comparable across different events with different panels. But are they really the best way of deciding which skaters are worthy of advancing to Nationals?

    The ISU is not using scores at previous events to determine who qualifies for the championships. The minimum score requirements are just thresholds to determine whether a skater may even be considered. But a federation that has multiple skaters who meet that threshold can use whatever method they choose (often results of national championships) to determine which of them to send to the ISU events.

    So the scores function more like test credentials than qualifying competitions. They're not being used to compare skaters and choose between them.

    If we are using scores to choose which skaters advance, then using only TES could lead to a paradox:

    Suppose skaters A and B both compete at the same sectionals.

    Skater A gets a couple of downgrades or intentionally doubles some triples and gets a couple of level 1 spin calls, average GOEs around +1 even with minuses for the downgrades. So the TES in relatively low. But the basic skating level and the performance quality are high, so s/he gets PCS in the 5-6 range and finishes 2nd or 3rd in the field.

    Skater B has harder jumps in the SP, 7 rotated triples in the LP (or rotated but not cleanly landed quad), and all level 4 spins, GOEs averaging -1. The TES is high on the strength of the base mark, but the skating and performance are less strong, with PCS averaging in the low 4s. S/he finishes behind skater A in the overall sectional standings.

    And neither of those skaters had a higher score from another competition to be considered instead. It's the sectionals scores that will decide their fate.

    Now it's time to determine Nationals qualifiers. If you use only TES, skater B has a higher total. But skater A had higher TSS in both short and long program, clearly defeated B in both programs and in the overall sectionals standings.

    What if skater B's technical scores are high enough to fall 20th on the list of potential qualifiers and skater A's TES are only 27th on the list? Do we really want B to qualify to Nationals and A to miss out on the basis of performances at a competition where A clearly defeated B?

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