How Appeals Work, 2013 edition

PostHow Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorPhil McCullough
p.mccullough@stcatz.oxon
Posted At21:42, 4th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
There seems to be some ''discussion'' from the ''other forum'' about Oriel vs. Wolfson on Friday. Now that Torpids is over, I'll use this bump as an example to show you how appeals work and why this means we never get around to uploading our videos on time.

On Friday, one umpire declared a bump had happened with reasonable certainty. The other umpire declared that no bump had happened with reasonable certainty. From the umpire reports alone, you could not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Oriel had bumped Wolfson. And this is why the original results didn't declare a bump. Oriel appealed - presumably because that video footage ''proved'' that they bumped. Bit of a speculative appeal from that footage if you ask me.

Actually, they *did* bump. How did I know this? I happened to be standing slightly upstream with a radio to provide some commentary for racedesk to tannoy. I happened to be right on the edge of the bank, and saw right in front of me that at the exact moment the curved underside of the bow literally grazed over the tip of the Wolfson stern. I saw it, and I saw it with certainty.

But that's by the by. OURCs appeals aren't a dictatorship. I had to fill out an appeal/witness form, just like everyone else does. The race committee then phone up the umpires again to talk to them, they review all the footage, and they interview any witnesses. They then consider impartiality. My fellow committee members genuinely take time to consider whether what I say is to the advantage of my (former) college, as the 'victor' of the appeal would be chasing Catz on Saturday. Eventually, after an hour of waiting around in the cold at racedesk, the committee made a decision to award the bump. Everyone's statements checked out - there were no inconsistencies. Wolfson really weren't lying when they said they didn't see or feel a bump - the exact millisecond of the tiniest of contact 180 degrees behind the cox wouldn't be visible to anyone. It wouldn't have been visible to anyone at 1:07 in the video posted here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRmwy5YjiLI

Nobody was stood around me - although the umpires would have been right behind me at the time. And the bump was very easy to miss, especially if you're cycling.

Wolfson found a rule to escalate to the SUs to. I don't know which one because I was a witness and kept myself away from the decisions. As part of the SU appeal system, I then got another grilling - I was asked to talk them through the series of events. I was asked in even more detail about my impartiality - do I have any links to Oriel? Well, apart from lending them a hand at Oriel regatta last year, does that count? What about Wolfson? Well, Catz M2 and Wolfson M2 had a fierce but friendly battle in Torpids 2011, where do you draw the line? The race committee were grilled on how they reached their decision, and I bet the poor umpires got phoned up a second time.

Eventually, at about 9:30pm, the SUs had found something new - that a piece of photo evidence belonged to someone who could have been construed as partial, that was not made clear to the race committee at the time. It was handed back to a new race committee (as one of the original had to leave), who then had to reconsider all the evidence. They reached the same decision at about 10pm. The decision was not appealed further.

What should you take away from this about appeals?
-The committee only announce the initial bumps from the umpire reports
-The race committee are very thorough when it comes to appeals. All evidence is considered.
-SU appeals take a huge amount of time. Please consider them carefully. IIRC, only one decision got overturned by the SUs this year, and that was the men's division 4 appeal that went back to a third race committee because of its complexity.

My two cents:
The appeals system is a great system. It allows us to be more flexible and to use more than just umpire evidence to reach what we hope is the correct decision.
The SU appeal system exists as a 'quality control' fail-safe to guard against the possibility of an inept race committee. However, pretty much every single appeal this year escalated up to the SUs, and I feel the system is sometimes exploited as a method of shopping around for a second opinion because they didn't like the race committee's decision. SU appeals turn our 9am-7pm days in to 9am-11pm days. And it also stops Anu from getting an early night as he has to wait for a decision before he does the start order for us.
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorPhil McCullough
p.mccullough@stcatz.oxon
Posted At23:07, 4th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
Someone who wishes to remain anonymous posts:

Phil, noone doubts that the decision was made according to the letter of the law. However its perfectly possible to make stupid decisions perfectly in line with the rules and we saw several of them this torpids.

