So, what are you going to do about it, eh? One of the things I like about our sport is if you feel that a decision other than target scoring is not right or unfair the rules give you options. Per 9.6.6 once the Range Master rules on a target scoring dispute it is over. However, almost any other decision can be disputed.
What I am talking about is the dreaded big “A”, Arbitration. Remember the good ol’ boys who started our sport had a saying: “You can whine all you want, but if you want action, put up or shut up”. That is why in most cases an arbitration costs money.
So, you want to arbitrate the decision. What steps must you take to do this?
- You must file the arbitration within one hour of the incident. One of the nice things about Practiscore is it notes the time the scores are entered. If you exceed the 1-hour window the request will not be accepted.
- You must contact one of the range officers and inform him of your desire to arbitrate. He will immediately contact the Range Master. At most matches the RM will have a form, but there is not requirement it be filed on a form as long as the relevant information is included. See 11.1.6.
- You must cite the rule or rules you feel have been misapplied or violated, or that support your case. Failure to cite a rule will immediately cause the RM to return the form as incomplete. You are allowed to resubmit the appeal as long as the time limit has not expired.
- You cannot appeal a course of fire as unsafe or unfair once you have shot it. There is a bit of wiggle room with this rule in that if the course of fire was changed for safety for example, you can appeal unless you were disqualified. If, however, you were disqualified the ability to appeal is no longer available.
- Make sure you list any staff and witnesses you have who can discuss what was said and done. It is important in many cases to get as many viewpoints as possible. However, if they did not see anything then don’t list them.
- If the appeal is based on the number of procedurals issued remember that, especially in faulting situations, there is no such thing as let’s make a deal. Make sure you read the relevant rules and understand the concepts of significant advantage.
- Finally, make sure you get the appeal and the money to the RM before the one hour time limit expires. There have been some cases where an incident occurred right at the end of the day or were found after scores were posted for the day where the clock stopped overnight. These incidents will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
A quick note about appeals of disqualifications: In most cases, they are not accepted by the Range Master unless you can show in your appeal an “exceptional circumstance” the reconsideration of the disqualification may be barred. You cannot challenge the actual commission of the infraction as described by the range officer. Also, no photographic or video evidence can be used in the appeals process.
Once you get the appeal and the fee ($100 US or the entry fee, whichever is less, cash) to the Range Master, then he will forward the information to the Match Director, who will convene an arbitration committee. Expect to be called before the committee for your side of the story once the committee is appointed. This is your “day in court” so to speak. Make your best case, but make sure it is based on the rules, not because you think it is unfair.
The committee will make their decision after talking with everybody and maybe even looking over the stage if that is relevant and then inform the MD. The committee will call you back and inform you of their decision. If you win, you get your money back. If you lose the money is supposed to be forwarded to NROI along with the written decision. (DNROI note: USPSA does not deal with cash any more, and have decided the fee, if the appellant loses, should remain with the match. We still want a copy of the arbitration, though, for teaching purposes.) The decision is not retroactive and only applies to the match going forward if that is relevant.
So, you thought you should only get one procedural for that foot fault under 10.2.1 and you got one per shot fired. The committee might or might not agree with you, but sometimes even their hands are tied.
But that is another article!
See you on the range.