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Amateur and Professional Status

HortonHorton Posts: 28,773 Administrator
3.01 Amateur and Professional Status
There shall be no distinction between amateurs and professionals.

As we talk about things like @adamhcaldwell's exclusion at the BigDawg and the Level 10 fiasco maybe we should consider deleting or rewriting Rule 3.01.

Somebody complained when @AdamCord won M2 this year because he has an Open rating. I am pretty sure Adam has never won money at a pro event and is NOT a pro skier.

Should the best amateurs compete for the Gold or should the best skiers who have never skied beyond some arbitrary score compete?

@bishop8950 does this spark ideas?
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  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,773 Administrator
    As a side note.... Am I correct that rule 3.01 was written when we thought we were going to the Olympics? If so we should delete it or change it just on principle.
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  • Bruce_ButterfieldBruce_Butterfield Posts: 1,634 Member of the BallOfSpray Hall Of Fame
    I believe tbat rule has been in place long before he olympic pipe dream took hold.
    One of many issues here is tbat you can count one hand the number of true professional 3 event skiers - those who earn their primary income from winnings and sponsorships.
    We are simply heading down the path of forcing up the skiers who are better and "too good to win nationals in their age division".
    I'm Ancient. WTH do I know?
  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,773 Administrator
    @Bruce_Butterfield after the @adamhcaldwell / BigDawg debacle @bishop8950 and I talked a lot about how to tweak the BigDawg rules to prevent this from happening again. I think the same solutions might apply to the Regionals and Nationals.

    My idea is that if you really try to compete at legit Pro events then you are a Pro. It makes it more about commitment and intent than score. Adam Cord is an Open Rated skier but he is NOT a Pro. In my book his M2 Gold is 100% Legit. If we do not want Nate Smith to come down and ski M2 then we need a logical way to divide the skiers. Personally I HATE the idea that if you ski one too many balls then you are out of your age class. That makes no sense unless the dividing line is 1/4 ball above how I am skiing.
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  • DirtDirt Posts: 1,618 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @Horton I think a lot more skiers are for some type of dividing line than are against it. When I talk to people about it, many are careful what they say because they don't want to offend anyone or be attacked by the skiers who are against the level 10 rule.
    I learned everything I know not to do from Horton
  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,773 Administrator
    @Dirt as long as the dividing line is 1/4 ball more than I am skiing I am for it.
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  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,698 Mega Baller
    Don't forget that the @adamhcaldwell situation was based on an interpretation of the Big Dawg rules, not the AWSA/USAWS rules.

    If anyone is a "level 10" skier it would be @Chad_Scott . But would it have been fair to ask him to drive for three days and then ski MM at the end of the day yesterday? I think not. I think at this tournament he made the fair and appropriate call. On another day and under different circumstances, perhaps it would be more sporting to ski MM. Heck, if he can win a Big Dawg, he can win MM at Nationals. I think the better approach is to rely on the individual skier's sense of sportsmanship and fair play on any given day considering all relevant factors.

    Chad's situation underscores why the level 10 rule is a poor one. Having what is in essence an arbitrary cut off for age group completion isn't necessarily fair to those disqualified from age group completion for a variety of reasons.

    As to @Horton's point of eliminating rule 3.01, I would caution against it. The biggest problem with piecemeal rule changes is application of the law of unintended consequences. Without carefully considering all of the ramifications of a rule elimination, perhaps in the context of an overhaul of the entire rule book, I suggest we leave it alone. I am not advocating an overhaul of the rule book.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    The old attempts by the IOC to separate amateurs from professionals was one of the worst things for sport ever. Olympic sports are so much better since they dropped that. NCAA could make football scandals disappear and make college athletics better if they followed the IOC lead.

    Who are the pro waterskiers? Nate, Freddy and maybe a couple foreign skiers. Regina, yes but really she's a pharmacist who is an incredible skier. Adam? By old IOC rules, yes - but really? Kirk? Same, but the show jumping has ruined his distance form. Working all the time and starving is way tougher than being a pampered B3 (those were fun times, sigh). Functionally, there are so few true pros that segregation is worthless.

    AWSA has avoided this problem forever. Don't create a new problem.

