Tracking ISU and U.S. Figure Skating Events, Issues and Governance
How does the ‘New ISU Rules of Procedure for the Officials Assessment Commission – Evaluation of Judging – Assessments’ Really Impact Figure Skating? An Assessment from a CPA knowledgable on the IJS, provides insight.
Having read and digested the ISU’s very complex (almost tax code like) document (ISU Communication No. 2035 – http://static.isu.org/media/380978/2035-officials-evaluation-figure-skating_2016-2017.pdf) outlining its new rules evaluating the judges I’m actually sadly not convinced it contains anything that will help prevent the improper use of IJS by less than honest judges.
It’s a lot of words, looks impressive and scary, but the actual details…. not so much. It is only to look good for the public and perhaps it might scare judges who don’t take the time to really understand it. Every grade of execution and program component presentation mark is being evaluated. That sounds good until you dig deeper.
The issue really comes into play with what they do with all this information. My concerns begin with the number of errors that are allowed that don’t count. For example, in a field of 26 skaters, I can make 4 errors in the short program, and 4 errors in the free skate (each segment is separate, not combined) and those errors are a-ok, they don’t get recorded or counted for anything. Say I made 5 errors in both programs. Only 1 from each program, a total of 2 will be recorded on my record, then I can make up to 10 recorded errors for the entire season .
If I am at 10-14 recorded errors, I “may” be evaluated at the end of the year by the commission, but it is not guaranteed. Only once I reach 15 recorded errors is this mandatory and that doesn’t even mean I will face consequences.
It is just impossibly hard to reach these numbers unless you are just outright either so stupid you have no clue what’s going on, or you just corruptly judge everything. Most judges are smart. Their corruption is small and targeted; not to mention, you have to judge quite a few events really for these errors to add up and most judges don’t judge more than 2 or 3 events at the most internationally. A nation could just send a new judge out every time to avoid them racking up major numbers of errors.
All of this doesn’t even take into account the fact of what constitutes an error. I only focused the above on what happens after it is determined there is an error. That’s yet another layer to this. This one is a bit more complex. You have to be really smart as a judge, but it is possible to manipulate/cheat and not even have it detected. If a skater gets all +2 grades, and I give all +3, I’m a-ok.
These things need to be exposed and challenged publicly. I will say, this is better than nothing but I feel like it is “covering their asses” with the new public reveal of the judges; it’s mostly just lots of paperwork and has little teeth to it.
Lets say I cheated my ass off and do have a huge number of errors, well past the 15 for a mandatory review. They only review all this stuff at the end of the year. I could be cheating all year long, then in May i’m busted; meanwhile skaters dreams were crushed. It should be immediately reviewed, at least at the ISU championships but nope, so yeah I’m not pleased by this. I am disappointed because I had high hopes for a better system. I had to study it for several hours because it is intentionally complex in its writing. Par for the course at the International Skating Union. Nothing is disclosed in black and white!
Patrick Ryan, CPA – former singles skater and IJS critiquer.