The rules state that "a bump shall be deemed to have occurred when the race committee is satisfied beyond all reasonable doubt that [it has]". This means that the 3 people on the race committee can make a terrible decision but as long as theyre satisfied beyond their doubt then it stands. And appeals only allow SUs to overturn things if the rules have been misapplied, which if the committee have convinced themselves that it was a bump then it hasnt been. I wonder if the SUs actually agree that a bump occured? I doubt it because unlike some of the race committee they actually have some rowing experience! (Has MP ever actually rowed btw?).


The role of the SUs is not to determine whether a bump happened. And actually, everyone on committee has rowed before and this year's committee (plus helpers) probably have an average of about 3-4 years' bumps experience which is more than usual.

Now lets talk about reasonable doubt shall we. Correct me if Im wrong but the evidence is thus:

1) A video that shows naff all.
2) a photo that turned out to be misleading and presented as impartial by oriel when it wasnt
3) An umpire that said there certainly wasnt a bump.
4) An umpire that said there certainly was
5) Your word of thinking you had seen the most minute piece of contact on the surge mid swipe that was so minute that you yourself admit that wolfson couldnt possibly have known about if indeed it had actually occurred (ps, not accusing you of lying in any way, but just pointing out that the level of contact youre talking about really could quite easily have been a tiny miss as a tiny hit).

From that list Id say that there was a shed ton of reasonable doubt. Hell, 90% of the people on here doubt it happened, 50% of the people whose job it was to report on whether a bump had occurred gave a statement that it had, and theres no reliable photographic or video evidence. Im sorry, but thats not beyond reasonable doubt.


I think you're colouring this the wrong way. Videos that are inconclusive don't induce doubt in to the situation. The photo, at the time of the appeal, wasn't known to be 'partial'. The umpires were not 'certain' each way - they were reasonably sure/unsure when they were initially interviewed. Perhaps the 'unsure' umpire had to look away for a second and they didn't see the alleged moment of contact. I accept your risk about my mistaking a tiny bump for a tiny miss, but I was definitely able to see the Oriel bow 'grind over' the stern and I've had a fair bit of exposure to these types of appeals before (*cough* Pembroke-Balliol). I'm also a bit puzzled by your definition of 'unreliable'. Nothing that anyone said contradicted any photo or video. If a photo doesn't show a bump, then does it count against it? If someone else provided a witness statement that said 'I wasn't in a position to see if a bump occurred', does that count against a bump?

Also, anyone using a TR-strawpoll to gauge whether a bump happened when there were a maximum of 5-10 people close enough to the action needs to think very carefully about how they draw conclusions.


With the way the rules are written though theres no way around that and the appeals process you seem to be praising is actually entirely useless in that circumstance. If the committee are convinced then the bump has happened even if it hadnt. The SUs are then powerless to overturn it because of the "committee must be convinced" crap in there. If that wasnt there I cant believe for a second that the appeal wouldnt have been overturned because theres definitely doubt about it. Why would we be debating it if there wasnt doubt?

You lot debate everything. Who looks awful? Who gets all the ladies? Exactly how horrible are OURCs? You do talk about a lot of meaningless stuff because you like arguing and swearing at each other for the sake of it :)

As an aside, if when only one piece of evidence had been found in the SU appeal process that was a bit iffy the SUs actually sent the decision back to them to reconsider couldnt it have been a hint to think again? Given that they wouldnt have been able to overturn the race committee decision then I wouldve thought that sending the decision back wouldve been a pretty bit hint that they thought the committee had screwed it up?

No, the SUs found something that the race committee were not aware of at the time, and because we don't want to be accused of disregarding evidence, we go through the process of reconsidering a decision when something new has come to light. Clearly in this case, the new race committee didn't think it made a jot of difference. If the SUs thought a race committee had serious methodological flaws in making their decision, they would smack the committee down by telling them that. They wouldn't hide it behind little hints.

Now wouldnt it be really silly if you had a situation where a bump was announced, both crews involved then stated very clearly that it hadnt but the bump still stood because someone had cocked up by announcing it and the 10 min window has passed because neither crew was expecting it to have been announced and so werent listening while warming down. That would be a ridiculous decision...... "

Would you care to clarify when this was?
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorSam
samuel.barker@worc
Posted At23:08, 4th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
I think that under the tight personnel and time restrictions, the appeals system is not at all bad. However - the decisions are not consistent with regards the standard of proof and that can be easily changed. I know law chat amongst non-lawyers is probably the only thing despised more than rowing chat amongst most non-rowers, so I apologise in advance for combining the two. I also, at the outset, want to say that the example I use is not one I dispute, before you give up reading halfway through.

