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Chief Referee's Version of Red Card in ASR

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  • Chief Referee's Version of Red Card in ASR

    I am going to explain what I did and why I did it and then I am not going to say one more word about it on Hydroracer. I am happy to discuss the matter in private with anyone, however.

    Rule 31.5 of the General Racing Rules provides as follows: "[The Referee] shall insist that all provisions of the racing rules be complied with at all times." This is a MANDATORY RULE. It does not allow for discretion.

    At Driver's Meeting, the following was announced nearly verbatim :

    "For Winternationals Classes, ALL boats must report to inspection after the first heat. For the second heat, if you are in the top three (3) positions, you MUST report to inspection. If you THINK you are not in the top three (3) but you are mistaken and IN FACT ARE in the top three (3) you MUST report to inspection. A failure to report to inspection will result in an automatic disqualification."

    4-J ran a probationary engine. Rule 13 of the Combined Outboard Rules deals with this type of entry and provides that it is a legal entry but the driver does not receive national high points. The driver of 4-J was charged the full entry fee just like everyone else and was a legitimate competitor in ASR just like everyone else.

    4-J finished in overall third-place in the ASR Winternationals Race. 4-J reported to inspection after the first heat but did not report to inspection after the second heat. One of the inspectors disqualified the driver of the 4-J and I independently verfied that the driver failed to report to inspection after the second heat.

    Rule 8.7 deals with inspection refusals at a National Championship Event and provides as follows:

    "7. Upon refusal of inspection procedures at any regatta, said driver will be disqualified. Upon refusal of inspection procedures at Divisional, National
    or record-attempt regattas, said driver shall be suspended for a period of one year for unsportsmanlike conduct."

    4-J did not report to inspection in the ASR Winternationals class after the second heat after being specifically advised to do so at driver's meeting. In my judgment, this constitutes a refusal of an inspection procedure. It is not the job of the inspector or the Race Committee to seek out competitors who do not follow inspection procedures and the announcement was made at this driver's meeting that an automatic disqualification would ensue. But there is another rule, 8.7, which deals with this at National Championships.

    Based upon my analysis, I believed that the Rules REQUIRED ME TO SUSPEND THE DRIVER OF THE 4-J FOR ONE YEAR. Combined Rule 8.7. I refused to do so. To this end, I suppose, I violated my obligations as a Referee. Instead, I searched the APBA rules to find an alternative which would impose a penalty that was at least consistent with the requirement of Combined Rule 8.7. I did: The Red card. The Red card rule provides a suspension (same as Combined Rule 8.7) but one that was not nearly as harsh. For the driver of 4-J, this would have meant a one-race suspension instead of the entire season that 8.7 requires.

    I then personally met with the driver of the 4-J, in private, explained my decision, what I thought the rules required me to do, showed him the rules, and advised him that I was giving him a red card. I attempted to explain this process to him as best as I could in as polite and professional a manner as I could and tried to explain what my ruling meant. That driver was very calm and professional as well and his behavior during that exchange was what every racer should aspire to. It was nothing but first-class.

    Those are the reasons I did what I did. The driver of the 4-J appealed my decision to the Race Committee which is what the Yellow/Red Card Rule provides. I explained my ruling to the Race Committee during their meeting and then left the meeting. I was later advised that the Race Committee had overturned my ruling.

    I was fully aware at the time that General Racing Rules permit the Referee to overrule any decision of the Race Committee. Nevertheless, I chose not to exercise that right and I did not overrule the decision of the Race Committee regarding the appeal by 4-J even though I could have done so. This is not because I believe I made the wrong decision: I didn't and I still don't.

    By the way, I considered the arguments that 1) 4-J was not required to come to inspection at all; and 2) 4-J did not "refuse" inspection and others regarding my understanding of the applicable rules to what occurred. I found none of them to be persuasive.

    I want to tell you that I have been an APBA referee for fifteen years now and this decision that I made was one of the two hardest decisions I have ever had to make as a Referee. The other one involved depriving a competitor of a record. Indeed, I would place this decision in the top ten (10) of the hardest decisions I have made in my life. I disagreed with the rule regarding a one-year suspension. But it is not the job of the Referee to decide what the rules are or which ones are fair: that is the job of the Racing Commissions. Rather, the Referee is compelled to enforce them. I tried to come up with a compromise that provided what the Racing Rule required: a suspension - just not as stiff as one as the rules actually required. To this end, I disregarded what I believe the rule required. That, I found to be very difficult to do as well.

