Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Court case (get it?)

Here's the situation. What do you think is fair?

The deadline to join our March Madness pool (by signing up and filling out a bracket) was last Thursday at noon. As of 10 a.m. a few people who had signed up still hadn't filled out their brackets. I called or emailed all of them to remind them they only had two more hours.

One of them, "L," thanked me for calling and immediately hung up to start working on her brackets. A few minutes later she called me back and our conversation went something like this:

L: OK, once my bracket is filled out, is that it? It's done?
Me: Yeah, if you saved it, you're good to go.
L: So that's it, it's final.
Me: Yes.
L: Oh. There was something I wanted to change, but if it's final, then OK.

(Until this point I thought we were having a conversation about whether she'd done everything she needed to do to be part of the pool.)

Me: Wait, what? I mean, yes your bracket is saved, but you can still make changes until noon.
L: OK, I have to go. (Distracted by kids in the background.)

The whole conversation lasted less than a minute and I didn't think about it again until the cookout Saturday night. That's when I happened to hear her tell someone that she had UNC winning, but meant to have Pittsburgh, but originally saved her bracket with UNC as the champion and after that it was too late to change it.

As soon as I heard that I realized that a) the miscommunication was partly or mostly my fault and b) Matt, as pool commissioner, has the power to change people's picks. So I stepped into the conversation:

Me: L, when you called to ask me about that, at first I thought you were just making sure you had done everything you needed to do to be entered in the pool. But remember, then I realized you were asking if you could still make changes, and I said you could until noon that day?
L: What? Nooo!
Me: Matt can still make changes even now. I'll tell him all this and see what he says.

So I explained ALL this to Matt. It's not a clear-cut case. Right now he's leaning against changing her pick, but he's still deliberating. His stance is, basically, that he believes she meant to have Pittsburgh, and he realizes she changed her mind before the brackets were closed, but unfortunately there was a miscommunication, she wound up with UNC, and now it is what it is.

I disagree, but I admit my judgment might be clouded because I feel responsible for the miscommunication.

Other considerations:

- Seventeen of the 30 people in our pool picked UNC to win it all. Only two picked Pittsburgh.
- One of the people who picked Pittsburgh is tied for first place in our pool right now.
- The other person who picked Pittsburgh is Matt. Right now he is tied for third, and L is tied for sixth. Although I (and L) know Matt well enough to know for sure this isn't affecting his decision, it still has the appearance of a conflict of interest.
- Everyone in our pool is going to notice if L changes her championship pick, and no one who hasn't heard the full story is likely to believe she had a legitimate case.

Is anyone still with me? What do you think? Should Matt, as all-powerful commissioner, exert his authority to change L's pick to Pittsburgh? Or should things stay as they are?

The longer this decision is delayed the more suspicious any change appears. It definitely needs to be settled one way or the other before the games start back up tomorrow.


Amanda said...

I say change it! UNC is going to win anyway, and then she'll be kicking herself :) Seriously though.

Ally said...

This is sort of tough.

Given that there is not a clear cut answer (b/c (1) you knew her pick before noon/she misunderstood but (2) she didn't follow the instructions and if you change for her that could set an undesirable precedent), I vote for sending this blog post via email to all pool participants and let them decide. They have until noon tomorrow to vote; if they don't vote by then, they forfeit their vote. Majority rules.

Next year I might add a disclaimer: No changes will be made to your bracket by the Commissioner. Please double-check your bracket to make sure that your choices reflect your desires, realizing that you can change your choices up until noon on X day but not after then.

Or something like that :)

A guy in our bracket failed to pick a winner!! He's told us all who he meant to pick, so I guess we'll give him the points if earned....but part of me thinks he doesn't deserve them for being so dumb. But we're not betting for $--only bragging rights. And I'm tied for first :)

Brie said...

Ok so this is slightly more intense than I originally thought. She wants to have Pittsburg winning the whole thing? That would not only be her changing her final game but also her final four game winner. AND I was even there for the cookout conversation about Matt being the "big commissioner" over the brackets. This is a difficult decision, which is why we leave our fate in the hands of "Matt –Oh Wise One".

Lauren Greaves said...

This needs to be voted upon asap. If it is not in my favor I will remove myself from the bracket no later than tomorrow. If will not let me remove myself from this group I will stay on the list but will not participate and therefore will not hand over $5 to the bracket pool.

Thank you Jenn! Sorry this made you cry...I owe you!