I presented video evidence of a Worcester II on Linacre 'bump' which was not conclusive, but looked like it showed some contact, and made a personal statement. All parties admitted a bump 'might' have happened but that they hadn't seen it. The Worcester boat said there was, the Linacre boat (quite truthfully) said they hadn't felt or seen anything. Two Worcester senior coxes were standing on the end of BH island, and both said they definitely saw very light contact for three strokes (I was one). This was not that we had imagined or willed it, we had actually seen it. So too had a large number of the Worcester crowd, but we thought the Senior coxes would probably have the most clout, in addition to another witness from Merton who later gave evidence. Either the standard is universally applied, or it not applied at all. I actually think, correctly in the Worcester case, the bump could not possibly be awarded because it was not proven beyond reasonable doubt - I don't dispute the decision at all because I would not be able to convince somebody until they were sure, on all of the evidence, that it had occurred. I couldn't even convince the guy standing next to me because he had the same view and he hadn't spotted it. In the case of Wolfson and Oriel, however, it seems that there was a very large amount of doubt remaining and the bump has been awarded on a small piece of testimony, which is not sufficiently persuasive to remove all reasonable doubts.

I am afraid that if you are going to apply standards of proof, they must be adhered to absolutely rigidly and reasons given for decisions. The direction to juries is now 'are you sure?' or 'can you entertain a doubt which is reasonable?' We set the bar extremely high so that only when something is beyond doubt can it be changed, and that should avoid the need to go to the SU's unless there has been a misapplication of a rule. If people only succeeded in appeals when the evidence put the decision beyond doubt, then it would end speculative appeals and get things moving much faster! That burden is often misapplied, hence the speculative (and sometimes successful, and understandable) efforts.
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorPhil McCullough
p.mccullough@stcatz.oxon
Posted At23:23, 4th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
I am afraid that if you are going to apply standards of proof, they must be adhered to absolutely rigidly and reasons given for decisions. The direction to juries is now 'are you sure?' or 'can you entertain a doubt which is reasonable?' We set the bar extremely high so that only when something is beyond doubt can it be changed, and that should avoid the need to go to the SU's unless there has been a misapplication of a rule. If people only succeeded in appeals when the evidence put the decision beyond doubt, then it would end speculative appeals and get things moving much faster! That burden is often misapplied, hence the speculative (and sometimes successful, and understandable) efforts.

Most appeals that I know of escalated on the grounds of our 'unavoidable external influence' or 'reasonable doubt'. The race committee are sure beyond doubt, which was why they awarded a bump through their decision. What our system allows is for any unsuccessful party to go 'I don't think you are' and get a re-trial.

While we're on the subject, I also have the suspicion that the '10 minutes to appeal if you think we have misapplied a rule' actually catalyses these types of behaviours on the person who we have ruled against, because they're in such a rush to think things through.
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
Authorsam maywood
samuel.maywood@seh
Posted At00:24, 5th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
"Now wouldnt it be really silly if you had a situation where a bump was announced, both crews involved then stated very clearly that it hadnt but the bump still stood because someone had cocked up by announcing it and the 10 min window has passed because neither crew was expecting it to have been announced and so werent listening while warming down. That would be a ridiculous decision...... "

Would you care to clarify when this was?"


the orginal poster has this the wrong way round i suspect, however a situation like this did occur on the Thursday in div V. st peters 2 crashed into the bank and Pembroke 3 and seh 2 rowed past. st peters appealed and 'won', neither seh 2 or pembroke 3 being aware of this appeal (it being totally baseless) so didn't present evidence, the bumps were disallowed and announced as such.
this result was naturally appealed as soon as it was found out and referred to the SU to be judged later due to a backlog of appeals. however the clusterfudge of div IV knocked this to one side and the tannoy, not reading the appeals board and not knowing that the results of div V were still being contested, announced that all results stood as announced. the SU couldn't over rule this even thought it was known to be wrong. as a result to crews that should have won blades were denied


this is a somewhat garbled accounted but one that can be verified
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorJoe Hitchen
joseph.hitchen@new
Posted At00:41, 5th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
I was on the original race committee for the Wolfson-Oriel decision but left during the SU appeal because of other commitments.

