Edited transcript for NAFA® Leadership Chat February 8, 2006

Lee_Heighton Hello everyone
Sam_Ford Good evening to everyone that has joined
Paul_Ferlitto Thanks to the BoD for getting us 5 new light systems on order. Any idea on an ETA?
Lee_Heighton Scott Stein advised that we are supposed to receive all 5 within 6 weeks
dgsmith 3-4 weeks for the first three and another couple weeks for the other two
Sam_Ford Paul, I saw a note that says three are ready at this time and the last two will take 5 or 6 weeks. We are really trying to make the middle of April which begins our busy season
Paul_Ferlitto Thanks again for all that you are doing.....
Barb.Skalka_BirminghamBandits Are there were plans to have a set of lights in each region.
Sam_Ford There are plans to review the needs of each region but it isn't practical for lights to sit in every region. We will try and put lights in places of highest use
Barb.Skalka_BirminghamBandits I was thinking particularly about the cost of shipping and the wear and tear on the units
Sam_Ford You are correct that those are issues we will be looking at but we will also be looking at the number of two ring tournaments. Along with that we will be looking for people in regions that can store lights and carry them to tournaments.
dgsmith In a related question: Paul_Ferlitto> How about a set being shared between region 11 and 14?
Sam_Ford As I said we are looking into the use of lights but until we get these additional sets we don't have enough to put lights in any particular place. We need these lights plus some of the sets already in use to be able to properly station lights.
dgsmith Also a related question: Cindy_Weston_Whirlwinds> I have a follow-up question regarding the lights. I was wondering if each region will have an equal opportunity to use the new lights
Sam_Ford Yes all regions will have equal access to lights. But let me be clear that we are talking lights....not necessarily a particular set of lights.
Lee_Heighton We are working on buying new systems as quickly as possible, so that they are available for every tournament. We just aren't quite there yet.
dgsmith OK, moving on to a slightly related question: fluna> what are the plans for the old Hughes lights
Sam_Ford We will be reviewing the repairs that are necessary and see if it makes sense. At this time we are in the process of weeding out the sets that don't work and replacing them with the new SG lights.
dgsmith OK, moving off the EJS systems (at least for the time being): Dede-RTH> There’s nothing in the Rule Book about expanding (or not) a limited tournament after it has closed. I asked on the flyballdogs list, and it seems that when expansion has been allowed, it has been to allow all entries in a class. I’d like to know if there’s any reason why a host club couldn’t get approval to expand in order to allow one team from every club to get in a class, as long as the host club made the request before the draw? If the host club is willing to accommodate an extra team or two, why not let everybody get a team in?
Sam_Ford There are no additional teams being allowed to enter a Limited tournament after it closes. Closing is just that closing. Maybe in the past that wasn't applied but it is now. If you want 25 teams in your limited tournament then sanction 25. If 20 then 20 but that is the final number.
Dede-RTH OK, I knew it was allowed in the past so didn't understand why it's not allowed now. And I'm speaking not as someone hosting the tournament, but as someone who got shut out (and the host club requested being allowed to expand.) Thanks.
Sam_Ford Sorry I don't think it is fair to those teams that make decisions about entering based upon sanctioning request. I think we should make sanction a contract and stick to it
dgsmith Moving on: Cindy_Weston_Whirlwinds> I have a question regarding the NAFA News
Cindy_Weston_Whirlwinds I was just wondering if we will be seeing a NAFA news soon since it has been a while
Sam_Ford NAFA News is struggling to change from a paper publication to an online version. We hope it will aid publishing and make the format easier for us to handle and get out.
Cindy_Weston_Whirlwinds Makes sense. While I have the floor for a second just want to say Kudos to Lisa and everyone else involved in the new website - looks great and I am all for having the News online. Thanks!
