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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Business Law
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Experience:  All corporate law, including non-profits and charitable fraternal organizations.
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Hi, I have an issue with sports activities in South Florida

Customer Question

Hi,
I have an issue with sports activities in South Florida against a particular sports (cricket) organization.
I am sure if this is an area of your expertise.
The issue have to do with how this organization is doing business. Recently, my team had an issue against another team that we were playing. I objected to those issues to the disciplinary committee. That hearing was not conducted in a proper manner and subsequently, I was suspended and fined, incorrectly in my opinion. I appealed the matter and again issue were brought that were not related to the issues at hand and the disciplinary decision was upheld. I have now decided to seek other justice and want to know where I stand from a legal standpoint.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Business Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

You say that the hearing was not conducted in a proper manner, what do the organizations bylaws state regarding hearings and were they held in accordance with those bylaws. Please explain the issue with the hearings and whether or not the organization is following its rules and bylaws?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Here is a copy of by laws relating to disciplinary issues:

Article 13.0Disciplinary Guidelines Exemplary behavior and sportsmanship must be exhibited by all players and members at all games. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. The following penalties shall apply to the respective infractions:

1. Physical Assault on an Umpire – Automatic expulsion from the SFSCF

2. Physical Assault on a Member of any of the Committees – Two (2) years suspension and possible expulsion from the SFSCA

3. Physical Assault on a Player – One (1) year suspension and possible expulsion from the SFSCA

4. Verbal abuse of an umpire or of a member of any of the Committees – Fine of $100.00

5. Verbal abuse of another player – Fine of $100.00 6. Deliberate act of knocking down the wicket or throwing the ball – Two (2) games suspension

7. Any act or behavior that brings disrepute to the SFSCA or cricket – Four (4) games suspension

8. Any Captain failing to perform his duty – First offence one (1) game suspension. – Second offence two (2) games suspension and no longer allowed to captain any team

9. Team using unregistered players, player under a different name or suspended player – That team will forfeit the match and also be fined an amount to be determined by the Disciplinary Committee

10. Failure to send in Score Sheet

- The deadline for submitting score sheets is Friday midnight or five (5) days after the match has been completed.

- Teams will be penalized one (1) point from their accumulated winning total for each score sheet not received on time along with a twenty-five ($25) fine.

- When no winning points are accumulated, points total shall be in arrears.

- All fines shall be paid before any team can continue playing.

- When fines aren't paid, all matches scheduled will result in forfeiture.

11. Players failing their responsibility as umpires – Any player selected as an Umpire for his team/SFSCA-UA shall attend all training sessions

- Sufficient notice shall be provided and must accommodate individual's schedule.

- Players failing to attend shall result in the team being fined.

 

Article 14.0 - Complaints and Protests
1. A complaint to the Disciplinary Committee must be filed in writing or emailed (XXXXX@XXXXXX.XXX) within three (3) business days of the occurrence and issued a receipt of the filing fee of twenty-five dollars ($25.00).
2. Relevant information that must be provided in the complaint: date and venue of the occurrence, teams involved, nature of the infraction(s), correct names of players involved and any witnesses, if any.
3. The complaint will be reviewed by the Disciplinary Committee at its next scheduled meeting or sooner depending on the severity.
4. The Disciplinary Committee may, at its discretion, call upon the captain(s) and/or the player(s) involved and/or the witnesses to give account of the incident.
5. Within three (3) days of these meetings, but not later than five (5) days fromsubmittal of the complaint, the Committee shall issue its written recommendation to the captain(s) of the player(s) being penalized.

 

 

The issue is, I wrote up and filed an official complaint identifying 8 issues to the League, paid a protest fee of $50. According to standard practice, the opposing team was supposed to respond in writing to those issues. Well they never did. So at the Disciplinary hearing they were allowed to critique every one of those issues. I addition, they had 9 team members appeared to 4 of ours (whereby you were only suppose to bring supporting evidence that were directly related to the matter at hand). We spoke for about 15 minutes as we were asked to summaries our complaint while they spoke for appx. 90 minutes...everyone of their supporting cast was allowed to speak.