I feel I should add to this discussion that we had two impartial statements describing the contact. One was from Phil McCollough and the other was from a Somerville rower who also had an unobstructed view of the contended moment (unlike both of the umpires). These two accounts agreed in every detail although the people did not know each other or discuss the events with each other.

OURCs don't simply award bumps because one of us say it happened. Appeals are tough and there are always people who will be annoyed with whatever ruling we make but we do our best to make sure that we get every one of them right.
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorBernard Tao
bernard.tao@st-annes.oxon
Posted At11:54, 5th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
I would like to quickly point out 3 important things to consider.

i) The umpires that colleges send vary in quality vastly. - Colleges who send umpires who have never competed in Bumps before the event that they are umpiring for will not necessarily understand what exactly they need to be looking out for.
Just telling them to read the rules, when they cannot remember which end of the boat is the bow and which end is the stern can make it very hard to work out what happened.

ii) Spectators get in the way! - stationary spectators will place themselves wherever they get the best view. - this necessarily means that they will be blocking the view for other people (the umpires, the coaches/bankriders for the crew, and other spectators).
Everyone following the race must look where they're going (i.e. not straight into the river!) and may not always see the vital bit of the race as it happens. (although when someone concedes, it is much clearer to everyone on the bank, even if they concede after feeling contact)

iii) Some colleges have a lot of bank-runners. Although not strictly prohibited, they often block the path of the bankriders.
If an umpire cannot cycle to the bow of the boat they're following, they might not be able to see a bow-on-stern bump, because that crew had too many supporters.
In that case, the 'satisfied beyond reasonable doubt', would mean that bumps would be announced as 'no bump occurred', and there would be little that could be done when the result was appealed (due to the umpire(s) being obstructed).

What to take away from this:
i) send experienced rowers and coxes to umpire, the more they know about bumps, the better reports they can give to the race committee

ii) Since spectators get in the way, the umpires might not see the critical point, if they are inexperienced, they often report this as "no bump", rather than "I could not see".

iii) Please encourage people to support your crews, but teach them to be aware of their surroundings. As nice as is it to see your crew bump, it's far, FAR more important that the Umpires can see your crew bump!
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorIan Maconnachie
sabbatical@ourcs[dot]co[dot]uk
Posted At12:49, 5th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
Having taken the umpire reports for Men's Division 2 on Saturday, I can back Bernard's point completely. Two umpires said to me that they could not reach the head due an incredibly high number of bank runners. I actually shouted at a large group as they ran past me. Now the boats that were followed by these particular umpires weren't exactly close to bumping anyone, and so it made little difference, but that isn't the point.

If one of the boats had gone on to bump, but neither of the umpires saw it, because they were behind a large group of runners that wouldn't let them through, then we wouldn't be able to award a bump at first instance. This should not happen. When you send out large groups of runners you obstruct umpires in their duty and you risk bumps being disallowed for no good reason. Imagine how it would feel to not be awarded your bump because your group of bank runners obstructed the umpires...
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorPhil McCullough
p.mccullough@stcatz.oxon
Posted At21:17, 5th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
People seem to be responding positively to 'Show and Tell' so today I bring you:

How Appeals Don't Work
1) Men's Division 1, Wednesday
Those of you unfortunate to have to hang around near racedesk will know that we go towards the back of the room to discuss appeals. It's a quiet place (usually). Three of us were dealing with an appeal involving LMH, when all of a sudden someone walks towards us, voicing displeasure at us. I really can't remember what was said, because I was more stunned at the fact that someone had started yelling at us while we were trying to watch a video to resolve an appeal. Apparently, the bumps for men's division 1 were wrong and that Hertford had been incorrectly penalised. Had any of us had the time to register what was being said, we might have had the opportunity to look back on the bumps and check for human error. Instead, because the individual acted very incendiary, they attracted the attention of the Senior Umpire who was trying to talk to Michael at the time. Unfortunately, if you shout at an SU, you're probably going to be shouted back at. Before we knew it, the individual was *ahem* kindly asked to leave because there was no valid route to an appeal now that the 10 minute window had closed. And that was the last we saw of that.