Sam_Ford Lisa has been working hard to get a useful site and she has done an excellent job but we need everyone’s help in making it better
Lee_Heighton She is doing a great job, and is still looking for ideas to make it better
Sam_Ford People's suggestions can help us make it more user friendly and please everyone make suggestions and we will do our best to continue to improve.
dgsmith Moving to our next item: Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity> I do have a question about Safety. I just was reading a clean run Mag and they have a survey that they are doing. I think that a survey on injuries for both handler and dogs would be wise to start gathering some data.
Lee_Heighton Usually data is gathered for a specific reason. What did you have in mind
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity As flyball grows, I think it would be wise to see how and when injuries happen (.i.e. run distance, weather....)
Sam_Ford I like the idea and we might consider making this part of the tournament information that is sent in.
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity Or a data entry form on the web site?
Sam_Ford That would work too. Do you have in mind gathering information based upon tournaments or dogs playing flyball?
Lee_Heighton That may work better as the extent of some injuries might not be known by the time that the Tournament Director sends in their report
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity Both, the more information we gather the better we can query the data for stats.
Sam_Ford The TD submitted info will fall under Lee's jurisdiction as he will need to change the forms. I'll work with Lisa to accomplish the web entries
dgsmith Cindy_Weston_Whirlwinds> On this topic - suggestion would be to design a data entry form with standard pick lists so the data is entered in the same fashion and can then be easily analyzed
dgsmith Jumping over to our next question: Sage_TNG> Question about the Cynosport games... Since the championship tournament is only open to certain teams, will NAFA points be awarded for dogs racing in the Cynosport tournament?
Sam_Ford Yes it is the intent to have all the runs count as normal tournaments.
Sage_TNG Even though the tournament is not open to all teams (only open to the regional champions and fastest teams)?
Sam_Ford Yes. But actually this tournament will be open to any team on Friday and will fill to its limit differently than other limited tournaments. Instead of a draw we will be entering the fastest teams that wish to join
Lee_Heighton Depending on the number of entries for Friday, there is a good chance that all teams entered will be playing. We are still working out the final numbers
Cindy_Weston_Whirlwinds How will the fastest teams be determined - by their indicated seed time or by the fastest time they have actually run during the year?
Sam_Ford On Friday it is proposed to be seeded based upon the fastest time run in the 2006 NAFA year for that team. On Saturday and Sunday it will be seeded by the fastest time actually run during racing that weekend.
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity For the team or Club?
Sam_Ford Team
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity So a club can have multiple entries?
Sam_Ford Yes
Sam_Ford A team could have multi Regional Champions for that matter. Multibreed Champions and Regular Champions may enter
Sage_TNG That seems awfully unfair. So one fast club can enter 4 teams in the Friday championship tournament and shut out three other clubs that might have wanted to enter but whose best time was not as fast?
Sam_Ford That is where this tournament is a special event unlike all the other tournaments we hold all during the year. In each racing format there are fairness issues. This is just the way this tournament will be held.
Sage_TNG So the whole tournament could fill if just a couple of the faster clubs decided to send multiple teams each.
Sam_Ford I don't think that this tournament will have that issue. I know of very few Clubs that have 50 plus teams
Lee_Heighton Regional Champions will have a bye into the Saturday tournament. This should open up additional slots on Friday. Again, the cap for Friday hasn't even been determined yet
dgsmith Our next question is back to EJS for a moment: Dave_PP> Sorry for the late question but with the SG lights, what happens if there is a heat stopped for whatever reason and the heat has to restart with one team with a false or in Vets where there are no false starts, is there a way the new lights can do this
dgsmith And this is probably mine to answer
dgsmith Recently there was a rule clarification that avoids the restarted heats with false starts pending. If a heat is restarted, it is restarted from the beginning. So we don't have the issue of pending false starts very often if at all.
dgsmith For vets, this was recently discussed on the judges list. There are really two answers. Right now you can start the lights and break both beams to simulate a double false start and get the pending reds or you can use a key sequence on the console. The next release of software for the console will provide a much easier console option to get the pending false starts needed for vets. We also have to realize that sometimes vets races are interleaved with other types of racing
dgsmith Next question: bandit> When the decision was made by NAFA that when division 1 has less than 3 teams they will race division 2 teams. My question is why do division 2 teams have breakouts against division 1. As we know most dogs run faster when racing faster dogs. The decision to combine divisions is made after seeds have been submitted it might be great for division 1 teams to run teams 3 sec slower than them but not so great for division 2. At least if there was no breakout you could move some dogs to at least have a shot.