 

In addition, they were allowed to bring up other issues than were not directly related to the issues that I initially complained about. They brought up issues about our team (which were all fabricated to 'muddy the water') because they didn't had any issue with us, but to create a situation, they brought up bunch of lies to make a case for themselves. The question is, is this allowed? can you bring up other issues that had no bearing to what was initially brought up against someone? Isn't this prohibited in the court of law?

 

Subsequently because of the overwhelming turn out on their part, and the amount of time given to hear the entire 9 speak, it seems as though the case we brought up was "null" and void and the issue they brought up became paramount and as a result, I was fined and suspended. Which is entirely wrong in my opinion because, first what they claimed never happened, secondly their issues should never have become the focus and thirdly, this team has had a history of disciplinary actions against but none was taken into consideration while my team never was called before for a disciplinary hearing.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for the information you provided.

These amateur sports associations are governed by the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, which states that each association must follow their bylaws and rules of their association when handling violations of rules and disciplinary actions. Thus, the question becomes in your case was whether or not the disciplinary board violated any bylaws or rules in how your hearing was conducted, which from reading the two rules you provided it does not appear that they address the conducting of a hearing.

The second major issue here, is if they do not address the way a hearing is to be conducted, then they follow the administrative guidelines on hearings. Administrative hearings are very loose and allow introduction of hearsay evidence and testimony is taken very informally. The problem with an administrative hearing, the courts are rarely able to overturn them because of the restrictions placed on courts regarding overturning administrative decisions. In FL, findings of fact "are conclusive if . . . supported by 'substantial evidence'[.]" Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th Cir. 2001) (citing Falge v. Apfel, 150 F.3d 1320, 1322 (11th Cir. 1998)). "Substantial evidence is something 'more than a mere scintilla, but less than a preponderance.'" Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting Hale v. Bowen, 831 F.2d 1007, 1011 (11th Cir. 1987)). The substantial evidence standard is met when there is "'such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Falge, 150 F.3d at 1322 (quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). It is not for this Court to reweigh the evidence; rather, the entire record is reviewed to determine whether "the decision reached is reasonable and supported by substantial evidence." Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145 (11th Cir. 1991) (internal quotation and citations omitted); see also McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir. 1988); Walker v. Bowen, 826 F.2d 996, 999 (11th Cir. 1987). The decision reached by the Commissioner must be affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence-even if the evidence preponderates against the Commissioner's findings. Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158-59 (11th Cir. 2004) (per curiam).

Thus, the court cannot vacate such a decision of the association if there is evidence supporting their findings, unless you prove they were obtained by fraud or against the law. This is the burden required of you to meet to file suit in court to vacate the disciplinary board determination against you.



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Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The basic question that I am still struggling with though, even after your reference to hearsay evidence and so forth, if I am bringing a case regarding for instance the complaint below, shouldn't it be that any evidence presented to defend these issues ought to be RELEVANT and other issues of any potential violations on my part be negated? And even so, if the other team did had any issues with me, shouldn't they also had to file those claims according within the guidelines established?


 


April 14th, 2013


Warriors Vs. D'Diamond


Location - 199 North


 


Today, I witnessed one of the most deplorable umpiring ever by one - Anil Jangellie, in the game between Warriors and D'Diamond CC.


 


Here are the series of events:


1) Toss spun at 12:20 PM - toss won by D'Diamond CC


 


2) 12:30 PM, Diamond gave me their team list and at that time their captain - Kumar Arjune asked what we are going to do for umpires. I said to him, you put your two umpires’ when you are batting and we will put ours when we are batting. He agreed (witnessed by Manny Husain – Warriors manager). D'Diamond decided to bat first.


