Friday, November 29, 2013

Final Results: 2013 UEFL Rules Summit

Final results for the 2013 UEFL Rules Summit are in. The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League announces the following rules changes for the 2014 UEFL Season. The results of the Summit have been referred to the UEFL Rules Committee for formal codification and adoption (the 2014 UEFL Rules will be released prior to standard registration, by February 2014):

3-3-a: Incorporation of Instant Replay Challenges (Crew Chiefs), pending MLB adoption of expanded replay.
➤ Points as follows... Upheld/Correct: +1, Overturned/Incorrect: -1 (40%; 35% [+1, +0]; 16% [+.5,-.5])

4-2-b/c: Instant Replay Review (Challenge) ejections will be treated similarly to umpire consultation ejections.
4-7: Incorporation of Instant Replay Challenges (Primary/Secondary Umpires), pending MLB adoption.
➤ Points as follows... Upheld/Correct: +1, Overturned/Incorrect: -1 (44%; 19% [+2, -1]; 16% [+1, -0])

6-1: Filing an appeal will be restricted to UEFL members with no restriction on # of appeals/season 23%).
➤ Points for Original Ruling Upheld (appeal unsuccessful): -1 (65%; vs. 33% [-0] vs. 2% [-2])
➤ Points for Original Ruling Overturned (appeal successful): +1 (56%; vs. 44% [+0])
6-5-b-8: If, after appeal, the Original Ruling is overturned, the post shall be edited to reflect the revised Ruling.
6-5-c: Pitch count descriptors will be assigned to define the "realistic effect" or difference ball/strike QOC.

2014 UEFL Appeals Board: Gil, Jeremy, RichMSN, tmac, BT_Blue, Turducken, [vacancies via '14 election]

Thank you all for participating in the 2013 UEFL Rules Summit and we'll see you in 2014. Now stay tuned for the December feature, "Top 25 Ejections of 2013" as well as quasi-weekly updates on ejections around the sports world, including the Australian Baseball League (ABL) and Caribbean Winter Leagues, featuring MiLB umpires such as Ryan Blakney, Ben May, Jon Saphire (Venezuela); Kelvin Bultron (Roberto Clemente); Jonathan Bailey and Adam Hamari (Dominican). Former MLB fill-in umpire Delfin Colon (Roberto Clemente) and WBC alumns such as Paul Hyham (Australia), Carlos Rey and Jair Fernandez (Mexicana del Pacifico) also work these winter ball leagues.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Close Call of the Week: Tomlin Steps Out (NFL)

Welcome to "Close Call of the Week," the CCS expansion of "Ask the UEFL" in which we analyze a significant play across the sports world and its resulting calls or no-calls. In this debut feature, we examine Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin's sideline adventure during an NFL kickoff play on Thanksgiving Day.

The Play: With 6:26 remaining in the 3rd quarter of Thursday's Steelers-Ravens game, Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham kicked off to the opposing goal line, where Ravens return man Jacoby Jones caught the fly and returned the ball past midfield and into Steelers territory. As Jones approached the 40-yard line, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin appeared to be straddling the sideline at the 38-yard line with his back to the play, sidestepping onto the thick white stripe of the sideline as Jones approached. Jones appeared to have slightly altered his route, changing trajectory from running parallel to the sideline to a thirty degree angle in, his body position changed from being directly even with the sideline to clear of the two-foot long sideline hash mark before being tackled at the 27-yard line.

Question: Did Tomlin commit an infraction of the rules and if so, what is the appropriate penalty?

Short Answer: Yes, Tomlin's actions violated NFL rules. At minimum, Tomlin should have been penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. The 15-yard penalty ("half the distance") would place the ball at the 13.5-yard line. At most, Tomlin could have been disqualified (ejected) for a flagrant or palpably unfair act and a touchdown awarded to Baltimore. Intent is not relevant in determining that Tomlin's positioning violated zone restrictions, though intent may be relevant in determining whether or not Tomlin's actions were flagrant or palpably unfair. Rules 1-1, 13-4, 13-5, AR 13.7, AR 13.8.