What should you take from this?
-We do want to try and account for human error on our part, however:
-Don't walk up to an active race committee and start yelling at them. You'll just get dismissed with the rules. The cold, hard rules.

2) Men's Division 5, Thursday
We trialled out the appeals board again. If I recall correctly, Men's Division 5 had two appeals - one involving the sandwich boat, and one involving the Technical Row Over awarded to St Peter's. Sandwich boat appeals take priority because they need resolving before the next division can start. Before we knew it, Men's Division 4 had happened and required all hands on deck. We agreed to leave appeals until later in the day, or end of racing. (This is a somewhat common occurrence if we're low on committee members.) Unfortunately, in my haste, I wrote down 'appeal will be resolved at the end of the day' on the whiteboard and thought nothing more of it.

Fast forwards to the end of the day. Michael had a tutorial so I was acting race secretary. We had a lull in drama/chaos, and three appeals to be resolved - Men's Division 4 (which I knew early on would be a candle burner), Men's Division 5, and one in Men's Division 2. To clear up committee resources for later in the day, I convened a committee to deal with Men's Div 2 and Men's Div 5, completely forgetting what I wrote on the whiteboard.

The next thing I knew on Friday morning was that the Senior Umpires were considering reopening an appeal from Men's Division 5, alongside trying to resolve Men's Division 4. By that point, there was little that could be done. The start order can't be changed after midnight (oh really, I hear you cry). Pembroke rescinded their SU appeal.

Even though Pembroke got a fair appeal, they were denied the opportunity to appeal to the SUs. I inadvertently lied to them and broke my word. I personally phoned the Pembroke captain to apologise, and promised that if they were involved in another appeal, that I would arrange for them to be called. Pembroke had every right to be displeased with me.

What you should take away from this:
-I'm an idiot (obviously)
-Pembroke were very mature about the whole thing
-Tools such as the appeals board, or even oxbump, risk causing more trouble than they're worth as they're not authoritative.

***

So, Oxford, what would you have done differently in those situations? Answers on the back of a postcard.
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorKristian Klausen
kristian.klausen@hertford
Posted At13:07, 6th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
Hi Phil,

Thanks again for shedding some light on the inner workings of things.

I wanted to just ask whether it is not in your power to fine people who are being abusive to Race Committee/SUs, other competitors, etc.? This seems fair to me and people should appreciate that you are all volunteers.

On the other hand, it seems that you are suggesting that had a more polite request been made by what I take from your post was a person affiliated with Hertford (it wasn't me), then you might have been forthcoming with a different outcome. To me this doesn't sit well, so please can you elaborate?

Frankly, in this case both the umpires and the person debriefing the umpires (as well as obviously Hertford, missing the window for appeals) failed to live up to what you would expect.

Kristian
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorPhil McCullough
p.mccullough@stcatz.oxon
Posted At19:09, 6th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
Hi Kristian,

I'm more than happy to elaborate

I wanted to just ask whether it is not in your power to fine people who are being abusive to Race Committee/SUs, other competitors, etc.? This seems fair to me and people should appreciate that you are all volunteers.

Yes, it is - we would file it under 'personal conduct'. A couple of years ago, a crew got fined 50 for being abusive to a launch driver who asked them to move their shell to enable First Aid to get on to the scene. Ben followed this warning up to state that in extreme cases, the committee would not hesitate to start scratching crews from bumps.

We chose not to fine on Wednesday (we considered it, but it seemed that the dressing-down the individual got was punishment enough).

On the other hand, it seems that you are suggesting that had a more polite request been made by what I take from your post was a person affiliated with Hertford (it wasn't me), then you might have been forthcoming with a different outcome. To me this doesn't sit well, so please can you elaborate?

We should make clear that my previous post does not imply 'be nice to race committee and you'll get better results' as that's not the case.

In this case, the amount of hostility and 'can't-get-a-word-in-edgeways' generated put us in to 'bouncer' mode, as it were. Had the tone been different, we have been able to establish the facts, and if we weren't able to take action, at least give the individual a personal apology. We literally didn't get the chance to ascertain the course of events until we read about it that night from Rachel.

I couldn't really comment more about umpires or the umpire debriefer not living up to expectations without Ian (or whoemever has the reports) weighing in on the matter.