 


3) 12:35 PM Warriors took the field as I took our team list over to Kumar. He accepted the list and then told me he is deducting 2 overs. I asked him how did he arrived at the two overs, it is now 12:38 pm. He stated that we didn't start yet and that by the time we start it will be 12:40pm. I walked over to Manny and told him what Kumar stated and we agreed with the 2 over deduction to be implemented when Warriors bat.


 


4) At half time we had D'Diamond reeling at 60 for 7 with all their topline batsmen already out


 


5) Warriors, was the major underdogs, and we shock them by bowling them out for 94.


 


6) When D’Diamond took the field, Manny and Neil - two very proficient umpires were going to umpire for Warriors, and at that time Kumar stated that the was going to send one of his own umpire, Anil Jangellie, the same umpire that umpired when they batted. He wasn’t a player in the match. In the best interest of the game, Warriors did not object and so, the two umpires Neil and Anil alternated after each over.


 


Issue Number 1:


With Jay Mahadeo batting, Sadiek Hanif the non-striker and Ricky Sriram bowling. Ricky Sirram bowled a rooter down the leg side. The ball did not leave the ground all the way to the keeper. Jay Mahadeo swung at the ball backwards, the ball got a bottom edge but continued on the ground towards the keeper (XXX XXXXX). When Jay swung at the ball the ball did not deviate, it continued all the same line as delivered by the bowler. The ball was fielded by the keeper not at catch but as ground ball. An appeal went up (D’Diamond appealed at every possible opportunity) and immediately the umpire, Anil raised his finger even though he could not see the play cleanly because the batsman in the stride obstructed his view. There was a delay, Anil realizing that he made a mistake came over to the square leg umpire to asked his view of the play (something that he should have done first), Neil the square leg umpire told Anil, that the ball did not carry to the keeper. Yet Anil disagrees and kept saying the ball hit my shoe. Now imagine this for a second, if I swung backwards that means to ball already passed my shoe how is possible for the ball to hit my shoe after it passes it. Which is also the reason why the umpire could not have seen the play cleanly in order to make the correct decision and that case should have consulted the square leg umpire. Which he did subconsciously after and was told point blank that the ball did not carry to the keeper.


 


Issue Number 2:


With Sachin bowling and Sadiek batting, the ball bounced over the batsman’s shoulder, clearly not a wide as it passed within the lines. Manny (who had replaced Neil) signaled "no ball". The ruling umpire again – Anil, signaled "wide" instead.


 


Issue Number 3:


With Sadick batting and Anil umpiring, Sadiek drove at a ball the umpire claimed he did not see a nick but he heard something and gave Sadiek out "caught behind"


 


At this time, I went on to the field to ask Kumar to talk with Anil. Kumar came over reluctantly. I asked Kumar if Anil is a registered umpire. He said yes. I asked him if he knows the rules, the captain said "yes". I then asked Kumar to replace Anil. He asked why, and I stated that he has been making some bad calls outlined what those bad calls were. At that time Kumar refused to have his umpire, Anil replaced.


 


Issue Number 4:


Several of the Warriors batman complained that D’Diamond’s umpire, Anil was allowing D’Diamond players to talk on the field during play. Yet, Anil never called a "dead" ball. In fact, Sachin would come up to bowl and say "watch this, watch this". Yet the umpire did nothing to stop it.


 


Issue Number 5:


Neil - non-striker, XXXXX XXXX – striker, and Kamal Rahaman – bowler. Neil noticed that D'Diamond had a six (6) three (3) field - 6 one the leg, 3 on the off. Peter hit the ball for a 6. Neil then turned to the umpire - Anil and asked why that isn’t a "no ball", Anil said it wasn't. Then Neil showed him the field positioning then he agreed and signaled "no ball" with of course D’Diamond complaining.


 


Issue Number 6:


In that same over, with Neil batting. Neil hit the ball in the air towards deep long-on. The trajectory of the ball was going over the boundary. The fieldsman - Kem Persaud ran towards to ball and with outstretched hand, caught the ball but by that time he was already in the boundary. Ken continued his stride outside the boundary and at the same time threw the ball to one of this team mates. Manny saw the play all way and went out to the boundary where the ball was caught and explained to the ruling umpire, Anil what he saw. After a long discussion, greater than 5 minutes, Anil then came back to his spot and ruled the batsman (Neil) out.