Sam_Ford But isn't your seed time the fastest your team can run? By what you are saying your seed time isn't the fastest time but less than that.
bandit Clubs through out place dogs on several teams so they can get there points
Sam_Ford If I have entered correctly then my seed time is the fastest my team can go against other teams that have entered their fastest. I have a second to improve and that is a big improvement. If I didn't get within a second of my fastest time that is when the BO rule applies
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity But teams seed to win divisions sometimes.
bandit not so true dogs run faster when racing faster dogs
Lee_Heighton Other people in your division might call that "sandbagging"
Sam_Ford Not according to the rules. According to the rules they are seeding for their fastest time.
bandit then what you are saying is that a 3 sec difference is far
fluna when you combine div are you still not really racing and placing in your div and the other races are more as fill ins and for points
Sam_Ford No not as long as they count for placement. If I am in Division 2 and win, which I have done, it betters my placement in my division and lessens their placement in their division
Lee_Heighton Bandit, when they combine divisions in your area, don't they break them back apart for placements
Sam_Ford I don't see that as just point racing
bandit not when division 1 has such a large margin they can run green dogs etc with a 3 sec difference then if they have a dropped ball bad pass division 2 teams gain points
bandit this changes the out come of the division 2 standings
Karen_Gateway Would you prefer to group Div 1 and Div 2 together into 1 division with a seedtime spread of 3+ seconds?
Lee_Heighton I'm open for suggestions of what you would recommend when you have very small divisions due to seed times
Jane_ya_me Reversely Bandit...Div 1 teams sure don't want to hand wins over to Div 2 teams - it affects their placements to do that as well
bandit That is not our decision it falls in the hands of the RDs after the seeds have gone in. then we don't have a choice
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity I agree with Bandit. A division 2 team might face the regular dogs and another division Unless you’re a team from out of region in Div 1
Sam_Ford Sorry but the RDs don't have the ability to go around the rule book. The rule book clearly states that we must combine divisions. If it is division 1 then they must be combined with division 2. Here is where if you have a better idea please submit it to the BOD for consideration. The way this rule came into being was that someone had an idea this was the best way to handle this situation. And that person convinced others and it became a rule. To change it will require similar inspiration
bandit With only 3 teams in div 1 they are going to place anyway. some times 2of the 3 teams belong to the same club.
dgsmith And for our next contestant: tammy.bonas> This is a rule clarification. In between heats, while the team is getting reset to run again and prior to the judge singling the start of the heat, a dog gets loose from its handler, for whatever reason, and runs down to the box and back. Is this a penalty? If it's a penalty, what is the penalty? Thanks!
scott A single instance of a dog getting loose would not normally be called as a penalty. Repeated instances may be called as 'training in the ring'
tammy.bonas Repeated instances of the same dog? Or same team? Or same club?
scott Of a single club. This is a judges discretion call, but I normally warn a team on the second instance
tammy.bonas So if it’s called "training in the ring" then what is the penalty?
scott At what point during the heat does the infraction occur?
tammy.bonas While dogs are being reset. well before the judge asking for the "ok's" to start. actually one time it was while a dog was on a down-stay while jumps were being reset. Other was just while folks are fumbling around getting reset.
scott Different circumstance. that falls under a handler not having control of their dog
tammy.bonas Going back to the original question. What should the penalty be, for the second or third offense?
