Purpose of MM and MW

jdarwinjdarwin Posts: 1,381 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
As an former AWSA board member for 6 years, I was always baffled by the existence of Masters Men and Masters Women divisions. What is their purpose? I never got clarity on that. As long as it was "optional" for the skier, it made no sense. As a M5 skier, I don't have the option of skiing in another division so I get the boat I want or ski on the day I want or get the driver I want. That is, unless I am a Level 9 skier in Men 5. Then, I get to choose. I admire those whose ranking puts them into the MM/MW division and they compete there as opposed to age division. Kudos to you. Another bone of contention I hear is in regard to former pros skiing in age division. Isn't that one reason the Masters divisions were created? How is allowing former professionals to ski in age division good for our sport? I don't have a dog in this fight other than wanting some clarity and common sense injected into how we govern our sport.
Joe Darwin


  • wtrskiorwtrskior Posts: 704 Crazy Baller
    I am in Canada, where we do not have a masters class. I think we should as there are a few former pro's who ski tournaments in Canada. They are basically guaranteed to win their division, baring any unfortunate upsets. At the end of the day I think most skiers just want to ski to their potential, whatever score that may be, but we need more competition in the sport not less.

  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Note that the MM and MW divisions can provide a higher level of competition than age-
    divisions, without having to go into OM and OW. For consideration for the Hall of Fame,
    a competitor has to be "retired" from Open for typically 3 years, unless they are age 50+.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,054 Mega Baller
    edited August 2016
    My stance is and has been: A skier should never have a choice of division. A choice creates confusion, accusations of sand-bagging or other chicanery, and waters down the meaning of any particular title. The current system suffers from all of these flaws.

    There are various ways to enforce that principle.
    Skill-based cutoffs (which are non-overlapping) is one option, for example if you've run -39 in the last 12 months there you are in MM and if not you're not. This isn't my favorite option, though, because there's still some incentive to sandbag.

    Another option is to say that a given event either has age group divisions or MM/OM, but not both. I think the only real purpose of these categories is to allow people of significantly different age to compete against each other directly. So if that's what your event is about, then don't offer any age categories at all. Note that with this scheme you probably don't need any qualification level at all. If some 60 y.o. dude wants to go run -15 at 36mph, what's the harm? (Obviously certain events would still have qualifying standards, but that is orthogonal to the category discussion.)

    Heck, I think under that scheme we'd probably run our local "New England Slalom Championship" with pretty much just MM/OM/OW (with a few others for folks whose max speed is neither 34 nor 36). I'd much rather just ski against all other 34 mph skiers even in a local class C.

    And of course the final option is to just get rid of MM and OM, but if we use them "right" (like above) then I don't see any reason to kill them. Maybe rename to 0pen34 and 0pen36, though?
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    In the Back When, 1970's, Open was mandatory if you ran a certain score. At the time, it
    was only a full pass at 32 off. So, skiers could be forced into Open Men when they didn't
    have a prayer of a podium placement against skiers who were 2 passes ahead of that.
    The situation led to some blatant sandbagging, which I witnessed at one Regionals.
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,537 Administrator
    Outside of regional and national championships I think these divisions are great. At regionals and nationals there divisions only dilute and devalue titles.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,537 Administrator
    I have told this story many times.....

    In 1992 I got silver at Nationals in jump. I had an Open rating (just barely) and the guy who won, Mike Heath (kicked my ass) was a low level pro.

    You could argue that the guy who got 3rd should have won becuase 1st and 2nd both had Open ratings.

    I think I should have gotten 10th.... the guys in our age group who skied Open should have skied the age group. I was not the second best jumper in the age group.... I was the second best jumper in the age group that did not ski Open. It is all so silly. I am super proud of my distance and would have loved the gold but but it is all a bit contrived.

    Note: the guy who got third Jody Hooten now has a few jump titles

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

  • WishWish Posts: 8,547 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited August 2016
    How does golf do this? I know their numbers have been declining as of late and they are trying to get creative to bring them back. I saw a commercial within the last week that showed all ages competing against each other with the key point being its all good with their handicap system. Not suggesting this but found it interesting that they now run commercials letting folks know that it matters not your age or skill level..it's about friendly competition and fun for all. Wouldn't that be a good direction? Then possibly a higher echelon level for pros? Guessing that's how golf is set up but do not know. I'd prefer to ski against all 34mph skiers at a local tourny. I end up looking at the other age groups anyway just to see. Handicapping would make it even more interesting. Handicapping may even reward hard work in the off season with a bump in rankings or podiums.
    >>> 11.25..a different kettle of fish. <<<
  • jimbrakejimbrake Posts: 1,456 Mega Baller
    @horton - video please.
    "...all of the basic fun banter"
  • jdarwinjdarwin Posts: 1,381 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    edited August 2016
    @Wish - not sure how golf does it but I'm pretty sure that retired pros like Fred Couples aren't showing up to play at the Dixie Amateur Championships.
    Joe Darwin
  • DirtDirt Posts: 1,819 Open or Level 9 Skier
    Look at the problem with overall. I tricked and jumped (if you can call it that) M4 and slalomed MM at Regionals. I skied Tu, We and Sat. Jumped and tricked before slalom and no chance at overall medals/placement.
    I learned everything I know not to do from Horton
  • cvaughtcvaught Posts: 14 Baller
    Golf divides things between pros and amateurs as well as age. So for example you have the US Junior Amateur (Under 18), US Amateur (any age), US Mid Amateur (25+) and US Senior Amateur (55+), US Open, US Senior Open (55+) for men. Each are independent tournaments and each results in a national champion. Many elite amateurs will compete in multiple tournaments including the US Open since it is also open to Amateurs. Obviously Pros are not eligible to compete in the Amateur tournaments.

