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Assessment problems

Discussion in 'Referee' started by CKRef22, Feb 20, 2013.

Moderators: IASocFan, MassachusettsRef
  1. CKRef22

    CKRef22 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Country:
    Germany
    I've got a referee friend in my state that has been trying to upgrade from 7 to 6 for the better part of this past year. He had a ton of unassessables, followed by an AR pass, CR pass, CR fail, then two CR passes to make up for the fail. Our state then decided he had to do another one for God knows what reason, so he flew to a different state to get an assessable game this past weekend. He passed, and expected to have his state badge waiting for him back home. When he returned, an Assessor from a previous pass went in to the assessment and changed it to a fail, and put the reason as he was told to. Has anyone been through a situation like this, and what would you do? The state is purposely costing this referee up to probably a thousand dollars now, all for nothing. He is thinking of suing. Thoughts?
     


  2. SA14mars

    SA14mars Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    Country:
    United States
    Did he have prior approval from both states to do the OOS assessment? Also, what explanation was given for the assessment change (not why it was a fail but why was it changed at all eg reporting error, criteria change, etc)?
     
  3. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member

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    Mar 23, 2011
    Country:
    United States
    If everything you have said is true then there is something very fishy going on. I don't know if suing is the answer but I would make sure he has hard copies of all the reasons for his, "fails" and other strange incidents that way if he has to go to US Soccer to file a complaint he has rock hard evidence.
     
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  4. CKRef22

    CKRef22 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Country:
    Germany
    Both states approved the assessment, he has all the paperwork to say so. He had enough assessments to have his badge before this last one, two of them done by National Assessors, but the SRA made him do another because she dislikes him.
    Everything I said is 100% true. He sent me the copy of the assessment that said pass before, and now says fail because the assessor "was told to do so".
     


  5. SA14mars

    SA14mars Member

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2005
    Location:
    Dallas
    Club:
    FC Dallas
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    United States
    Can't really advise you what to do, but that's definitely not a good situation. States can impose their own requirements on upgrades (if I recall correctly), bit that's got to be uniform across the board. Has he directly asked for a clarification from the SRA on the upgrade policies? If the response is different from what is published by the state or is different than what was enforced here, then it needs to be looked into further.
     
  6. CKRef22

    CKRef22 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Country:
    Germany
    Believe me, the upgrade policies are well known in our state and he has surpassed all expectations. An email even went out recently asking for the resignation of the SRA due to favoring and choosing who does assessments/fitness tests, etc. If you are an instructor, you can look on the state website and see where the SRA ok'ed someone not doing a fitness test or one less assessment. It's just an unreal situation.
    I think we are even one of the few states that require a game count to upgrade, which is 100 u-17 or above centers. Ridiculous in my opinion.
     
  7. Paper.St.Soap.Co

    Paper.St.Soap.Co Member+

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2010
    The game count requirement is not unique to your state. How "to the letter" it's enforced probably does vary from state to state.

    First thing I would advise your friend is to get some good advice from people in your state, people who have been through the process and understand the politics. If this were me, I would strongly ask myself if I even want the badge at this point. What I mean by that is, if the environment is that political and messed up who is to say he doesn't push the issue, get the badge and then run into the same situation when he goes to get his maintenance assessment next year?

    He may be best served by standing down for a little while and let the coup d'etat clean house. I'm all for a good fight but either way I think he loses if he has to go toe-to-toe with the administration. The complaint should be filed, of course, so the issue can go through the right channels.
     
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  8. nonya

    nonya Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2006
    Do you or your friend live close (like within 100 miles or so) of another state? If so register in another state. I got so sick of my state and their BS that I registered in another state, took all my classes and assessments in another state, etc.
     
  9. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
    Beaverton OR
    Good answer. I have a bunch of people who live in Washington but who register in Oregon. In fact, my SDA lives in Washington. Not necessarily because they've been mistreated by Washington, but they do almost all of their games in Oregon.

    If your friend's circumstances truly are as stated, I believe they have reason to file a professionalism complaint against the assessor who changed the assessment decision. Once the feedback has been released to the referee, you can't change your decision. In fact, it is unethical to change the decision after the debrief when you were told that you passed or didn't. The complaint will have to start with the national state association through which you are registered. Normally, that means that your complaint goes to the state adult soccer association. (Our state has delegated that responsibility back to the state referee committee, but, I believe, we are unique in that.) You can appeal an unfavorable decision to the USSF protest and appeals committee, but, I'm told, you will need a lawyer to handle that. Good luck, Mr. Phelps.
     
