How Much Does Business Play Into Scoring?

Discussion in 'College Cheerleading, NCATA, & STUNT' started by Sterling von Shimmer, Jan 10, 2019 at 1:46 AM.

  1. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer I shimmy daily

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    This will be a college UDA question, but it still applies to all levels of cheer/dance:

    I’m sure we’ve all heard variations of this rumor before, but I personally have always dismissed it. But then UDA happened last year, and now I’m wondering if there isn’t some credence to it (which, if true, would break my heart a little).

    To be clear: I’m not a “conspiracy theorist” about judging. I’m don’t scapegoat low scores back to some wild card factor — usually business-related — to explain our failures. But I know teams that firmly believe they’ve received lower scores or lost titles because they didn’t attend the right camp, or didn’t get uniforms from the right vendor, or whatever. In short, they didn’t grease the wheels with the right organisation when they should’ve, and then they paid for it at Nationals. Whether their suspicions are correct or not isn’t for me to say. I’m just saying I’ve never personally experienced such a thing, and therefore don’t think much about those allegations.

    But then UDA happened last year and the University of Minnesota officially lost their 7-year winning streak (that they’d been maintaining since their inaugural year) to Ohio State. Not only in one, but TWO divisions (pom and jazz).

    A lot of people — including myself — were surprised at this. To be fair, U of M had their problems, but so did Ohio. And yet Ohio unseated U of M in two categories (Minnesota got second to Ohio in both). So it has people wondering if there wasn’t something else happening.

    The theory is: UDA finally gave the titles to Ohio (in a year where Ohio performed competently enough that UDA could successfully defend their decision). Why? To show it could be done. Because to keep solidifying U of M as the team that could not be beat in two of their most impacted dance divisions would mean fewer entrants — and therefore, fewer entrance fees — down the line. So basically they broke a team’s 7-year streak and handed the title to another team that didn’t earn it for the money. That’s the theory, anyway.

    Of course, there’s the possibility that Ohio was just better that day. But most people believe that while they were good, they were NOT Minnesota good. And certainly not twice over.

    The romantic in me doesn’t want to believe this is true. But also, I kind of get it from a “cheer-as-business” standpoint. I don’t like it or condone it, but I get it.

    For reference, here are the teams in question (I’m only posting the pom division because I’m more familiar with it). If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, it’s the teams’ mega-hard full-squad turn sections that usually go a long way in determining who wins (Minnesota has traditionally been famous for the synchronisation, difficulty, and speed changes in theirs):

    Minnesota, 7-time champ:



    Ohio:



    Does anyone else wrestle with these suspicions? Can anyone with more experience into the cheer industry provide some insight? Am I paranoid to suspect something happened or am I naive to think nothing happened?


    Thanks, all.
     
  2. alpaca

    alpaca I named my pet Sir Fierce-a-lot

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    I absolutely believe that politics can come into play during sports that are judged based on a rehearsed performance as opposed to a reactionary ball sport. Politics comes into play even in ball sports with instant replay.

    That said, in this case I thought Ohio had a better performance. Keep in mind that I have zero experience in pom so I don't know the scoresheet. This is the first time I have ever watched a pom routine. But I will say that Ohio was more enjoyable to watch and had more performance value. They started off strong with one of their their turn sections and kept the energy. It felt more modern. I liked it better.
     
  3. oncecoolcoachnowmom

    oncecoolcoachnowmom Bestest Newbie '14

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    Disclaimer: My dance knowledge is limited so I'm going to relate this to cheer.

    Short answer: No.

    By this logic, UCA should have politically colluded with some other University to have Kentucky come in 2nd like 15 titles ago.

    They've only taken second 3 times in 20 years but when it does happen, I think the other team does have the better technique and execution (ex: the year UCF beat them.) It's not a political ploy.
     
  4. catlady

    catlady Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    After watching both, I noticed Ohio provided additional skills (aerials, front walkovers, and some type of handstand split kick something or other) that Minnesota did not that could have boosted their difficulty or creativity. Synchronization and speed favored Minn IMO, but I didn't feel it was enough to exceed Ohio's additional content. Strictly an opinion, I know nothing about pom.

    In the eight years we were in AS, I felt good about the placements my kids teams received.
     
  5. ScottyB

    ScottyB I have my own cheer message board

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    i don't necessarily agree that last year's UDA result was due to any conspiracy. mostly because UMN still is a major camp, apparel, and competition customer, with their 5 teams (all girl, coed, mascot, dance(s), and hockey cheer).

    that said, the question of having the EP have all the control with scoring and placing for a national championship is questionable when they are in business in other areas. i've been in the room when top teams' data was checked regarding their last orders, when they went to camp last, and other business related info. Varsity didn't become a 2 billion dollar company by being dumb..
     
  6. catlady

    catlady Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    We differ on what we think is "dumb" then. Questions about "influencers" and what they wear and where they are seen at are truly basic everyday business questions in fashion. I guarantee they are more concerned about getting "inflencers" fashion business, versus pissing them off. The fact is many top teams don't wear Varsity and they are watched intently for favoritism and bias not only by the gym owners and coaches, but fans as well.