    Finally, I want to dispel the notion that anyone "put me up to this" or "instigated this". As a Referee, I always have people who try to influence my decisions. It happens every time I serve. But I make my own decisions after I do my best to understand what happened and after reviewing the rules. This issuance of this Red Card to the driver of 4-J rests with me and no one else. As a wise Democrat once said: "The buck stops here!"

    I know that my decision upset a lot of people. For that, I am very sorry. I know, as much as you all do too, that everyone we race against is part of our extended family. That is why these decisions are very hard.

    Ed Hearn, Chief Referee, 2009 SO & MOD Winternationals.
    Last edited by 14-H; 03-24-2009, 02:56 PM.

    "That is NOT why people hate me." - 14-H.

  • #2
    Ed, First off, thank you for explaining this to everyone. Secondly, thank you for enforcing the rule book. Although I was very upset about this decision, you were only doing your job. Few people, if any, have the constitution to perform their job as required, even when they don't want to, as you do. All to often people let their emotions cloud their judgement, The Dude knows I do. It is especially difficult to not let this happen in our sport, where we are all so close. The fact that you are able to resist that most human of reactions shows much self-discipline. I hope that all others will find this exlanation as satisfactory as I have. Again, thanks.
    Ryan Runne
    Wacusee Speedboats

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--Albert Einstein

    These days, I find it easier to look up to my youngers than my elders.


    • #3
      Mr. Hearn:
      I do not know the rule book to anywhere near the degree required to comment on this situation intelligently. However, I do know a class act when I see one, and in this case I see two; 4-J and yourself. Thank you for taking the time to post a very clear and concise description of what went down and why. I learned much from it.

      By the way, I liked your opening line "....
      I am going to explain what I did and why I did it and then I am not going to say one more word about it on Hydroracer."

      I assume this ain't your first rodeo?

      "....that's one happy tub of beer"


      • #4
        Ed, My hat is off to you. That was a VERY hard decision to make. Confronted with the rule you had no choice.
        That is why we Referee's make the big bucks.
        bill b


        • #5
          The Hardest Working Man In Show Business

          Hey Ed- You did a great job in Pineville.

          Speaking as a spectator and a short term video camera volunteer,
          I admire the effort to present a professional and engaging event.

          Announce a class...dry fire your engine...announce a class...put your boat in the water...announce a class...play Dixie.

          Well done.


          • #6

            Mike Barrett would have a field day with this one....


            • #7
              Originally posted by kev29p View Post
              Mike Barrett would have a field day with this one....
              & Thats the TRUETH!

              "You gotta do the work"- Pop Trolian


              • #8
                Because Boat Was Still A Legal Entry And Needs To Follow Same Rules On Coarse As Everyone Else .


                • #9
                  Originally posted by D Shafer View Post
                  Because Boat Was Still A Legal Entry And Needs To Follow Same Rules On Coarse As Everyone Else .
                  Also I would think a probational engine is being considered for use in the future. If it was modified they need to know.

                  Just to point out that people interpret thing differently and going only by what was in the first post.
                  I interpret the rules as he quoted them as .
                  1. If you do not show for inspection you are disqualified.
                  2. If you refuse to be inspected you are suspended.

                  My interpretation is in order to be considered a refusal he would have had to be confronted. I take this rule as if he was at inspection and he refused to have all, or part, of the inspection done as a refusal of inspection procedures.
                  I could not find anything in the first post that sead not showing is considered a refusal to inspect and therefor only a disqualification, not a suspension.

                  On the other hand I see why the inspector made his decision the way he did. This is why a decision can be appealed.
                  Chris Jordan [only a rookie with an opinion]
                  Last edited by immulmen; 03-25-2009, 05:29 AM.


                  • #10
                    Mike's response:

                    Originally posted by kev29p View Post
                    Mike Barrett would have a field day with this one....
                    Since he's banned, he can't respond. I will tell you that he rattled off a top ten list of Ed Hearn's toughest life decisions. He also said to extend his congratulations to Joe Pater.....


                    • #11
                      Billable Hours

                      Originally posted by 14-h View Post
                      i Am Going To Explain What I Did And Why I Did It And Then I Am Not Going To Say One More Word About It On Hydroracer. I Am Happy To Discuss The Matter In Private With Anyone, However.