    Each state normally has Amateur state championships for all three levels as well. Performance in State tournaments have no bearing with regard to qualifying for the national championships. Separate qualifying tournaments in each state are held instead.

    The USGA sets minimum handicaps for each tournament to be eligible to try to qualify. For example if you are 17 year old amateur and are a scratch golfer then you can enter to qualify for the US Junior Amateur, US Amateur, and the US Open. If you show up to qualify and shoot 90 and do that a couple of times due to a bogus handicap then eventually you will be blocked from attempting to qualify. Your handicap though has no impact on whether you qualify or not.

    A typical qualifying tournament might have 100 or more players with anywhere between 2-15 qualifying for the actual tournament depending on the size of the area around the tournament. I'm not sure exactly how those numbers are determined. In addition, for the US Open so many people try to qualify there is actually two levels of qualifying. Many though are exempt from the first level.

    The above is really only useful to the top .1% or so of golfers since the rest are unlikely to even have a handicap that is good enough to try to qualify for one of the national championships.

    Local tournaments is where you see various usages of the handicap to try to even the playing field. I always found this to not be very enjoyable. A better option in my view for local tournament golf was two day tournaments where after the first day of scores you flight everyone based on that score. So if there were 100 entries you might have 10 flights with ten golfers/teams in each flight. The total combined score wins in each flight so sand bagging is tough since if you end up at the back of a flight it would be harder to win. This only really works if you have a lot of golfers though such that there is a normal distribution of skill levels and almost everyone has a chance to win their flight going into the second day.
  • Than_BoganThan_Bogan Posts: 7,054 Mega Baller
    When it comes to Nationals, my thinking is somewhat opposite to Kelvin (and, frightening, close to Horton!). I think the elite skiers are exactly who should be going to Nationals. They are not "taking" anyone's spot except by being better. Jeff Rodgers has no fundamental characteristic that should put him into a separate category from me. He's just a LOT better than I am. Isn't that what a National Championship is about?

    As soon as you pull anybody out, why stop? How 'bout I only compete in a group of people who's first name starts with N-A-T and whose last name has exactly 5 letters? Oh wait... :)
    Nathaniel Bogan -- GUT Padawan
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,537 Administrator
    I would have a good chance of being National champ if the division was only skiers who have never gotten to 3 ball at 39. Those skiers who can get to 3 ball can ski with the pros.

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,065 Mega Baller
    @Wish the overview of golf by @cvaught is right on. The one thing he didn't talk about is how are retired pros handled. There are many different classes of people that have been pro golfers. If I remember correctly there is a minimum 2 year wait time between being a professional and having your amateur status reinstated. The minimum usually applies to former teaching pros and guys that played mini tours and certainly never had a PGA tour card. There may be a period of time someone who was a jouneyman on tour could wait to get his am status reinstated but it would be several years. Someone like Fred Couples would never get his status reinstated.

    I have played amateur qualifying events with reinstated ams and a member at my old club cashed a check on the PGA Tour when he was an aspiring touring pro. I think he had to wait 3 or 4 years after he petitioned the USGA to get his Am status back.
    Mark Shaffer
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 4,009 Infinite Pandas
    Overall creates the problem with MM and MW. Allow the MM and MW one eventers to ski twice, in age division for no placement and in the Masters division for placement. Note that there were a couple of out of region (country?) skiers who skied at Regionals in their age division but didn't place. Or carry the Masters scores into the overall calculation. Note that this won't work for @Dirt as the time delay for the overall makes it unworkable.

    Make the Masters division mandatory (either in or out). Carry the scores over for overall one way or another. Or carry over non qualifying overall scores into Masters. The current system really is bad for overall skiing.

  • schroedschroed Posts: 163 Open or Level 9 Skier
    edited August 2016
    This subject keeps coming up again and again and we can't seem to find a good solution. I personally think that having open divisions and masters divisions are good things. These divisions allow the elite in the sport to compete for titles regardless of age. I also think that having the best skiers in the nation attend and compete at nationals is a good thing.

