Friday, August 5, 2016

Sports Teams, Governement and Audits

Now that we are at the end of the NFL drama known as deflategate, I thought I would look to see if there was any kind of records policy for the NFL or for any sports team.  There might be, but my questions to the NFL regarding a records policy was never answered.

A sports team will have personnel records, payroll records, contracts (players and vendors), facility records, reports, statistics, to name a few. They would also have security records, records of fan incidents at a game, season ticket holder records.

The policy should address what to do if there is a conflict with the NFL and a team or a player. I'm sure there is information in the Players Association about grievances and appeals, but to my knowledge there is little about keeping records for any length of time. The NFL Rule Book does mention keeping records, but these are records made during the game--not about the length of time to keep a said record.

For instance, this rule on the game balls is from the 2013 Rule Book. It states:
Rule 2 The Ball Section 1 BALL DIMENSIONS  The Ball must be a “Wilson,” hand selected, bearing the signature of the Commissioner of the League, Roger Goodell. The ball shall be made up of an inflated (12 1/2 to 13 1/2 pounds) urethane bladder enclosed in a pebble grained, leather case (natural tan color) without corrugations of any kind. It shall have the form of a prolate spheroid and the size and weight shall be: long axis, 11 to 11 1/4 inches; long circumference, 28 to 28 1/2 inches; short circumference, 21 to 21 1/4 inches; weight, 14 to 15 ounces.  The Referee shall be the sole judge as to whether all balls offered for play comply with these specifications. A pump is to be furnished by the home club, and the balls shall remain under the supervision of the Referee until they are delivered to the ball attendant just prior to the start of the game.  Section 2 BALL SUPPLY Each team will make 12 primary balls available for testing by the Referee two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game to meet League requirements. The home team will also make 12 backup balls available for testing in all stadiums. In addition, the visitors, at their discretion, may bring 12 backup balls to be tested by the Referee for games held in outdoor stadiums. For all games, eight new footballs, sealed in a special box and shipped by the manufacturer to the Referee, will be opened in the officials’ locker room two hours and 15 minutes prior to the starting time of the game. These balls are to be specially marked by the Referee and used exclusively for the kicking game. In the event a home team ball does not conform to specifications, or its supply is exhausted, the Referee shall secure a proper ball from the visitors and, failing that, use the best available ball. Any such circumstances must be reported to the Commissioner. In case of rain or a wet, muddy, or slippery field, a playable ball shall be used at the request of the offensive team’s center. The Game Clock shall not stop for such action (unless undue delay occurs). Note: It is the responsibility of the home team to furnish playable balls at all times by attendants from either side of the playing field.

Nowhere in this rule does it say that the testing must be recorded. There is no proof that the balls of a game are tested, so how do we know that they are tested. There is ample opportunity to make a record of the fact the balls were tested especially during a playoff game.  Financial companies are often audited to make sure their books and records are complete. If they are required to test for specific things in their customers accounts, they must provide proof of that testing during an audit if requested. If they do not they are penalized with fines.  There reputation can also suffer.

And speaking of audits, don't you think that these are a good thing to have? Without audits, certain irregularities would not be caught. When a company is audited it is usually done with the intention of discovering any issues that would compromise the customer, company, or country. Auditors will identify areas of improvement, find that the company is in good or bad "health" -- i.e. it will continue to function or not. It will also check the performance of new technology and evaluate threats, economy, efficiency and quality. [Found in an answer by Abhilasha Sharma to Why do companies have audits.]

In my opinion, audits should happen to all companies, public, private, sports and entertainment, and the government. If the government  or NFL were audited on a regular basis, the audits might have identify issues like
  • A person using a private email server being used instead of the one used by the government.
  • Over spending by any branch of the government
  • Issues at the Veteran's Hospitals
  • The inconsistencies in the NFL's process of providing balls and proving that they were of the right weight during the games.
  • Audits can also identify issues in the records policy and procedures.