Oly Rollers Explain 2014 Tournament Absence

Oly Rollers Explain 2014 Tournament Absence Oly jammer Onda Sligh at Western Regionals in 2012. Photo: Donalee Eiri, Photography by D.E.sign

When WFTDA released its 2014 tournament brackets, there was a team missing from the top 40 ranked teams for the second year running: the Oly Rollers.

While in 2013 they chose not to skate the required number of games to be eligible for an invite, this year it seemed likely they would make a return.

With sanctioned games hosted in Olympia as well as an 0-3 trip to Eugene, OR, for The Big O, Oly fulfilled their requirements and were duly invited to playoffs. However, they’re taking another year out of the playoff cycle. Why? “So all of our skaters can skate including the under age,” explained Oly’s Tannibal Lector, talking to DNN. [Editor’s note: USARS changed its policy in 2013 to allow skaters aged 14-17 to skate on adult teams, while WFTDA team charters are limited to those 18 and over.]

Oly was practically the last team in the top 40 to complete their games this year with a game late on the final Sunday of the regular season; their result against Arch Rival that day practically guaranteed placement in the same bracket as Wasatch, which in turn guaranteed that they would find themselves allocated to Salt Lake City.

The tournament is the same weekend as USARS roller derby nationals, originally scheduled for a weekend when there was no WFTDA tournament play. However, when it was found that the Pershing Center in Lincoln, NE, was to be closing, a new location was needed.

“Attempts were made to find an alternative venue in the area, without success,” WFTDA told DNN when asked about the cross-scheduling. “We searched throughout the US with the help of several leagues, to find a suitable alternative. We were happy to have Wasatch Roller Derby step up and work with us at the Calvin L. Rampton Salt Palace Convention Center.” That necessitated a change of date–to the free weekend in the WFTDA calendar of September 26-28, between the tournaments in Evansville, IN and Charleston, WV.

“We are the only team that skates both USARS and WFTDA,” Tannah continued, and “the decision to go to USARS was made at the beginning of the year in hopes that we would not be playing in the Salt Lake City playoff so we wouldn’t have to make a decision to skate one or the other.

“It was a decision made months prior. We had tried to find out which playoff we would be in prior to confirming if we would be attending WFTDA or not,” she said. “With WFTDA wanting a confirmation before the divisional was announced was hard to say what we would be doing.”

“All teams are provided the same information in terms of their ranking, seed and tournament location,” WFTDA told us. They then referred to the original competitive divisioning whitepaper, and specifically the statement therein that “there is no shuffling or deviation from the seeding based on geographic location.”

Asked if it was possible to field teams at both events, given the Oly Rollers have multiple competitive teams, Tannibal said “We do not have enough to field a full WFTDA or USARS team at this moment. We have skaters who made prior obligations last year before any dates were out. So either way we would not have enough skaters.

“Oly can’t skate both; neither organization was willing to change any dates to accommodate a team that skates both,” Tannibal concluded.

Finally, WFTDA has confirmed the Oly Rollers are still in good standing in the organisation despite missing out on tournaments and playing a significant portion of games under the USARS ruleset over the two-year period. “Our membership standards don’t require participation in WFTDA tournaments,” they said.

Oly Rollers

Lex Talionis

Lex is the Content Director for Derby News Network.