Does that help to answer your question?
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorDavid Border
David.border@chch.oxon
Posted At22:02, 6th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
Hi,

A little concerned about the state of play and precedent on that wadham-hertford bump.

To be honest it sounds like Hertford got completely stitched up on that. From the description I have heard of the situation there is no way that should ever have been awarded as a bump, and even if it mistakenly was then it should've been overturned as an obvious error irrespective of whether Hertford had appealed or not (more about that in a second). That said, ranting, raving and abusive behaviour is also completely unacceptable. Ourcs are volunteers working extremely hard and while I don't always agree with decisions made and have over the years had plenty of reasons to be annoyed with either ourcs decisions, actions or indeed individuals, they as individuls and an entity are entitled to respect and should never be expected to accept abuse.

The two issues though should be entirely separate. If a representative of Hertford was abusive then fine them senseless as you have every right to do so - it'll act as a nice little deterrent too. However that bump shoud have been overturned as soon as that problem was spotted. To put it in another context, as a teacher I have often had to deal with abusive parents (one threatening to cut my balls off was a particular highlight) however that in no way gives me the right to take it out on their child (or more to the point neglect my professional duties to them). Report the parents, help the child and facilitate their education to the best of their ability. In this case, fine the representative (heavily), then do the right thing for the club as it is your duty to do.

Enough about specifics and more about general points. IMHO the 10 min window for appeals is daft. It is far too tight and encourages knee jerk reactions - if in doubt, put in an appeal while you still can! Give people a little more time to think, discuss, check rules and compile evidence and you might just have fewer speculative appeals and more genuine, well evidenced ones with a real chance of success. I'd say something like - all appeals must be lodged within 90 minutes of the affected division starting, complete with any supporting evidence, rules under which you're appealing and crucially payment of a deposit which isn't returned if the appeal is ultimately unsuccessful. That should cut down on the number of speculative appeals.

It also means that silly situations like the Hertford wadham one could be avoided as it would've given them time to realise that someone had dropped a clanger and sort it rationally. I can quite understand why a crew that were involved in what was quite a standard torpids situation wouldn't have been listening out for the announcements afterwards and could easily miss the announcement, but given time I'm sure they would've realised and could've appealed sensibly.

Lastly I think the existing rules need some tweaking. As someone else has pointed out over on talkshite (probably in between calling me fat and referring to MOD EDIT*) the "committee must be convinced that...." bit leaves a lot of room for error and could lead to situations where even escalating to SUs can't resolve a daft decision (we all make them, we're human - If I can convince a class of 15 year olds that I'm 12th in line to the throne then it's certainly possible for 3 tired and stressed race committee members to be convinced of a debatable bump) but with this wording there's no way to overturn that. I also feel there is the need for a clause allowing the race committee to overturn a bumps decision outside the appeals window if the committee unanimously agree that a serious systematic error has occurred. Obviously this would need to be appeale-able.

Just my thoughts so they might be dismissed as nonsense but thought I'd put my name to them.

Dave

Edited by moderators: *Let's steer clear of some of the more unsavoury things TR mention. -PM

 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorPhil McCullough
p.mccullough@stcatz.oxon
Posted At08:27, 7th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
The two issues though should be entirely separate. If a representative of Hertford was abusive then fine them senseless as you have every right to do so - it'll act as a nice little deterrent too. However that bump shoud have been overturned as soon as that problem was spotted. To put it in another context, as a teacher I have often had to deal with abusive parents (one threatening to cut my balls off was a particular highlight) however that in no way gives me the right to take it out on their child (or more to the point neglect my professional duties to them). Report the parents, help the child and facilitate their education to the best of their ability. In this case, fine the representative (heavily), then do the right thing for the club as it is your duty to do.

Another possible interpretation is that because the SU talked to them, they have already interpreted the rules, with whatever they have told them to be binding. Which meant that there was no correspondence to be entered into.

IMHO the 10 min window for appeals is daft. It is far too tight and encourages knee jerk reactions - if in doubt, put in an appeal while you still can! Give people a little more time to think, discuss, check rules and compile evidence and you might just have fewer speculative appeals and more genuine, well evidenced ones with a real chance of success. I'd say something like - all appeals must be lodged within 90 minutes of the affected division starting, complete with any supporting evidence, rules under which you're appealing and crucially payment of a deposit which isn't returned if the appeal is ultimately unsuccessful. That should cut down on the number of speculative appeals.

