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.
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.
- 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.