 


Issue Number 7:


Manny umpiring, again D'Diamond had a 6 - 3 field with the back-stopper directly behind the wicket keeper. Manny warned D'Diamond team twice and on the third occasion, Manny called "no ball", the entire D’Diamond team rushed Manny, including the man behind the keeper (D'Diamond #10 batsman (don't know his correct name), swearing and cursing on the field "No F*****ing way"


 


Issue Number 8:


D’Diamond’s umpire, Anil, his umpiring was conducted under the influence of Alcohol. He was observed drinking before the game, during the D’Diamond innings when they batted, after D’diamond innings was completed, between innings break before Warriors went in to bat, and at the end of the first half of Warriors innings. We saw this because both teams were sitting in the same area.


 


Conclusion:


In my opinion, D'Diamond knew there was no possible way they could have won this game without CHEATING. Warriors shocked them and then they decided to take matters into their own hands. It was one of the most blatant cheating by an umpire that I have ever seen. Calling 3 batsman out when they are clearly not out, calling "wide" when it's a "no ball", not calling "no ball" when a team has implied a 6-3 field, not calling "dead ball" when fielding players are talking on the field is a clear and is a concise depiction of someone who was pre-mediated to cheat for his team and the fact that this umpire deliberately ignore simple basics of cricket rules and how it should be applied during a game is atrocious.


 


In addition, the fact that I had a verbal agreement with D’Diamond’s captain Kumar Arjune on how we were going to handle the umpiring - his when they are batting, ours when we are batting and then when it is time to execute this agreement, he gets a brain aneurism, claiming he doesn't remember me telling him that; this was a plan to cheat their way to victory. Manny witnessed this agreement between Kumar and me when Kumar handed over D'Diamond's team list.


 


Furthermore, after several mishaps with their umpire, Anil and Warriors requesting that he be replaced/remove and Kumar refusing to abide by this request proves a telling story.


 


In closure, I’m appealing to the DC members, what is a team supposed to do when they get screwed over, one decision after another; are they to keep playing or walk off. If you walk off then you lose your right to protest. How is this fair? This is the first time (in years) since I have been a part of Warriors CC that we are protesting a game. I would be the first one to understand how difficult it is to be an umpire sometimes, but when you have the ability to consult with another highly proficient umpire (at square leg) who gave a completely different account of what the play actually was. It brings a lot the despicable actions to the fore front of those who committed it.


 


It crossed my mind several times in this game to walk off the field, but in my true nature I would never give up a game freely to an opponent. With all the obstacles we faced in this game and despite all the bad calls we were still persevering to win this game but every time we seem to be set along that path, it was taken away from us with another brutal umpire call.

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

I understand your complaint and the board should have addressed everything in your complaint. If the other team did not make their complaints against you within the 3 days provided for in the rules, then this is the grounds for you to seek the court to vacate what the board did, since the board did not follow their own policy regarding complaints having to filed in 3 days and the other team did not raise them until the disciplinary board hearing beyond the 3 days.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The other caveat here is I am the Vice-President of this organization but obviously that didn't stand for any thing even though I pleaded the injustice. I am currently considering resignation? Is the best course of action for me?



Also, How do I file this case to the court? Can I file what? to do what? to achieve what? Can I say I want to file a case against this organization for failing to abide by their own rules?.......and what else? can I claim expenses as well?


 

Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your response.

If you believe you are right and the board improperly allowed the other party to make a complaint beyond the 3 days in their rules, you file a petition for declaratory judgment and to vacate administrative decision. Then you would seek reinstatement, damages in the form of costs to you to have to fight their improper application of the rules and if you prove your case that is what you would get, your actual losses in the form of costs and reinstatement.

I would not resign if you are going to fight them and you should remain in your position if you are going to sue.

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