Explanation and References: NFL Football contains a series of restricting zones on both sidelines of the field, prescribing where chain crew, officials, coaches, situation substitution players, bench personnel and the media may—and may not—position themselves during play. When the ball becomes live, the six-foot "white stripe" of sideline closest to live ball territory is reserved for the chain crew and officials only, the next six feet between the 32-yard lines for coaches and situation substitution players only, followed by bench personnel further back and the media no closer than 36-feet (12-yards) removed from the field of play between both halves' 32-yard lines. Rules for marking or lining a field are codified in Rule 1-1 (The Field) while rules restricting team personnel to their respective zones are codified in Rules 13-4 and 13-5.

Because Tomlin clearly violated zone integrity, he should have been penalized, at minimum, 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct. Enforcement action 13-1(b) specifies the Referee (white hat) may, after consulting with crew, award the 15-yard penalty from "whatever spot...[he] deems equitable, if the ball was in play." If Tomlin's violation was considered flagrant, the Referee may have excluded or ejected him from the game.

Approved Ruling 13.7 and A.R. 13.8 specifically address the case of "coach in six-foot border." The NFL's official case book concludes that if the officials encounter a coach within the six-foot border (white stripe) and interference, impedance or any effect on play results, the officials "may enforce whatever penalty they think is equitable under the circumstances," including the negation or award of a score.

OFFICIATING ANALYSIS: This is an incorrect no-call (NCI). The proper call would have either been a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty ("half the distance") for infraction of Rule 13-1 or the award of a touchdown for this same violation; the difference between a Quality of Correctness of "correct" and "incorrect" for this call is whether or not the officials (1) recognized the foul and (2) enforced the penalty, which video evidence conclusively shows did occur. For the safety of participants involved (the (1) offending team personnel and (2) flank official whether side judge, field judge, head linesman or line judge), this penalty must be called.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Results: 2013 Rules Summit

The Umpire Ejection Fantasy League's 2013 Rules Summit has concluded its first round of voting. The following includes a list of proposals and initiatives which have been adopted and those rejected or subject to further review by the UEFL Office of the Commissioner. These proposals are now rules and will take immediate effect.

**The 2013 Summit has resulted in the necessitation of a run-off vote. Click here to jump to this ballot.**

Key: Measures in bold have passed and are now rules. Proposals in italics did not pass and are not adopted.

3-3-a: Crew Chief Points, Incorrect Call (49%). CC QOC points structure will remain at 2013 levels.
3-3-b: Crew Chief Points, Instant Replay Challenge (68%). Points to be determined via run-off ballot.

4-2-b/c: Instant Replay Review and Consultation (98%). IR added to instances of "umpire consultation."
4-4-i: Active Duty Death and the Wally Bell Memorial Award (49%). Addressed on case-by-case basis.
4-7: Instant Replay Challenges (84%). Now tracking IR. Points to be determined via run-off ballot.

6-1: Restriction on Appeal Eligibility (80%). Only UEFL'ers may file appeal. Terms via run-off ballot.
6-1: Refiling or Re-Challenging a Ruling (45%). Appeals may only be filed once per ejection(s) event.
6-2-b-5-c: Throwing of Equipment as Irrecusable (50%). Addressed on case-by-case basis.
6-2-b-5-d: Check Swings as Irrecusable (30%). Check swings assigned QOC status, as previous.
6-5-b-8: Post-Appeal Editing of Original Post (82%). Description must reflect revised QOC.
6-5-c: Defining the Realistic Different Outcome (56%). Pitch count descriptors assigned for QOC.
8-3: Entry Fee (22%). UEFL remains free to join.

Appeals-1: BT_Blue (71%). BT_Blue is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.
Appeals-2: RichMSN (90%). RichMSN is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.
Appeals-3: tmac (84%). tmac is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.
Appeals-4: Turducken (79%). Turducken is elected to the 2014 Appeals Board.

Registration for the 2014 UEFL, Appeals Board nomination and sign up information, including information regarding the Crew, Primary and Secondary Umpires' drafts, will be available by February 2014.

Click the below "Read more" link to access the run-off election ballot. It will close Thursday at 11:59 PM PT.