  10. QuietCoach

    QuietCoach Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Location:
    Littleton, MA
    Bear in mind, this assessor is apparently sympathetic toward the upgrading referee's cause and is willing to stick out his own neck, at least a bit. He could have listed the official reason as "previous result recorded in error" but chose to officially state reason for the change as "because I was told to". Those are fighting words, implying that he doesn't agree with the change and is tired of being a cog in an authoritarian regime. He had to realize that "because I was told to" would raise awkward questions, such as who told him to change it and why.

    Now, filing a complaint against this "good guy" may be the best path toward reforming a dysfunctional organization, but I would urge your friend to weigh his options. Targeting the flip-flopping assessor will force those awkward questions to be asked, creating a volatile situation. If your friend could buy that assessor a beer and get the inside scoop, it would inform his decision about moving forward with the complaint. The beer would be a lot cheaper than the lawyer, and at the very least, the friend would have an opportunity to express appreciation and offer an explanation before filing the complaint.

    - QC
     
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  11. BlackBart

    BlackBart Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2011
    I disagree. The assessor should have stood his ground and not changed his assessment. Changing the assessment showed the assessor's lack of integrity.
     
    socref79 repped this.
  12. DudsBro

    DudsBro Member

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    Jan 12, 2010
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Country:
    England
    He is a manifestation of the problem, but not the problem itself. There are probably many like him, both referees and admins who just do it to keep their job - how much can you blame someone for that? Partially, yes. However this guy at least announced his resistance and dissatisfaction, and give you a very clear opening for a complaint. Don't shoot the messenger. Yes, I'm sure there would be some discipline for this guy if someone went in to get everybody, but your friends should focus on the person who does the "telling."
     
  13. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
    Beaverton OR
    So, against whom are you going to make your complaint if it isn't the assessor? I fully agree that the assessor is trying to help you here, but comments, presumably from the SRA, to the assessor may not be considered unethical behavior. Further, the State Referee Committee is undoubtedly friendly with the SRA, since the SRA is a member of the committee and the rest of them appointed her. You are more likely to be successful, then, with a complaint against the assessor for what he did, rather than against the SRA for what she said. Just my humble opinion.
     
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  14. nylaw5

    nylaw5 Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2002
    Location:
    West Coast
    CK - this is a very public board and referees are a small community.

    Perhaps the parameters set for upgrading in your state are there for a reason.
    Perhaps you don't have all the information.

    There are a lot of high level people out there who have been through assessment processes before. They will be your friend's best resource, but he has to be open to listening and it sounds like there has been a lot of damage done already.

    Playing Rambo is not often a good way to get what you want.
     
  15. glutenfreebaker

    glutenfreebaker Member

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    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Country:
    United States
    Agree. And some users of this forum know exactly the people you refer to in this situation. Not that I think you've done anything wrong in what you've said publicly, but I ask that you take caution not to say anything inappropriate or unprofessional about anyone in particular. These people are my friends and I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that there's something going on besides deliberate discrimination. I hope this all gets resolved properly and positively.
     
  16. Baka_Shinpan

    Baka_Shinpan Member

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    Mar 28, 2011
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    Vegalta Sendai
    Country:
    Japan
    The relevant USSF policy is Policy 531-10 and can be found here:​
    Policy 531-10—Misconduct of Game Officials​
    Section 1. Terms and References​
    (A) “Game Officials” includes the following:​
    ...
    (4) any referee development program person performing any official function at a
    match.
    (B) “Referee Development Program Person” includes any referee, referee administrator, referee assessor, referee instructor, referee assignor, or other person serving in such capacity in a line or supervisory position, including members of any referee committee appointed by the Federation, its Divisions, Affiliates or Associates, a State Association, or a competition, tournament or other appropriate authority.
    ...​
    Section 2. Procedures​
    ...​
    (B) Misconduct Away From a Match​
    When any game official, referee, referee assistant or referee development program person
    is accused of unethical conduct, misuse or abuse of authority or conflict of interest in any
    matter in the pursuit of or may affect the individual’s official dealings within and as
    authorized by the Federation, its Divisions, Affiliates or Associates, a State Associations
    or Organization Member, or a competition, tournament or other appropriate authority, the
    matter shall vest immediately in the State Association through which the accused game
    official is registered or through which the referee development program person is
    appointed.
    ...​
     
  17. chwmy

    chwmy Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2010
    This is what I like to refer to as a "heavenly ham" problem. Meaning, the solution to ingratiating yourself to people who control what you want is, well, to be ingratiating. Apologize (for whatever unknown or irrationally perceived wrongdoing), send a token gift (heavenly ham, popcorn bucket, bagels) to their office, and generally make nice.

