Alright, we’ve been holding off on speaking our piece when it came to this whole catfight between the UPA and UOA until everyone who wanted to talk to us had spoken with us. Apparently, the New Hanover County Parks and Rec people have nothing more to say and neither does Gerics. Although, it appears that he’s still stewing on the whole situation. He’s just doing it elsewhere on the internet.
To us, this seems like the UPA has had a bone to pick with Gerics ever since the “UOA” started but we aren’t sure that we blame them. We put the group’s title in quotations because if you claim that an internet message board is your website, well, you just aren’t that official. One need look no further than this message thread to start to wonder just what it is that Mike is really trying to accomplish with this whole shebang.
Obviously, the dude is passionate about Ultimate. We want to believe that Gerics actually has the best intentions for the sport at heart but when you refuse to answer even the simplest questions about your organization/tournament process, people are going to wonder what you’re up to.
For instance, per Jason Weddle (UOA’s co-founder/runner/We would know his title if there were a website): “You can get some of our training material and observer techniques by ATTENDING AN EVENT. We don’t necessarily want every joe public out there to have access to our info.”
We would ask, why not? If your true goal is to further the sport and increase the level of observer participation (earlier in the thread Weddle writes: “We promote the use and training of observers in Ultimate.) then what is the harm in people having access to the information that you use to train your observers. To us, it seems like there is no harm, only the potential gain of people becoming interested in observing Ultimate and thereby, increasing the amount by which you accomplish your stated goal.
In our mind, the fact that neither Gerics nor Weddle responded to our requests for interviews is enough to further suspicion. It’s easy to stand up to the questions that you want to stand up to on RSD or to steer the conversation in whatever direction you desire but if you don’t want to explain your side of the story to an unbiased observer (see, you would think they would be in to that sort of thing) then it pushes us to assume that even your side of the story doesn’t reflect well on you.
Now, don’t think that we’re just going to hate on the UOA. We are all for the increasing use of observers in Ultimate, especially college Ultimate and, to us, it’s clear that, whatever the means and motivation, Gerics and the UOA are pushing observers to the farthest level they’ve ever been successfully. With that in mind, we were, as you can imagine, stunned by the UPA’s actions in this whole affair.
A year long suspension by arguably the most active tournament organizers of this season? After complaints have been storming in about Cultimate and no one, for the most part, has had anything negative to say about the UOA? A YEAR LONG?
To us, this is a knee jerk reaction with no prior precedent. As Gerics pointed out, it took the UPA less than 24 hours to decide that a year long suspension was the correct course of action. That’s a pretty quick turnaround for another organization that still doesn’t have a truly functioning website.
On a similar note to Gerics, it seems strange that the UPA is unwilling to answer questions about this situation. They certainly have a lot to answer for. Why this suspension? Who contacted you first? Have you warned Gerics about this kind of behavior? Is this kind of policy going to be the new way the UPA coordinates with tournament organizers?
We would not be quick to sanction our tournament if even the slightest complaint is liable to get us suspended from our contributions to the sport for a whole year. We would love to know how many times a field site has complained to the UPA about its state after a tournament and what sort of action has been taken as a result.
The UPA has over 30,000 people give it money. We think the UPA owes a little bit more of an explanation to those people than, “There was this thing that went down, it wasn’t a big deal. We suspended a guy from stuff for a year but nobody worry. We took care of the junk annnd… Oh yeah, there might be some other stuff but we’ll take care of that to. So, just move along? Kthanks. P.S. We do this for everybody so it’s not like we’re singling anyone out or anything. Promise.” Which, in our mind, is more or less what that statement ended up being.
So, to sum everything up. We think that everyone involved is being pretty shady. No one excluded. It’s probably likely that Gerics broke the rules and we think it’s also likely that the UPA treated him much more harshly than it would any other tournament organizers. Think of all the potential conduct policy violations that there could be when it comes to sanctioned events. We seriously doubt that the UPA plans on responding to any complaint (field or otherwise) from a third party like they did in this situation.
We think it’s a shame that it turned out like it did. We hope, but doubt, that Gerics will learn from this situation. We think it’s a shame that the UPA isn’t giving itself the opportunity to learn from the situation by answering to its critics and giving out more information about what went down two weekends ago.
The UPA needs to realize that as it grows, it will no longer be allowed to simply be a group of friends and volunteers that can do as they please and not have pressure to answer for it. The UPA is growing and its public relations department is going to have to grow with it.
The supposedly growing public of Ultimate players deserve to know what they’re governing body is up to and why it’s operating the way it is. Those players are also going to need a organization that can be consistent, responsible and not hold grudges against anyone or anything. At the moment, neither the UOA nor the UPA seem ready to take on those tasks.
Now that we’ve probably burned some bridges we’ve got some exciting announcements!
We’re headed to a couple of tournaments this spring and we can’t wait for them to get underway.
First, we’re off to the Tally Classic for some good, old fashioned rule experimentation and quality Ultimate the weekend of March 6th and 7th. We don’t have a ton of time before that gets underway but we’ll try and bring you some good team previews before that gets underway.
Then, we’re playing in Club Terminus in Atlanta, Ga the weekend of March 13th-14th. There’s no reason for you to be excited about that, just thought you should know.
Following an off weekend we’re off to one of the historically and currently most competitive spring tournaments in the nation, College Easterns. This is one that has been in the works for a while and we are incredibly excited about taking part is what will be going down in Wilmington on the weekend of March 26th – March 28th. Hopefully, it’ll be much less controversial than receent happenings in Wilmington.
Anyway, we’re glad to have everyone along for the ride and we think it’s going to be a great month in the world of college Ultimate.