Scoring Controversy!

A scoring controversy? For me? Oh, you shouldn’t have!

Fortunately, after a meet of flat, uninspiring gymnastics, a scoring controversy has broken out to give us all something to talk about. Throughout the meet, scores were noticeably lower than they have been at Utah all season. I thought they were actually quite fair and reflected the level of scrutiny I would like to see from judges in the postseason. No one will talk about that, though, because of the issue regarding Stephanie McAllister’s start value on floor.

Individual video of the routine in question is not currently available, but you can view the whole meet here. McAllister’s routine begins around 1:44:20.

The Salt Lake Tribune provides an account of the controversy, noting that the judges bumped down McAllister’s start value (they gave her 9.8) because she lacked a leap passage beginning on one foot. Meg Marsden says that she already received the OK from Linda Fenton for McAllister’s routine.

Greg Marsden gets a special A+ from me for also receiving a yellow card during the meet (though his card was for walking by the judges, which is the lamest reason for anything ever).

I have several reactions to this whole brouhaha. We’ll start with the most childish, which is, “Eeeeee! An argument! I hope this lasts forever!”
But honestly, whether or not she should have received the deduction doesn’t even matter that much to me. Stupid requirements for dance passages are one of my bigger gymnastics pet peeves. Just do some dance elements, hit your positions, and move on. Whether it started from one foot or whether it was immediately connected (or whatever other problem you can come up with) is so irrelevant to the overall quality of the routine that the amount of time spent on it is ridiculous. 
What are your thoughts? Fair deduction? Unfair? Who cares?

6 thoughts on “Scoring Controversy!”

  1. I think the judging was fairly correct as a whole, but floor was definitely low 🙂 Utah doesn't have incredible choreography but they have the most difficult tumbling top-to-bottom of any team and they hit every single one of their passes and they max out at a 9.825?? That's not right. It will be really interesting to see how all the teams stack up when they're on the same floor at nationals. I think having a larger panel of judges should help even everything out for every team. But to answer your question, unfair deduction from Steph, ESPECIALLY because the judge who gave Megan the OK on Steph's routine last year was at the meet last night and didn't even say anything! I love that Greg lets the judges know what's on his mind. Get a yellow card! Stand up for your gymnasts and for their routines and for fair scoring. Maybe seeing the coach back up the girls and stand up to the judges and risk getting thrown out of the meet will be good motivation for the girls to continue to bring it this season. Judging scandals aside, this season has been excellent for Utah. A #1 ranking for 3 weeks, holding the top spot on beam and floor for several weeks, a 6-1 ranking, and leading the nation in attendance again. I think the girls should focus on perfecting everything in practice and put it all out on the floor every week until the end of the season. It's already been a successful season, and if they can keep their foot on the gas pedal and kick it up into high gear for nationals they could very well find themselves on the podium in April.

  2. I don't think the issue was so much whether she had a leap connection that takes off from one foot, but instead whether that leap hits 180 degrees. The requirement is that the leap taking off from one foot must hit 180, and Steph does a weird/ugly switch doubly stag leap, which is always 50/50 on hitting 180. I think most judges would let it slide and just deduct for it, but I can't really call it unfair, just inconsistent. It's a dumb rule, but it is one.

    The only scores that I thought were low were Dabritz's bars and floor, and maybe Wilson's floor. Utah put a lot of 9.8ish gymnastics on display last night.

  3. Two separate conversations for me.

    As a Utah fan (Alumnus): Time to shut-up and move on, it is best if this a 24-hr story. You take a hard look at McAllister's routine and decide if you want/need to change it. You certainly want the Utah Coaches and Gymnastic to have their focus directed internally on improving some visible weaknesses.

    As an NCAA Gymnastics fan? Well maybe there is a different conversation that is coming due… Either those two Judges in SLC last night were wrong or twelve (6 meets) other NCAA judges were wrong. On a broader note if one claims that Utah was grossly over scored in previous meets and fairly scored last night then there are still a bunch of NCAA judges that have some explaining to do.

    It doesn't matter what anyone thinks of UofU fans, Greg Marsden, the State of Utah, or the athlete herself… Last night's brouhaha lies squarely on the desk of Carole Ide and NAWGJ. I am not sure how big the monster is (maybe it is more of a pest than a monster), but they are solely responsible for creating it.

    I don't see a semi-educated Gymnastics fan can look at NCAA Gym judging in general and say “They have their act together.”

  4. I agree with pretty much everything said above. The issue is that McAllister doesn't always (rarely) hit the 180 position. It should be a deduction based on the code. So, I can't really blame the judges last night for taking off for something they should, by the code, take off for. The judges from the previous six meets likely gave her the benefit of the doubt on the split position — you see it all the time in meets across the country. The splits on leaps of at least one girl on every team are questionable, but rarely do judges deduct for it. This is certainly an issue NCAA judges should look into and judging as a whole needs to vastly improve across the country.

    But I will also say that the “blame” doesn't lie squarely with the judges. The Marsdens have to know Stephanie rarely hits 180 and the leap series they put in was probably to try and cover up her lack of split. The fact is they could have changed her leap at any point and didn't. The judges took off for a deduction that should be taken based on the code, but rarely is; thus, they're getting blamed by actually playing by the rules. The Marsdens have every right to be upset based on the fact that she had received a 10 SV in every prior meet, but they aren't completely blame free in this “controversy.” They know the code just like the judges do and they're responsible for knowing the SV of their own athlete's routine. Just because she got lucky by not receiving the deduction in the previous six meets doesn't mean she deserves a 10 SV for the rest of the season.

    This happened a few years back with a UGA beam routine. I can't remember for sure which athlete, maybe Childs, but it was at least a few meets into the season when her SV was docked for missing a required dance element. It surprised everyone, including Yoculan. Instead of complaining, they went back and reworked the routine to ensure a 10.0 SV.

  5. It was McCool, and you're right: It was a few meets into the season, at Auburn. Fans were expecting a huge score, but when the SV was flashed they were stunned. The main difference between that situation and this one was that it was an away meet, so there weren't that many fans to be upset. But Suzanne acknowledged there was a missing element, it got fixed, and they moved on.

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