    He can tilt the windmill all he likes, but it will be quicker, easier, and ultimately more pleasant if he takes a deferring, humble tack, no matter what the "rightness" or "justice" of the situation is.

    Human nature says people like to control their own little kingdoms. We see this in the post office, local governments, schools, everywhere. It may not be "right," but ultimately one navigates such contexts easier with grace and generosity than with confrontation.
     
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  18. DudsBro

    DudsBro Member

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    Point taken. I'm not used to the alphabet soup of committees/people you have. It's more straightforward in BC.
     
  19. lemma

    lemma Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    There are four possible outcomes.
    1. First, everything the OP has stated is accurate, and there is no important missing information, and his friend decides to attempt to rectify the situation through official channels and fails, and goes down as a martyr with no hope of advancing as a referee, having been crushed by The Machine.
    2. Second, everything the OP has stated is accurate, and there is no important missing information, and his friend decides to attempt to rectify the situation through official channels and succeeds, resulting in his advancement as a referee and the reformation of some part of the overall system.
    3. Third, everything the OP has stated is accurate, and there is no important missing information, and his friend decides to just go along with the situation and maybe eventually advances as a referee or maybe not.
    4. Fourth, there is more to the situation than any of us are aware of, and his friend pursues the matter even though he probably shouldn't, and fails to advance as a referee and bothers everyone in the process while making a fool out of himself, while perhaps dragging other good people down with him.
    5. Fifth, there is more to the situation than any of us are aware of, and his friend goes along with the situation and maybe eventually advances as a referee or maybe not.
    Ideally either 2. or 5. actually happens. 4. is the worst case. 3. is an understandable strategy, but I would hope he chooses 1. over 3.
     
  20. Baka_Shinpan

    Baka_Shinpan Member

    Joined:
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    Vegalta Sendai
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    Japan
    While I agree that one should try to "graciously" navigate the political fiefdoms that tend to populate the layers of US Soccer from the local leagues through the assignors to the state and federation levels, this seems to be an example of where "going along and getting along" is not the proper course of action.

    I have no idea as to the veracity of the OP friend's claims and there is probably more to the scenario than was presented. I also have no idea what the politics are where this is taking place. I have no idea as to the reputation of the SRA, the state's SRC, or the process through which referees advance in this state, but the scenario put forward by the OP raises serious questions about the transparency and fairness of the upgrade process not only as it is being administered in this state, but also nationwide.
    First for the OP's friend's situation.

    1. The OP's friend deserves a clear explanation as to the justification for why an additional assessment was required. While he should have gotten this to begin with, he still deserves a clear explanation based on official state and USSF policy or practice. There could be a solid reason for requiring an additional assessment such as perhaps the first passing center assessment was over a year old, but that should have been conveyed to the OP's friend if it was not.

    2. To have a previously passed assessment changed to "fail" is as far as I know a significant deviation from practice and the OP's friend at a minimum deserves to know the specific reason for the change and how it is backed up by official policy and/or practice.

    3. By changing the assessment result ex post facto after the referee incurred the expense to travel outside of the state for an assessment with the approval of the SRA (or SDA?) seems to me to a good justification for elevating this, especially in light of the changing of the previously passed assessment to a "fail."

    It seems to me that the OP was atleast trying to "go along / get along" the SRA said jump and he jumped through each hoop that was asked. A result was changed after the fact and after he incurred additional expense, so it is no longer about tough luck, prove them wrong next year.

    As for what this means more generally, from my own experience I think that there is an amazing lack of written policies to guide the states in these areas and each of us should be mindful of ensuring that our SRC's have adequate written policies that are clear and provide for transparency in the referee development and upgrade programs.
     
