Pro Con - Athlete Database/ID cards

Discussion in 'Discussing the Cheerleading Industry' started by drewpate, Jan 28, 2010.

  1. Andre

    Andre Batman at Justice League

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    Not directly. For 6 years I worked for a CPA firm auditing government agencies, Departments of State and Labor being the largest 2. I focused on IT portions of the audit so I've worked in a lot of detail with large, diverse databases.


    Right now I'm working on a database driven project to help organize small groups, but as we design it I'm keeping cheerleading in mind because I believe it has the potential to really help small gyms and new gyms, who are the key to the future of our industry.

    Chris does all of our database stuff. He used to be in online banking for 1 of the 5 largest banks in America and now works for an Aerospace and Defense company. He's used to working in fields that don't tolerate errors. Some of my comments indirectly come from him, hopefully explaining some of the focus on accuracy.
     
  2. mg8923

    mg8923 Cheer Stalker

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    So I really like the idea of the key tags however maybe we should discuss how people are cheating? I mean once we figure out how they are cheating we can figure out how to combat it. I don't think just setting up a database will cure the issues.
     
  3. BlueCat

    BlueCat Roses are red, cats are blue National Champion

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    Since people will often gossip about - but almost never turn in - cheaters, there isn't any type of official record of methods used.

    I ASSUME that the most common is knowingly using people out of range and just lying about their birthday.
     
  4. KB_Legend

    KB_Legend Jedi Cheerleading Master

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    I agree that initial verification/accuracy would be difficult and may not prevent much, if any, age based cheating, BUT I also think that most of that takes place on the older end of the spectrum (athletes being a year or two old for a senior team) not exclusively but probably the vast majority. That being said I think it is likely that most tiny/mini/youth parents are going to give honest accurate information because, I'm assuming, the thought of cheering allstars an extra year or two after high school 10 years down the road probably isn't going to cross their mind. So since these athletes are in the database at a young age as they grow in the sport that information will stay with them and make it more difficult (not impossible) to lie about your age
     
  5. FLcoach

    FLcoach Cheer Stalker

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    I like that thought... We need to take preventative measures to help discourage cheating in the future- a database with information now will build and make it harder for athletes and gyms to cheat in the future. And hopefully a system like this will still discourage those that do cheat from cheating because it will make the chance of getting caught more of a reality.

    What kind of penalties are going to be imposed on those that get caught cheating? This system will be great- but if at some competition company- somebody doesnt have a tag and that big name coach is begging the competition event producer just to let the kid compete and get age verification later- the system still won't work. The system needs to have strict penalties. And event producers have to stand behind it as well.

    No one wants to invest money into a program that people are going to turn the other way when a gym doesn't want to abide by it.
     
  6. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    i think the penalities and punishments have to come after we know how it works and that it works.

    but there are already rules against cheating. i cant imagine they would be too much different.
     
  7. ACEDAD

    ACEDAD Named "Best Veteran" meaning "Most Attractive". National Champion

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    King (or others), excluding the time involved in the information entry, what are the hard costs for USASF/gyms/event producers?
     
  8. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    Well, do you mean the cost to test it out at one competition or the total system?
     
  9. ACEDAD

    ACEDAD Named "Best Veteran" meaning "Most Attractive". National Champion

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    For the total system.
     
  10. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    Well, I can give you estimates of the pieces I think are necessary. You would need servers sitting in a database warehouse somewhere (varsity / usasf would not want anything onsite.. its not smart). In Atlanta, for example, there is a 1,000,000 square foot warehouse completely dedicated to being THE central nervous system for internet connections in the south (google is there as well as a lot of major banks). Varsity / USASF would rent a server that is quadruple backed up and maintained. Even 20,000 records of athletes is not a large amount, so the hardware requirements to run the database are not a big deal. It is more the location and WHO should run it. I estimate (on the HIGH side) that they could get those servers for $500 a month (with support contracts). These servers could handle all competitions across the country simultaneously no problem (with room to grow).

    Each competition would require a solid internet connection. I cannot tell you the cost per event, but honestly a 4G router could handle all the data we would pass back and forth... and that is 60 a month.