                      Rule 31.5 Of The General Racing Rules Provides As Follows: "[the Referee] Shall Insist That All Provisions Of The Racing Rules Be Complied With At All Times." This Is A Mandatory Rule. It Does Not Allow For Discretion.

                      At Driver's Meeting, The Following Was Announced Nearly verbatim :

                      "for Winternationals Classes, All Boats Must Report To Inspection After The First Heat. For The Second Heat, If You Are In The Top Three (3) Positions, You Must Report To Inspection. If You Think You Are Not In The Top Three (3) But You Are Mistaken And In Fact Are In The Top Three (3) You Must Report To Inspection. a Failure To Report To Inspection Will Result In An Automatic Disqualification."

                      4-j Ran A Probationary Engine. Rule 13 Of The Combined Outboard Rules Deals With This Type Of Entry And Provides That It Is A Legal Entry But The Driver Does Not Receive National High Points. The Driver Of 4-j Was Charged The Full Entry Fee Just Like Everyone Else And Was A Legitimate Competitor In Asr Just Like Everyone Else.

                      4-j Finished In Overall Third-place In The Asr Winternationals Race. 4-j Reported To Inspection After The First Heat But Did Not Report To Inspection After The Second Heat. One Of The Inspectors Disqualified The Driver Of The 4-j And I Independently Verfied That The Driver Failed To Report To Inspection After The Second Heat.

                      Rule 8.7 Deals With Inspection Refusals At A National Championship Event And Provides As Follows:

                      "7. Upon Refusal Of Inspection Procedures At Any Regatta, Said Driver Will Be Disqualified. Upon Refusal Of Inspection Procedures At Divisional, National
                      Or Record-attempt Regattas, Said Driver Shall Be Suspended For A Period Of One Year For Unsportsmanlike Conduct."

                      4-j Did Not Report To Inspection In The Asr Winternationals Class After The Second Heat After Being Specifically Advised To Do So At Driver's Meeting. In My Judgment, This Constitutes A Refusal Of An Inspection Procedure. It Is Not The Job Of The Inspector Or The Race Committee To Seek Out Competitors Who Do Not Follow Inspection Procedures And The Announcement Was Made At This Driver's Meeting That An Automatic Disqualification Would Ensue. But There Is Another Rule, 8.7, Which Deals With This At National Championships.

                      Based Upon My Analysis, I Believed That The Rules Required Me To Suspend The Driver Of The 4-j For One Year. Combined Rule 8.7. I Refused To Do So. To This End, I Suppose, I Violated My Obligations As A Referee. Instead, I Searched The Apba Rules To Find An Alternative Which Would Impose A Penalty That Was At Least Consistent With The Requirement Of Combined Rule 8.7. I Did: The Red Card. The Red Card Rule Provides A Suspension (same As Combined Rule 8.7) But One That Was Not Nearly As Harsh. For The Driver Of 4-j, This Would Have Meant A One-race Suspension Instead Of The Entire Season That 8.7 Requires.

                      I Then Personally Met With The Driver Of The 4-j, In Private, Explained My Decision, What I Thought The Rules Required Me To Do, Showed Him The Rules, And Advised Him That I Was Giving Him A Red Card. I Attempted To Explain This Process To Him As Best As I Could In As Polite And Professional A Manner As I Could And Tried To Explain What My Ruling Meant. That Driver Was Very Calm And Professional As Well And His Behavior During That Exchange Was What Every Racer Should Aspire To. It Was Nothing But First-class.

                      Those Are The Reasons I Did What I Did. The Driver Of The 4-j Appealed My Decision To The Race Committee Which Is What The Yellow/red Card Rule Provides. I Explained My Ruling To The Race Committee During Their Meeting And Then Left The Meeting. I Was Later Advised That The Race Committee Had Overturned My Ruling.

                      I Was Fully Aware At The Time That General Racing Rules Permit The Referee To Overrule Any Decision Of The Race Committee. Nevertheless, I Chose Not To Exercise That Right And I Did Not Overrule The Decision Of The Race Committee Regarding The Appeal By 4-j Even Though I Could Have Done So. This Is Not Because I Believe I Made The Wrong Decision: I Didn't And I Still Don't.

                      By The Way, I Considered The Arguments That 1) 4-j Was Not Required To Come To Inspection At All; And 2) 4-j Did Not "refuse" Inspection And Others Regarding My Understanding Of The Applicable Rules To What Occurred. I Found None Of Them To Be Persuasive.