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,698 Mega Baller
    @eleeski wandering from the topic but I couldn't disagree with you more about the IOC changing the rules to eliminate the amature status requirement. The Olympic ideal was ruined and the games themselves became a money generating TV spectacle. The greatest Olympic "moment" for me was the USA v USSR hockey game in Lake Placid in 1980. (I sat right behind the Soviet bench). That never would have been a game of similar consequence were it not a bunch of US college players up against the Soviet juggernaut. I could care less about watching Olympic hockey now, and I don't watch any of the summer Olympics. (My favorite summer games sport is Modern Pentathalon consisting of running, swimming, pistol shooting, fencing and jumping horses. Not much TV there.) .
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    @lpskier The Russians were pros by every measure except the stilted IOC rules. Yeah, that was an awesome game.

    I like that fringe sport athletes can avoid starvation and at least be supported. I love seeing the best athletes showcased. And it's nice not having every athlete's professional status nit picked. I understand your view but I'm not sure there are enough "miracle on ice" moments to offset the blowouts, controversies and diminished performances.

    A wealthy amateur can pay for the best equipment, coaching and take the time for training. Pretty much everything (or more) than a pro. That line is too blurred in today's world. Even if I agreed with your view of amateur vs pro, application and enforcement of that separation is extremely difficult. DQing a top skier because he is too much of a professional will do nothing for the sport. on the other hand, Kirk skied Nationals this year just because he made Open.

  • lpskierlpskier Posts: 2,698 Mega Baller
    edited August 2017
    Not pros, the Soviets were in the "Army." Their MOS was hockey.
    John Wilkins- Si non pro sanguine quem ludus ne. #iskiconnelly
  • skibugskibug Posts: 2,049
    @Horton ....define " really try"...seems quite subjective.
    Bob Grizzi
  • adamhcaldwelladamhcaldwell Posts: 630 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    Would this be crazy idea?

    Remove the public listings of scores/levels and Ranking list until the end of the season. - like it was before the days of internet.

    Leave say 75 slots per division open to ANYONE in age group who wants to spend the $$ to go ski a nationals event. If you ski regionals and qualify, then you get a discounted entry to Nationals and a better standing on the Nationals running order.

    Let the results at Nationals be the rankings list for the year that is available publicaly.

    This prevents people from being 'scared away because they may not ski as many buoys as the top L9 guy.

    Also gets more people overall to the event, not just the best of agegroup . This is a better situation for all the venders who invest time and $ in the event. Highly successful skiers are not buying lots of new gear. The up-and-comers are. If you have ever seen an INT championship event you'll know what I mean.

  • aupatkingaupatking Posts: 1,447 Mega Baller
    Does this bring us back to the Nationals and the US Open being brought back together? Wouldn't the dividing line be pretty simple, for Nationals, if you are skiing in one, you cannot ski in the other? Obviously, it's not quite that simple, but it's close.
  • EdbrazilEdbrazil Posts: 1,396 Historical Baller
    Note to @horton and others. I believe that Rule 3.01 has been around from the Way Back,
    and before the cluster of dealing with the Olympics. Could have been back when the
    Cypress Gardens show skiers would have been considered "Professional", despite their
    meager wages. Trying to differentiate can be big problems. Golf seems to do OK with
    keeping their distinction between Pro and AM. Not so much some other sports. Karl
    Schranz was disqualified by Avery Brundage from the Olympics because Avery considered
    him a "Pro". Since then, snow skiing has dropped the rules that try to separate Pro from
  • bishop8950bishop8950 Posts: 1,167 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    @horton, I will lump MM/MW into the discussion becuase while they are not "pros", I think it's relevant. I think we agree these are the options, or at least the most likely options for USA Reg/Nats:

    1) current rules, we have OM/OW and MM/MW divisions and skiers can choose which they ski in if the qualify

    2) proposed 2018 rules where we still have "elite" divisions but skiers are forced up if they hit the threshold score - "level 10"

    3) we go pure age division and ditch elite divisions.

    I am leaving out an overhaul to ability basis just because I don't see it happening and it's a whole other animal.

    All 3 options will have some strong support and some strong objection. Are we looking for the one with the least complaints? While I can personally live with any of them, I would rank them 1, 3, 2.