I would be massively in favour of increasing the window of appeals to, let's say 30 minutes, but I am not so sure about a refundable deposit for appeals, especially for something which is messy or incredibly close. SU appeal deposits, I'd be more tempted to implement. But we need to make sure that the amount of money a club can correlate with appeals matches the standard of service they receive.

I also feel there is the need for a clause allowing the race committee to overturn a bumps decision outside the appeals window if the committee unanimously agree that a serious systematic error has occurred. Obviously this would need to be appeale-able.

I fully approve (although wonder why this isn't in the rules currently). We would have to have a very good think about the wording to make sure it can't be exploited. Something like:

If a race committee discover that a systematic flaw in the bumps process has occurred, including but not limited to: incorrect bumps being declared over the tannoy, penalty bumps being misapplied, or a clerical error in transcribing the umpire reports; then the race committee have the power to modify the starting order, provided that this takes place before midnight. Upon doing so, the committee must inform the "Point of Contact" for all crews involved. In the first instance, this will be via phone call or in person. Failing that, this shall be via email. A new thirty minute window opens for all affected parties to lodge an appeal to the SUs, effective from the time the last person is informed.
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorJohn McManigle
john.mcmanigle@ndm
Posted At15:49, 8th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
I can confirm that last year -- forget whether it was Torpids or Eights -- OURCs did correct a bump after the appeals window due to a clerical error. The bump had clearly happened with a big concession that both umpires and the finish line marshal (as it was a couple of lengths from the finish). The bump was recorded on the umpire sheet, but somehow got missed on the transcription to the posted race results, and therefore not read over the tannoy. My crew (stupidly thinking that since everything was so clear there was nothing to check on) didn't bring anything up until about 30 minutes later. When we did bring it to them, OURCs called the other crew's representative down (it was a Longbridges crew), they were also surprised to learn the bump hadn't been announced, and said they had no objection to the record being corrected. OURCs announced that "bumps had been amended due to a clerical error" and that there was a new 10 minute window to appeal. They ruled our correction not an appeal, as we weren't disputing anything that had already been recorded.

On another note, when is the appropriate time to appeal what I will refer to affectionately as the "semi-rowpast", in which (in Torpids only) one boat incompletely rows past another at the finish line? By Torpids rules, if a boat crosses the finish line bow-past-bow before the boat that began in front, they start the next day having moved up one position, although no "bump" occurred. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to appeal the bumps results if it weren't recognized, because "X bumped Y" is not the correct statement of what happened. Perhaps in that case, the appeal deadline is 10 minutes after the start order for the next day is posted?
 
PostRE: How Appeals Work, 2013 edition
AuthorBernard Tao
bernard.tao@st-annes.oxon
Posted At16:52, 9th Mar 2013
254 weeks ago
On another note, when is the appropriate time to appeal what I will refer to affectionately as the "semi-rowpast", in which (in Torpids only) one boat incompletely rows past another at the finish line? By Torpids rules, if a boat crosses the finish line bow-past-bow before the boat that began in front, they start the next day having moved up one position, although no "bump" occurred. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to appeal the bumps results if it weren't recognized, because "X bumped Y" is not the correct statement of what happened. Perhaps in that case, the appeal deadline is 10 minutes after the start order for the next day is posted?

I would like to briefly point out that by rule A3.11 2. - the finish is a stern finish, so this case arises if boats finish stern-past-stern before a boat in front, without a complete row-past.

Also, we venture into the semi-overbump territory here, which I think should be discussed separately, in its own thread.

I would propose a solution to add to A3.11 1. as point d.

When the stern of a boat passes the finish line before the stern of a racing crew placed earlier in the divisions starting order.

in which case, a bump will have occurred, and could then be appealed.

Unfortunately, this then opens up a whole new can of worms - because we would then need to clearly define what the finish line is. We currently have a finish marker, and the finish line is approximately perpendicular to the point on the bank closest to the finish marker, but practically usually taken to be the line from the finish marker to an arbitrary tree on the other bank.