scott That is up to the judge. A judge could conceivably excuse a dog for safety issues if the handler refuses to control the dog. That is an extreme circumstance but not out of the question
tammy.bonas I'm just talking a one time deal for one dog -
scott My statement is that this is judge’s discretion. I tend to warn handlers. I have yet to have a handler not heed my warning, so I haven't had to go any farther
Sam_Ford A judge is in a position based upon your description to evaluate the situation and apply judgment. He may see it as a simple oops and do nothing. He may see it as a systemic problem and issue a warning. He may even decide that it has risen to an issue and award a heat. Or the ultimate. Excuse the dog as a safety issue. This is why we have judges. To be there. be aware and make the best possible call under the circumstance
dgsmith And with our next topic: Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity> Just a thought on the fees. Since some tournaments are (2) 1 days and then you have (1) 2 day tournament. NAFA should charge more for the (1) 2 day tournament since they are making less money but the dogs are running the same number of races over two days.
Lee_Heighton Zac, NAFA has been careful to not influence the decision a Club makes on which format to use. Usually, this is a regional preference. If the fee format changes it could influence a host Club's decision
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity Lee, but with NAFA making just enough money to stay in the black today and with the possible loss of revenue due to U-FLI the just enough could turn to red instead of black.
barbaraFAX But Zac, the host club is taking in less money on the 1 tourney than on the 2 tourneys, so why should they need to pay more in fees??
barbaraFAX Do tourney fees need to increase??
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity That is a question of demographics. Some areas can afford the increase, other areas might not.
Sam_Ford It is in NAFA’s best interest to keep racing fees to a bare minimum. Your suggestion has merit if we were in the position where our funds were being reduced but we are not there and therefore we haven't felt the need to do drastic things to the fee structure.
barbaraFAX but the NAFA fees have to be the same across the board
Lee_Heighton I think that fees are fine for now. We are looking into ways to operate more efficiently instead of raising fees.
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity We have to look at NAFA as a business. Projection of teams that have moved to U-FLI and are not hosting tournaments in NAFA. Are there other teams that will fill the date?
Lee_Heighton I agree with Barbara that fees need to be uniform for everyone
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity What happens when the income does not meet expenses?
Lee_Heighton Zac, it would be better to look at the true statistics and not make any decisions on speculation
Zac_Bordering_On_Insanity I agree. Just putting out ideas
dgsmith OK moving on to a simple and non-controversial question: Jane_ya_me> Sam...can you tell us your thoughts and reasoning for your preference for realigning regions 6/16
Sam_Ford Well, Jane, I don't have a preference on realigning 6/16. Simply put, I have had loads of input and suggestions out of those areas and I think it is time to review and see where we need to be based upon the opinions and ideas of those that race within that area. I opened this for comment because I want everyone to have their say without regard to a proposal so we aren't commenting about one idea on the table.
Jane_ya_me Oopsie...guess I better get my thoughts into you??
Sam_Ford Jane I have to say I think you already have.....
Jane_ya_me we did talk in March at the board meeting....my feelings are pretty much the same...for the record
Sam_Ford Thanks. These regions have already undergone a change with Colorado and New Mexico moving together in 19. Before we "impose" something on you folks I want to hear what you all think....so get the word out I am all ears.
Jane_ya_me thanks Sam
dgsmith With no other questions pending, I'd like to give Lee and Sam a chance for any closing remarks - its been almost two hours - not too bad
Sam_Ford My closing remarks are that we have made improvements lately and we still have others to work on. New lights and working on reducing shipping cost. New opportunities to showcase NAFA flyball are all positives. With the help of everyone we will be moving on with new and better ideas in the future.
Lee_Heighton I want to thank everyone for offering their input. We have made some pretty substantial changes over the last couple of years and are always looking for ways to improve our sport. Please keep up the suggestions and feel free to contact us at any time.
Sam_Ford Thank you for chatting with us and please feel free to contact us with your ideas.
dgsmith Thank you all for coming this evening. A transcript will be up on the website soon for your reference. I'll re-open the chat room for anyone to speak.