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Following is a proposal submitted to NAFA by flyball competitor Christine VanWert regarding "Divisional Championships". The Board of Directors would like to solicit ideas on how this might be implemented fairly and meaningfully. To be clear – we are soliciting your input on the proposal, not looking to know who would be for or against such an idea at this time.

Please send your feedback to flyball@flyball.org

Dear Sirs and Madam:

I have an idea concerning "how" to expand awarding "Regional Champions" status to more Teams and recognizing the hard work and achievement in training that all Teams in all Divisions deserve.

Under the current system of awards, generally only the Clubs that are able to field a team to compete in Division 1 can ever hope to become "Regional Champions". That "Division" enjoys the special privilege of being "exempt" from the Breakout rule and may allow a team to set a "World Record" Officially recognized by NAFA® if all it's requirements and criteria are met. ….but, only a very small portion of the Flyball community competes on that level. I propose the Board explores ways it can bestow "Championship" status upon any team at any and ALL levels of competition.

It will be necessary to amend the section of the Rules of Racing that governs Regional Champions. I propose that the Board consider adding language that recognizes different levels of competition. Since each tournament breaks down its "Divisions" according to the number of entries it receives just for that event and taking into consideration the "seed times" that are submitted for the teams that enter to determine which team will compete in which "Division", I propose that NAFA™ use the same information and criteria to determine how to group Teams and Clubs to qualify for Championships at all levels.

As an example, the highest level which would contain the fastest Teams could be designated as "World Class" level. The criteria for competing for Regional Champion World Class would/could be all teams seeded in the top 25% of all teams competing in all Regions.

The next "level" could be designated something (anything) like "Grand Master" level. The criteria could be determined by something like the next 25% of all teams seeded below World Class level. The next two levels would again be divided according to the seed times as determined by the NAFA™ Database and determined by the percentages of teams competing at those seed times. As a suggestion, the next two levels could be designated as "Master" and "Junior" level, which would include all the remaining teams. Of course, these designations are only suggestions and, the Board would not be limited to only four Divisions. I think its possible to accommodate 5 levels of competition for the purpose of naming "Regional Champions" for that level (or "division").

I would leave it to the Board's discretion and wisdom whether or not to use the seeding information based on individual "teams" or the separate seeding data available by "Club". Considering the information that is currently available, the seed times for the various levels I have suggested (based on seed times by "Club" only) is as follows:

Division Criteria Seed Times Number of Clubs
World Class Top 25% 18.14 or faster 92
Grand Master Next 25% 18.15 - 19.81 92
Master Next 25% 19.82 - 21.10 89
Junior Bottom 25% up to 21.11 91

As you can see, this means most Regions have representation at all levels of at least 4 Clubs. The seed times of the Grand Master Division are even rather tight so, I believe Clubs competing at that level would find the possibility of winning a "Championship" very exciting. By basing the Divisions according to percentages of all active Clubs, it is possible to keep the playing fields somewhat level for everybody. (i.e., those who compete on the Master level are competing against the same approximate number of Clubs as those on the World Class level).

Yes, doing it this way will mean that the cutoff points for seed times comprising the Divisions will have to be re-computed each racing season based upon last year's data. However, I believe there are many sports who have to re-compute the championship requirements based on the previous year's competition results.

Yes, some Regions may have some levels go un-awarded because they do not have a team qualify in their Region at that level. Not unlike now where some Regions have NEVER had a "Multi-breed Regional Champion" simply because no one in that Region has qualified for the Multi-breed Regional Champion. The spot would simply remain unfilled.

There may be some concerns over some "Top Clubs" wanting it all and fielding teams just to win "Championships" at all levels. That's fine. Then, they may be interested in the "slower" dogs competing with and on their Clubs. ….and, Teams that "Breakout" of their Divisions would also lose Regional Points for their level as well as Tournament points and prizes.

I see this proposal as a win/win idea all across the board.

If my method for determining different levels (Divisions) is unworkable in the Board's opinion, then I challenge the Board to answer these questions:

  • "Is there a way to confer "Championship" status upon Clubs/Teams that compete in all Divisions?
  • "Is there a way to recognize the strategy, skill and achievement for Teams/Clubs that compete in the Breakout Rule divisions?"

Flyballers are competitors by nature. We all want to be "Champions". We all want to win. That is the underlying motivation to earn points towards "titles" on individual dogs, isn't it?

If there was a way for any team competing in any division to earn a "Championship", it would create interest and excitement in flyball that has not been seen since the creation of NAFA® itself. I make this proposal in the sincere desire to see NAFA® and flyball grow. Please, give this idea a great deal of thought and consideration.


Christine E VanWert
Wooferines Flyball Club #455 in Region 1

Please send your feedback to flyball@flyball.org

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