    For those that don't like Cord skiing M2 (which is totally ok!) we could go pure age division and you will have Nate in there as well. So are the current rules that bad? If we tweak the rules to force Cord out I don't think it's right.

    Level 10 seems to have as much or more negative impact on skiers than those it benefits. I guess I don't get it. I do get that having choice to switch divisions hard for some to accept, but that seems less bad than forcing everyone over the threshold up.

    I benefit from MM because I like skiing against the best 34mph skiers regardless of age. I ski against Greg all the time in MM but if we skied age divisions I would never get a crack at him at Nats. So I personally hope MM stays.

    Overall, maybe I should stay out of it since I haven't gone to Regionals or Nationals lately. My reasons are not the division stuff, but off topic things like the format is not compelling and I had bad experiences with officials and driving, which was shocking for our premier events.
  • John BrooksJohn Brooks Posts: 367 Crazy Baller
    I like a lot of what @adamhcaldwell & @bishop8950 have to say. I would lien toward #3 on Kevin's list. I believe fewer divisions is better and that it's enjoyable for many to have the age division best at Nationals and Regionals. I believe groupings by skill should be accomplished in local events by the LOC's which adds to the fun of those events and makes them special, vs going to multiple local events that all follow the same traditional format. Events like the BallOfSpray Cash Prize, where the organizers come up with formats that appeal to many and are a little non traditional. Isn't this whole sport about fun?

  • TriplettTriplett Posts: 209 Open or 55K Rated Skier
    I personally like the ranking lists, it is nice to see how everyone else is performing through the year. But, I would have to agree with @adamhcaldwell, we need to let nationals be inclusive. Him and I have spoken about the INT stuff, and frankly, it sounds like way more fun than AWSA events.
    Brent Triplett - Michigan
  • eleeskieleeski Posts: 3,975 Infinite Pandas
    From the general meeting at Nationals, the level 10 rule is now in effect. I guess that means L9 is still optional so the sandbagging will still be an issue - just less of one.

    On the other hand, I now have a number to shoot for. Qualifying in is an honor and I will proudly chase it.

    There are not enough skiers getting money to have a pro division. Old guys pooling the entry fees to the winner is a long way from pro. As are the few opportunities for a paltry winner's check in the couple cash prize tournaments

    Ability brackets are the measure for the best skiers. Age divisions are fun and great for developing skiers. AWSA is trying to make both work. We should support the efforts.

  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,380 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @MrJones I think I understand what you mean but even "if you accept money" will likely create an issues.

    For example, does the $39 I made at a local tournament count? All skiers had a handicap score added to their actual score for a total. I'm certainly not a pro but I did accept money.

    What about discounts? If I get free or discounted skis is that the same as money? What about boats? Or promo boats? If you include athlete boats, does the rest of their family/friends who also benefit from that boat also get labeled "pro"?

    Finally, regardless of what defines "accepting money", how long after I accept that money am I still labeled "pro"? Annually? 3 years? 5 years? And, most importantly, who's going to keep track of it?

    I'm being devils advocate more than anything. But the point is there isn't an easy way to label someone "pro"
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
  • MrJonesMrJones Posts: 1,786 Mega Baller
    I agree Keith. It's a mess. I really think the old age divisions, EP, etc., worked really well and would be much easier for everyone. When voicing this to the powers that be at Regionals I was told that I was backwards thinking. I think that if you're lost it's often good to backtrack to your last known good location and reset.

    As for Eric's take. It's really hard to have your cake and eat it too with age and ability based all in the same Nationals mix. (At least to the extent that it is now vs. when it was only age or Open)
  • Jody_SealJody_Seal Posts: 2,901 Mega Baller
    While on the board I tried to get rule 3.01 eliminated. however the board wanted to describe what a "professional" waterskier was.
    My thought was eliminate the rule and let it open a door. Not describe but open a door for our organization to "establish" professional events and maybe start in a direction that our young skiers can look forward going into.
    It was voted down not on the basis of what a professional waterskier was but more it would put a LOC in a different "Tax" identification!
    Hobby Boats can be expensive when the hobbyist is limited on their own skill and expertise.

  • HortonHorton Posts: 28,773 Administrator
    edited August 2017
    My original idea came from a conversation with @bishop8950 about the @adamhcaldwell BigDawg thing. I think the solution for the BigDawg could be the same as for Open. Just consider this....