    IMO, I tend to think individual judge bias and politics is probably more of an issue. Cheer, dance, and skating are all very incestuous businesses. For those that think releasing scores would prevent biases and incestuous politics, lol, hello Olympic ice skating.
     
  7. ScottyB

    ScottyB I have my own cheer message board

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    I said I was in the room. Idk how more specific I can get in saying that it happens.

    Many of the top teams do all wear varsity, especially on the school/college side of spirit.

    When you are a figurative monopoly, you can piss off whoever you want, you will still get everyone else's business.
     
  8. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer I shimmy daily

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    That’s true. But to your Kentucky comparison I will say this: Kentucky at least has been beat before. Minnesota never had — not once — since their debut year. Which begs the question: maybe UDA thought it was just time for them to lose lest people think there was a conspiracy afoot in that direction? I could see it.
     
  9. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer I shimmy daily

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    The aerials Ohio had were a nice flourish — especially out of the turns — but they’re not valued all that much. I think it’s because they’re considered more to be acrobatic skills than dance. A few years ago U of M had only half their team execute aerials and they still beat a team with full aerials. They’re nice, but there are better ways to spend your time. So I’m not totally convinced that’s what pushed them over the edge. But who knows. They did look REALLY pretty.
     
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  10. CPop

    CPop They call me Susie

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    What? Aerials are HUGE in pom now. Dance evolves just like cheer... Difficulty isn't everything, but Ohio was more difficult, had higher energy, while still maintaining cleanliness. U of M was slightly sharper and cleaner especially in their transitions but imo was one of their more "meh" routines in terms of choreography they've ever brought to nationals. Ohio had a high energy opening and had good pacing throughout the routine. U of M switched choreographers last year. Choreography is EVERYTHING when you're at that level.
     
  11. catlady

    catlady Slow your roll, Sparkle.

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    I didn't imply you weren't in the room, I said it was foolish for the very reason of you coming on here and saying "it happens." Do I believe everyone in a 2 billion corp is that foolish, "no". #2, "yes" some top teams do and don't wear Varsity, and as I said above, gym owners, coaches and fans are going to be watching carefully for that bias. #3 We will have to agree to disagree on the term "monopoly", there are a plethora of cheer uniform companies out there. As far as EP's, it's either an empire or it isn't lucrative. Based on all the mergers and lack of people trying to break into the cheer EP business, I'm going with the latter. It wouldn't be the first time a corp has to stay in a lower profiting business to support their highly profitable business(es). And lastly, as a once CS exec for a division of an $11 billion corp.... that no longer exists because of a merge..... "no" you can't keep ticking people off when your business isn't a necessity in life. Everyone likes to ponder the "conspiracy theories," but I don't know of anyone that will voluntarily keep throwing thousands of dollars at a business they don't have any trust in or value at some level.
     
  12. ScottyB

    ScottyB I have my own cheer message board

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    lol 'figurative monopoly' =/= a monopoly that the courts could pass judgement/penalties onto. That is why I said it like that. The Summit was an abomination last year, yet people are still going en masse this year. Why? The only other end of year options for lower level teams are few and far between.

    that's how Varsity's business model has worked for years:
    competitions were marketing for uniforms and camp. that's why only now are we seeing all other costs go up, Varsity is owned by two new companies in the past 7 years that don't want to take a dive on these massive competitions. it will only get worse. Varsity didn't create their competitions and fund all star events to grow the sport, they just want to grow their bottom line (which for most of their history is based around apparel).

    Which is why Flocheer/VarsityTV is now a thing (they finally wanna profit off the media side). For years all the video and promotion work came as a marketing cost. For years we lost thousands of dollars doing video and live streaming so that the sport would get exposure and more teams would get involved, boosting up the company.
     
  13. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer I shimmy daily

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    Aerials as a means of picking up difficulty points are a popular choice, but there is no “aerial” section in the score sheet. It only mentions “tricks,” of which U/M had (the backward rolls, the walkover thing, and the lift) that were faster and more creative than Ohio’s, and that’s in addition to the handful of aerials that U/M also had.

    I’ll admit, this wasn’t U/M’s best routine ever. If I’m being totally honest, I don’t feel the girls enjoyed performing the routine that much. Compare this one to their 2016 routine which you should watch if you’re a fan of outright perfection:



    But I still feel like the “meat” of the routine should’ve put them on top. Ohio was flashier and more energetic, but Minn was cleaner and their fouetté turn sequences were clearly superior.

    All in all, I understand the judges’ decision, but nonetheless was not expecting it.

    With UDA right around the corner, I’m practically salivating to see what both teams bring in a week. Cannot wait.
     
  14. Sterling von Shimmer

    Sterling von Shimmer I shimmy daily

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    Why was Summit bad last year?
     
  15. Lisa Seye

    Lisa Seye I'm an announcer on CBS for Worlds (or should be)

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    Waaaaay overcrowded. Parents fighting because they cant get in the buildings to see their kids, rude staff, ran out of medals, wrong placements/wrong winners announced......