    The two checkin points ( I envision two at most, one before warmups and one before walking on the floor) would be a combo of an RFID reader (just looking online I found cheap ones for 40 bucks... so lets assume a durable unit is $200 for my kickstand idea), a computer for interface (a scaled down model could be 300 bucks) a large LCD screen to see the picture of the athlete who was just scanned (500 ish) and a web cam to take a picture of the person just scanned (50 bucks). Including stand I think this 'unit' would be around 1200.

    RFID tags are around 25 to 50 cents. That cost would be made up in registration by the athletes. these would be worn like normal shoe tags so to the athlete there is no difference. i used the exact same technology when i ran my marathon this past thanksgiving. this technique is already being done easily. in fact... when i ran my marathon i didnt have to try anything special to get it to notice my rfid tag, it was a 'speed bump' in the road 1000 of people a minute ran over and it registered us no problem.

    the most challenging part would be the regstration of athletes and how to handle it. an RFID tag reader/writer and a laptop combo with some way to label what kid gets what tag (unique ID number on each tag maybe?) you could have multiple sign in stations.

    then just pay the people to implement it. if done right and correctly I think they will find the cost will not be out of reach. the problem is anyone looking to do this system will talk to either a computer nerd who doesnt understand cheerleading or a cheerleading nerd who doesnt know enough about databases and systems in general (both of which i find happening in almost all marriages of technology and cheerleading). the HAVE to get the right consultant who knows what is going on.

    just as another thought, the invention of the ipad could also allow easily used checklists for people who run events. if the person at the beginning of warmups checkign scratches a team that information could be passed wirelessly to the ipad for the person running the 'in the hole' check point'.
     
  11. ACEDAD

    ACEDAD Named "Best Veteran" meaning "Most Attractive". National Champion

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    So the hardware isn't the stumbling block. The people cost likely is.

    When you ran your marathon, I'm confident that most of the people involved were volunteers. Cheerleading has a lot of volunteers, but I'm not sure it would work here.

    Let's see if we can determine the manpower needed. USASF would need a person or two (I believe). I believe the events would have people in place for the larger comps, but what about the local ones? Most of the events we've attended in town, there was only 1 person backstage. Would it require an additional one?
     
  12. King

    King Is all about that bass Staff Member

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    Manpower wise I think it would work like this:

    You would need a project leader and then eventually someone who heads up and runs the registration. Currently all the other forms of consolidated online registration are not the 'solution' people need. So the manpower needed to run those should be the same for this piece, just might have to change.

    A development team would cost money. Not arguing that.

    At the competition perhaps its best to check in people before they warm up. There are already people sitting at the table running this by pen and paper. If funneled through in some way I am sure possibly at most just one extra person could be used. And maybe the goal is less to check each person to match their picture, but more to catalog every person. Also, face recognition technology is coming very far very fast. The idea of a computer matching you to your USASF submitted picture is not farfetched and only alerting a staffer if the match is off. At that point a physical check could determine accuracy.

    The nice thing is the technology is there to make this all possible and easy. If it would be difficult I do not think it would work. I have worked with enough office staffs at my day job and Rays to know that no matter how functional a product is if it is not easy it will never be utilized well or to the fullest.
     
  13. judgementday

    judgementday Guest

    When we start talking RFID'S for cheerleaders to participate, etc. I don't know how comfortable I am. I am tech saavy, certainly not as nuch as Andre and King, and I recognize that I am the only person so far to have reservations (or at least voice them) but it just seems to be so invasive to prevent something that we shouldn't ne doing anyway, cheating (I know it would be too idealistic to expe

    I guess I am sensitive to the RFID'S for a variety of reasons, what are the alternatives? Is this going to be cost efficient? Will it somehow be shifted to usasf event producers and then parents?
     
  14. Andre

    Andre Batman at Justice League

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    The RFID itself shouldn't be a concern. It would just be a quicker way to link to a specific account in the database. The info in the database could/should be a concern, but most of it is being collected by someone, someplace already.
     
  15. BlueCat

    BlueCat Roses are red, cats are blue National Champion

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    I'm not sure what the reservation is to RFID. If anything, it is less invasive to me because you can't see the picture and name like you could on an ID card. If you find a random RFID, there really isn't any information you can get from it unless you have a reader and access to the database. If you already have access to the database, then the chip isn't the weak link in the security chain.

    (Think - finding someone's driver license vs. finding a tiny electronic chip.)