    Forget the word Professional if that is the issue. I will use the word Elite below but that is likely the wrong word also.

    A skier who is really competitive at an event like Moomba or the Malibu or US Open is an elite skier. A skier who wins money at a small cash event like the BallOfSpray Cash Prize is not necessarily an Elite skier. Somehow the dividing line could be described with intent. Will Asher is CLEARLY an elite skier (Pro Skier). @adamhcaldwell is a kick ass skier who took second at a tiny amature cash event. In this example Asher clearly trains for pro events and his lifestyle is full time water skier.

    @AdamCord has a Open rating and won M2 at Nationals but unlike JT and Smith he is not a full time (Pro) skier. He is just a really good skier. He is not going to go to the Malibu and expect to be on the podium.
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  • MattPMattP Posts: 6,094 Mega Baller
    edited August 2017
    @Horton and I talk about the difference between Pro and Am skiing a lot. I spend a lot of time looking at pro skiing data and maintaining a Pro Ranking list for the website which has criteria for qualifications.

    -Men's Events need 10 or more Open Entrees vs. finishing in the top 10 as an open entered skier. This verbiage in the Big Dawg rule book would have saved @adamhcaldwell a headache. There were not 10 entries in Open at the BOS event.

    -Skiers who skied in 3 or more of the Pro events are added to the list.
    A majority of these events are qualified to be on the Elite List. The only qualified event this year that was not was the Swiss Event.
    Traditionally Introductory Elite events do not make the cut for entries, but they have before. Could we call an event a "Pro" Event based on the total prize money? Yes. Do I like that call? No.

    Using this basic criteria you currently end up with 27 Skiers in the World who make the list.

    Below is my current rolling 12 month List. A few of these skiers will drop off the list by the end of the year if they do not ski any more events. The only person on the list I would not call a Pro right out is Diego Font as he is a Jr. Skier and skied 2 of the events in his home town. Yes, arguments could be made for a few of the other guys I'm sure, lets say the bottom 6. As they will fall off the list this year. So the top 21 guys on the list are legit Pros. (Note: CP is missing from the list).

    There are simple solutions to these "complex" problems. Hopefully the leading ears are listening.

    Nate SMITH
    William ASHER
    Thomas DEGASPERI
    Fred Winter
    Jonathan TRAVERS
    Corey VAUGHN
    Joel HOWLEY
    Benjamin STADLBAUR
    Sacha DESCUNS
    Stephen NEVEU
    Thibaut DAILLAND
    Brian DETRICK
    Daniel ODVARKO
    Martin BARTALSKY
    Carlo ALLAIS
    Nick PARSONS
    Terry WINTER
    Nicholas ADAMS
    Robert PIGOZZI
    Felipe MIRANDA
    Matteo LUZZERI
    Tyler YAGER
    Austin ABEL
    Diego FONT

    @klindy I already track it to a degree. All $ events have to be sanctioned.
  • klindyklindy Posts: 2,380 ★★★Triple Panda Award Recipient ★★★
    @MrJones I had the opposritnity to chair the Skiers Rating Commiitte (EP days) and the Skiers Qualification Committee more recently. The math to determine the thresholds for level 8,7,6,etc is the same as we used to calculate EP, Masters, Expert, etc. With the ranking system there are more levels (including lower and higher - L9 and now L10). While the percentages may have changed a bit over the years, the math a nd the underlying philosophy (number of skiers who can qualify for Nationals, minimum in the group, etc) has remained essentially the same.

    The primary difference is that the ranking list recalculates everyday thanks to a dynamic database and electronic scoring. In the old EP days it would take weeks to gather and compile all the scores from throughout the year to calculate the cut-off for each rating.

    So if you want to call Level 8 (and above) an EP you'd be correct since it's a functional equivalent.

    As for age vs ability, since we score slalom the same (6 buoys), tricks are called the same and jumps are measured the same, once a score is posted, how you divide them up into groups is really arbitrary. Our "standard" system is setup age based but anyone can literally regroup "the scores" into whatever groups they want. What we don't have are the templates or administrative parts of the scoring program setup to do much more than age. But anscore will be the same regardless.
    Keith Lindemulder
    AWSA Vice President
    AWSA Southern Region EVP
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