  21. CKRef22

    CKRef22 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2011
    Country:
    Germany
    I fully understand that you and other referees from our state are on here, and that is why I chose to not name names and try to get myself in trouble. I am in the process of starting to upgrade myself and this situation is completely turning me off of even pursuing that. The referee in question is pretty good, you and I both know this, but he does have some problems with keeping his mouth shut. But that doesn't mean our state should be forcing him to spend up over a thousand dollars now when they don't even plan on giving him the badge. He has followed everything they told him to do, including travelling to another state to do an "extra" assessment game because they felt he needed it. Then they go and change a previous assessment, from six months ago? It's just all a bunch of baloney to me. If someone passes assessments from two different National Assessors, that person deserves to have the badge.
     
  22. Dave Anderson

    Dave Anderson Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2013
    Just be aware of the politics and gatekeepers as you go forward. Let me tell you a short story from Pittsburgh. As I was starting doing U-littles, there was a referee who had gotten a very nice badge. He earned it while pissing off pretty much anyone in the state who had any resource that he wanted (seminar hours, good local amateur assignments, rides to RTS....). He eventually got his critical assessments a time zone away despite having multiple PDL teams within a 2.5 hour drive of his house.

    He earned his very nice badge, and let all of us minions and lowly workhorses know that he had earned that badge, so keep the goddamn flag down for anything other than offsides even if you see a defender cleat an opponent in the groin 40 yards behind the play... (near verbatim pre-game I got from him)

    A couple of years later, he put himself into a situation where USSF disciplinary hearing was justificed. It was a situation where state level discretion was possible. The range of outcomes could have been a quiet counseling and letter of reprimand to a very long term suspension. The people in charge of the state decided to use their discretion to the utmost and came down as hard as they could while having three lawyers (all refs who were volunteering their time) make sure the entire process was unappealable because the paperwork, due process and notification requirements were met to a "T". That nicely badged ref got a multi-year suspension from USSF.

    Just be careful what fights you pick, that is all I am saying because I could see another ref do the same boneheaded move and get a 3 month suspension plus a quiet WTF were you thinking ass-chewing if that other ref had not pissed off everyone in the state.
     
  23. Law5

    Law5 Member+

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    Mar 24, 2005
    Location:
    Beaverton OR
    I second Dave Anderson's comments. We just dealt with a somewhat similar referee (not including the big badge angle) who pissed off a LOT of people in various ways. Referee abuse while he was a coach (!) caused him to come before a Referee Professionalism Committee hearing which ultimately gave him the black card, "dismissal from the Federation." Persistent referee misconduct was a big factor in the hearing panel's decision. Don't be a jerk.
     
  24. Ijustwanttoreferee

    Ijustwanttoreferee New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2013
    I enjoy refereeing no matter what the level or area even if my badge is meant for a higher level I don't care because that's not why I got my badge. Aside from that I received the letter asking for the resignation of the said SRA. I actually laughed at it because I thought to myself "finally someone willing to speak their mind and do something they believe to be right". I have officiated the better part of a decade yet we do exactly what the fans do, "it must be the referees fault". Ask yourselves this, "when did we forsake ourselves to allow such grey policies or behavior no matter where it is derived". We live in a democratic society yet nothing in the referee world is democratic. We all and including most of the people in these powerful positions have forgotten we are to serve our neighbor and for them they are to serve the referee yet it's turned into the referee has to serve them. Most of these positions are either paid or voluntary and referees are still seen as a service and a job. The referees of our state have always in fear allowed these people to destroy what it is that makes us referee. It is very rare to see someone speak out against them when they will take your games, ruin your career, slander through the grapevine your name whatever fear keeps the populace from speaking. This guy clearly spoke out and probably paid an unjustified price but if he can take them on maybe there is hope for others to finally quit just standing idly by.
     
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  25. Pierre Head

    Pierre Head Member+

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2005
    Although I do not know what State this is all about, nor any of the
    people involved, the most disturbing aspect of it is the changing of the
    result/grade by the assessor after the report had been posted.
    Assessors should be totally independent, and not under the influence
    of people in administrative positions. I really cannot understand why
    any assessor would do this, other than in fear of losing future assignments.
    I have been aware of instances where an administrator was not happy about a
    particular assessment result, but the assessor was not told to change it.
    The person who told the assessor to change the result was guilty of totally overreaching
    his/her authority and should be removed from office.

    I don't see how the stories about "unpopular" refs who have been subsequently
    punished for some other type of infraction relates to the initial problem in this thread.
    It does not seem that the referee in question has done anything wrong. He may not
    be "popular" with the admin but if he has met the requirements and passed the assessments
    he should be promoted.

    PH
     
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