    Here are some questions to consider:

    If we eliminated the Open division at nationals would people really want Nate Smith competing in his age group?

    Do the M4 skiers really want Jeff Rodgers competing in his age group?

    Do you think guys like Terry Winter and Chris Rossi would want to ski in M3 at 34 MPH at nationals?

    Don't you think Jeff Rodgers would want to compete with guys like Greg Badal (who is out of his age group) for a national championship?

    If we eliminated these divisions at nationals, would guys like Nate or Jeff even attend nationals?

    If we eliminate Open and Masters at nationals should USA Waterski setup a separate national championship for these divisions?

    I personally would not want a separate national championship for Open and Masters skiers. I think that would create more dilution in the sport and less participation in the traditional nationals. That's not what we need right now. So, my answers to these questions lead met to think that we should have an Open and Masters divisions in regular tournaments and at Nationals.

    The real problem seems to be how we determine who skis in these divisions versus their age groups. To solve this problem, I do think there should be some sort of mandatory rule put in place to force skiers into these divisions based on their USA Waterski averages. I believe USA Waterski is considering a "level 10" be put in place that would require all level 10 skiers to ski in Open or Masters. I actually think this is a good idea and I hope it gets implemented.
  • ntxntx Posts: 847 Crazy Baller
    edited August 2016
    You can tell a lot about the character of the skier who skis ALL year as a OM/MM skier, then drops down to age group for regional and nationals. Once you qualify for OM/MM go play with the big boys. I would like to see maybe a option that would reduce entry fees to OM/MM skiers to entice them to ski there. That might add additional skiers that are on the fence to participate. Look at M1/M2 overall at Nationals this year. Storm, Dylan, John Lex, Cole, Sam (if he skis) etc etc… all should be in OM overall at Nationals. Congrats to Nick for stepping up. Awesome. For a few years there was some peer pressure to ski OM. This year it looks like they all dropped down to age group. (my son included who had lost his open rating for awhile)
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,917 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    MM, MW, OM and OW are all ability based divisions. Mixing them in with aged based divisions is confusing and creates all the issues discussed above. Part of the driver in creating the MM/MW divisions was to provide a "place" for retired pro's to ski and compete without completely disrupting the age groups. The MM/MW divisions were also developed because some skiers didn't want to "slow down" as they became older (that applies to slalom and jump). And there has historically been an undercurrent effort to find a way to make ability based competition a reality.

    The IWWF as divisions based on age too but they are open ended - 13 and under, 17 and under, 21 and under ... 45 and above, 55 and above, etc. This allows for those who want to ski faster or on a higher ramp or whatever to do exactly that.

    There was a rules change proposal earlier this year which would have created a level 10 in the ranking list which is the top 3% in the pool of eligible skiers. Currently level 9 is the top 7%. The idea was to leave the choice to ski age division or open (or masters) for level 9 skiers but mandatory for level 10. In addition any skier that opted to ski in open/masters was then "locked in" to ski there thru the Nationals. There were exceptions for the junior skiers but the idea was to give a skier a choice and then prevent bouncing back and forth.

    Overall was a big issue since most overall skiers who would elect open/masters aren't rated that high in all three events. So how does that skier whose mandated to ski in open/masters ever ski overall. Anyway it was voted down this last year.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Chairman of the Board

  • The_MSThe_MS Posts: 6,844 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    Do people really sand bag? Why go to an event if you don't want to achieve the best possible score? On the other hand, you see all sorts of big scores from skiers coming from back yard weeknight ski leagues but when they get to the Regional or National spotlight the scores seem to get back to reality.
  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,065 Mega Baller
    I am not a nationals qualified skier and may never be but I do have an opinion. I like the concept of having a level 10 and potentially combining it with @Bruce_Butterfield's idea.

    I think a level 9 skier who has the scores to compete in a BigDog event but not be competitive shouldn't be forced to compete in MM at Nationals. I also agree that juniors should be able to compete up but still compete as a junior at Nationals.
    Mark Shaffer
  • HortonHorton Posts: 32,537 Administrator
    @Dirt you should not jump and trick

    Support BallOfSpray by supporting the companies that support BallOfSpray

    Connelly ☆DBSkis ☆Denali ☆Goode ☆GiveGo ☆MasterCraft ☆ Masterline 

    Performance Ski and Surf ☆ Reflex ☆ Radar ☆ Rodics OffCourse ☆ S Lines ☆ Stokes ☆

  • Chef23Chef23 Posts: 6,065 Mega Baller
    I don't think retired pros care about getting a medal. I think the ones that compete really love the sport and want to be out there skiing and supporting the sport. I know they all want to be competitive and win but I would be surprised if medaling is their focus.
    Mark Shaffer
  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 2,189 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    edited August 2016
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,332 Mega Baller
    Side note - KC Wilson has never had a tournament round in M1. Therefore he has never been on the M1 ranking list.
    Something to think about.
Sign In or Register to comment.