Fellow DFOA members:
It has come to our attention that two officials were inadvertently excluded from post season assignments due to inaccurate test data. We wanted to extend a formal apology to Tony Giardina and Kirk Russell on behalf of the DFOA. Tony and Kirk are long-time, veteran officials that have given a lot to DFOA and high school football in Colorado.
What Happened? Arbiter and CFOA data did not show passing scores for Tony G. or Kirk R. on the annual playoff exam, therefore, they were not considered for post-season assignments in 2019 per rule. To their credit, both had supporting evidence that clearly showed they successfully passed the exam. Unfortunately, Gold List nominations are submitted very early in the season and these two officials were excluded from consideration based on the test data we had. Since Tony announced his retirement this year, we are very remorseful this happened and he was not evaluated as a Gold candidate.
Why wasn’t this caught sooner? There are quite a few officials that did not qualify for post-season work for one reason or another. Until now, we have had no reason to question the validity of the test results and accepted it as “fact” (as we do every year). Since each official gets a copy of their score from Arbiter, we had taken for granted both Tony and Kirk knew of their non-passing grades. It would be impractical for the AD’s to independently verify each and every piece of data that goes into a playoff game decision. We simply do not have the resources to do that with 200+ registered members. It wasn’t until the list of playoff eligible officials was published on the website that Tony and Kirk reached out to us.
What is being done? The Area Directors have been in contact with the CFOA multiple times over the holiday weekend. We notified them of the error and provided supporting documentation for both cases. Kirk has been reinstated as a playoff eligible official and his omission was the result of a verified “clerical error” that has been corrected. However, Tony’s issue has not been resolved with certainty at this time. Tony has been recommended by DFOA for a 5A playoff game in week 3. Ultimately, CFOA and CHSAA will make the final decision on his eligibility due to conflicting information in Arbiter.
Can this happen again? After two years of testing issues we know there is VERY LITTLE confidence in the testing process and rightfully so. We have called several other officials this weekend, with failing scores, to validate the accuracy of the remaining data we have. In addition, we are already communicating with CFOA and will take a firm stance on significant reform for the testing process going forward. The AD’s have also taken steps to revise the DFOA playoff process and catch any discrepancies in data much earlier in the season. We know everyone has been frustrated with the test and now it appears the integrity of the results are also in question.
Please know, as Area Directors, we take our roles seriously…investing countless volunteer hours behind the scenes 11 months out of the year. For post-season eligibility, we spent well over three hours sorting through names, test data, meeting credits, etc. to make sure we got it right. However, when the data we receive is not accurate, it adversely impacts the process which happened here. While we deeply regret the consequences to Tony and Kirk, we had no reason to suspect the data was inaccurate. Lastly, we understand that trust is earned and not given. We want you to trust the DFOA leadership will make this right for Tony and Kirk, doing all within our power so this does not happen again.
A new list of eligible officials has been posted on the website. If there are any additional errors or concerns, please notify us immediately.
Joel Pogar, Area Director
Scott Lewis, Area Director
John Juranek, Area Director
Jeff Penney, Area Director
cc: John Conklin – AD Elect