Should Tournament Directors Fish Their Own Tournaments?

Should Tournament Directors Fish

Anytime you get tournament directors from across the nation together and they start talking kayak fishing you get opinions. Lots of them. We have never been a group accused of being without input.

In a side conversation yesterday afternoon and then again at dinner last night the same topic came up: Should tournament directors fish their own tournaments?

Many sides to the argument exist but I think it’s important to talk about. Sometimes the voices of the competitors need to be heard and the discussion had on a larger scale. For the Kayak Bass Fishing events, the Tournament Director and judges do not fish which is why the arguments for TDs fishing was intriguing to me.

The argument for TDs being able to fish their own tournaments isn’t that hard on the surface. Many of them started a trail so there would be more available tournaments to fish locally. Tennessee has more than a half dozen trails for kayak fishing alone. Most of those are regionalized and most of them allow their TDs to fish.

If you have someone other than the Director judging his fish, that should be ok right?

As long as everyone feels it’s fair and on the up and up it should be good right?

Usually we aren’t talking about large sums of money but what if we were? Should that change the argument?

The argument against it asks a lot of the same questions but then answers them with another question or six.

If you have someone other than the Director judging his fish, that should be ok right? Yes but how do you handle disputes? In almost all of the bylaws the TD has the final say. How can he rule on his own dispute? And if he doesn’t hear the dispute himself, who do you appoint? And if someone else is appointed, shouldn’t everyone’s disputes be heard by the same person and not a different set of rules for the TD?

As long as everyone feels it’s fair and on the up and up it should be good right? Until someone doesn’t. What does the process look like if someone accuses a TD of cheating? Does he then have to pay for his own polygraph if he even agrees to take one?

Usually we aren’t talking about large sums of money but what if we were? Should that change the argument? Why is it different when more money is involved? What happens if your TD is winning a lot of your events? Where is the line?

And let’s dive into it even further. What if you are doing an online submission using TourneyX or iAngler? The TD has real time access to GPS locations of the fish that are submitted doesn’t he? If he’s fishing, wouldn’t he be able to relocate to where all the fish are being submitted?

Temptation is a great thing. Do we allow one person, the TD, the latitude to fish in their own tournaments? I am very interested in your thoughts because it seems the opinions are as bountiful as the stars. So let’s hear them.

Leave a comment here or on Facebook and let our thoughts be heard.

3 thoughts on “Should Tournament Directors Fish Their Own Tournaments?

  1. I offer these thoughts:

    Without TDs , there would be no tournaments. Nobody wakes up one day and says I am going to organize a tournament unless they love to fish. Further, there is generally little to no compensation for the TD role which requires a significant amount of 1) time; 2) patience with each participant who maybe has lots of questions, and 3) expenses to attend the events. As long as the TD has someone judge his/her fish and those of his/her immediate family, I have no problems with them paticipating. I usually see a group of three or more judging anyway so any probabilities of cheating are unlikely. On the TourneyX kind of ongoing tournaments, there are no guarantees anyone will catch fish any where, at any time, even if a TD decided to go the most productive location. And lastly, I always feel like the participating TD is still disadvantaged by having to “be there” for any tournament business that comes up during the fishing hours. It’s an endurance contest and the TD has to be twice as strong! Remember to thank your TD!

  2. TD’s fishing their own tourneys is easily a conflict of interests. My store has sponsored tournaments before and as such I did not participate even as a sponsor. All it takes is the appearance of impropriety to lose credibility. Any director participating in his own tournament is asking for trouble.

  3. When I ran 20 tournaments from 2009-2013, I always got on the water much later than anyone else and came off the water 2-2.5 hours before ending time. Additionally, I didn’t fish as hard as I would in tourneys that I didn’t run. I would spend more time on the water talking with my buddies, answering questions for newbies, or doing other things a good “host” would do. That being said, I won a few bucks in my tourneys but I always had other competitors (more than 1) judge my and my partner’s fish. Additionally, I would judge competitors photos with the competitor present and I would always make sure they agreed with how a fish was scored. My partner in organizing tourneys won a couple of the tournaments and he turned around and donated his winnings to HOW (our benefitting organization). All in all, I think our competitors didn’t mind that we were fishing because we were honest and we always tried to be as transparent as possible. We did have a couple of cheaters, that soured the experience for us TDs, but again, we were honest with the other competitors with what happened and we always made things right as far as prize $ being redistributed. I can see how larger tourneys with bigger payouts can bring out the skeptics and naysayers. I truly think that all of it depends on the transparency, honesty, and integrity of the guys who are running the show.

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