Tuesday, January 18, 2011
An Ode To The Judges
Skating judges are often known to be in the pocket of one country or another, but the same is true in any subjective sport. Over the years, we've all witnessed many questionable NCAA meets. In the late '90s and early 2000s, the judging became so inflated and controversial that the NCAA began ''randomly'' assigning judges to each meet. They require at least two out-of-state judges to be present at each meet, because clearly bias would never cross state lanes. Whenever the Gym Dogs won titles in the mid 2000s, fans of other schools would make jokes about Suzanne paying off the judges. The 2002 NCAA Championships remains one of the most wildly debated meets in history and its judging is universally accepted as having been complete shit. There are random meets in Pauley where McCullough and Ariana Berlin strangely up their career high to a 9.975 on bars despite scoring significantly lower each and every week performing their routine the same way.
At Aunt Joyce, we pride itself on it being our business to know everything about everyone. Thanks to the internet, we are able to look up who the judges were on fateful nights and will be keeping track of who the judges are when teams get a questionable boost in score. Many judges are fair and biased, but it is downright impossible for judges not to become biased or friends with certain coaches over the years. That leads to a subconscious or conscious bias and ''influencing.'' Judges are brought in weekly to judge the intrasquads of each team. Many schools host at least one a week, while some schools have two. Current dictums are that judges can now judge the intrasquads, but they are not allowed to communicate or discuss their scores with the coaching staff. If you believe that judges and coaches won't confer, there are plenty of letters to Santa that I'd like you to mail for me.
Judges are volunteers, but when they become regular judges of certain teams, it is inevitable that a feeling of attachment develops. Judges become familiar with mistakes made by girls that they might not catch on a first glimpse. They know the good and the bad to look for in each routine.
Yesterday, UGA posted an extremely high score. Their 49.45 on bars was high for the routines performed, even though they hit. Troester tells us that Carole Ide and Brock White were judges. Both have long been known to be in favor of UGA over the years. Carole Ide is a Brevet judge and respected, but it is very curious that bars and floor were the highest scoring events for the Gym Dogs yesterday and she was the judge on both events. Brock White has been known to be in the back pocket of UGA and UCLA over the years. Brock also allegedly dated an assistant coach at the school with the most NCAA Titles.
At the 2008 NCAA Championships, Evelyn Chandler gave noticeably conservative scores for the Gym Dogs on floor exercise compared to her scores for the rest of the teams. It is important to note that she has long been perceived to be a Florida judge. It is very easy for judges to develop a bias for or against teams, or be slightly stricter for some than others. It only takes a half tenth here and there to influence an outcome, while still being within range.
Pat Ethredge, a judge from Texas, has been known to help LSU climb the rankings over the years.
Linda Fenton is known for being a prime enemy of Greg Marsden. Linda's daughter wanted to be a Ute, but was not selected by Marsden. She would up going to another top school, but an acrimonious relationship has remained ever since. Fellow judges feel that Fenton is a fair judge, which may be a problem for the high scores award to the Utes at home. Marsden infamously removed his entire team from a meet against an in-state rival due to Fenton being a judge.
Other judges have preferences in terms of difficulty or performance. Joan Moore Gnat, mother of Jeana Rice, is known to favor the performers and dancers when it comes to judging.
These year, let's focus on who the judges are for each event when the scores are noticeably tight or generous. One can find the judges by searching for meet schedule and results on Troster and then clicking 'View' to the right of the link for the meet's scores.