                      I Want To Tell You That I Have Been An Apba Referee For Fifteen Years Now And This Decision That I Made Was One Of The Two Hardest Decisions I Have Ever Had To Make As A Referee. The Other One Involved Depriving A Competitor Of A Record. Indeed, I Would Place This Decision In The Top Ten (10) Of The Hardest Decisions I Have Made In My Life. I Disagreed With The Rule Regarding A One-year Suspension. But It Is not the Job Of The Referee To Decide What The Rules Are Or Which Ones Are Fair: That Is The Job Of The Racing Commissions. Rather, The Referee Is Compelled To Enforce Them. I Tried To Come Up With A Compromise That Provided What The Racing Rule Required: A Suspension - Just Not As Stiff As One As The Rules Actually Required. To This End, I Disregarded What I Believe The Rule Required. That, I Found To Be Very Difficult To Do As Well.

                      Finally, I Want To Dispel The Notion That Anyone "put Me Up To This" Or "instigated This". As A Referee, I Always Have People Who Try To Influence My Decisions. It Happens Every Time I Serve. But I Make My Own Decisions After I Do My Best To Understand What Happened And After Reviewing The Rules. This Issuance Of This Red Card To The Driver Of 4-j Rests With Me And No One Else. As A Wise Democrat Once Said: "the Buck Stops Here!"

                      I Know That My Decision Upset A Lot Of People. For That, I Am Very Sorry. I Know, As Much As You All Do Too, That Everyone We Race Against Is Part Of Our Extended Family. That Is Why These Decisions Are Very Hard.

                      Ed Hearn, Chief Referee, 2009 So & Mod Winternationals.

                      Billable Hours Explained !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


                      Dean F. Hobart


                      • #12
                        Some Other Stuff "Background"...

                        My first thought in reading this post, was "So what?"....Then my brain clicked back to when this rule was written..... I might be wrong, but it seems at a Nationals once a driver ran an engine that appeared to be "STOCK". He won the first heat, but in doing so caused rough water for the second, third and fourth place boats....

                        Seems with less than a quarter lap to go, in the second heat he pulled off...and then never appeared at inspection...People like myself, who usually keep to themself, and seldom let their feelings known, went "Blastic"...This driver clearly caused the results of this class to change, while he was clearly running an illegal engine.

                        The SORC agreed that this was an "Unsportsman like act"...and did not want to see a repeat.

                        I have no knowledge of this what happened in Pineville, but I feel 14-H did the CORRECT thing...This is a new motor, EVERYONE should know if it was being raced as it will be sold or was it a "B" or was it just a "BRAIN FART"....(Not realizing he had to be inspected because the motor was on probation..).

                        I mean, we put our boat on the trailer and head for our pits....Then, someone says "DUH...aren't we supposed to go to the scale...??"

                        ADD: I didn't even know this rule was still in the book...Considering we need every boat racer we can get....Maybe...an appeal to the HIGHER UPS would be in order...

                        I remember Ted May getting beached for a year for running a gas tank on the steering bar...but he continued to race for 9 months before anyone knew he was beached...So, our club got Ted's entry fees......and he got to race...with his tank in the boat...He did sit out three months...

                        Thanks to all officials for their dedication to boat racing...
                        Last edited by Ron Hill; 03-25-2009, 10:02 AM.


                        • #13
                          Thanks, Ron,

                          I was trying to remember why this rule made it into the rule book and you jogged my memory...

                          Was'nt there also a father/son team or brother/brother team that would block for the other? One of the guys would run significantly underweight and just not go to inspection. Cant remember the details....

                          I dont like mandatory sentencing guidelines, zero tolerance policies, and strict interpretations of the rule book. All three tend to take common sense out of the process.

                          302SSH.....Putting the Stock back in Stock Outboard


                          • #14
                            This situation was handled correctly from start to finish by both sides. In this case the result was fair based on all the cir***stances. We should all get a little more familiar with the rulebook, it's the best way to prevent stuff like this from happening.
                            John Runne

                            Stock Outboard is all about a level playing field.

                            True parity is one motor per class.

                            It's RACING, not just another boat ride!

                            NOT a representative of Racing Outboards LLC.


                            • #15
                              And don't use big words.
                              Twisted Sister