Update on Upload to OPC Feature -- Really, NBC?

We've had reports of users experiencing errors with the Upload to OPC feature.  To your detriment, the OPC's owner, NBC Sports and its subsidiary Trackwrestling, is actively working to interrupt and defeat this helpful Takedown feature.  When you try to use the Upload to OPC feature, you might see some message about "Security Issues" and such; that's a red herring.  There are no more security issues with our app than there are with going to NBC Sports' Trackwrestling site (which is a Non-Secure site by default even when logging into the OPC, a major security flaw in 2017).

We've reached out to NBC/Trackwrestling for their help but they've declined on two occasions.  Their response was...disingenuous is probably the best characterization.  We'll continue to work on fixing this problem on our end, but it is a difficult programming task as NBC/Trackwrestling, with vast resources, are busy trying to thwart us and, in turn, make your life miserable. You'd think NBC would have better things to do than purposely interfering with the administrative operation of hundreds of college and high school wrestling teams using Takedown Scoring and Stats.

We persevere on your behalf to work through this issue but NBC -- a huge company -- has a good chance of winning this senseless tug of war.  We'd suggest contacting NBC/Trackwrestling, but they appear indifferent to helping our shared customers. You can try nonetheless.

The OPC is owned by NBC Sports via a transfer of rights from the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) to Trackwrestling a few years back. In retrospect, not a beneficial transaction for the wrestling community.  This situation might be unique in all of scholastic and college sports: a fundamental athlete database (the OPC), without which the sport can not currently operate, is owned and operated by a major broadcasting company for its sole economic benefit.

And, let's be clear about the essence of what's going on here: you, a wrestling team, are paying NBC (via your state sanctioning organization in most cases) to take ownership of your data. That is, you own a valuable asset from which you'd normally be able to get some economic benefit for transferring ownership. Instead -- and let this sink in -- your wrestling team (or state sanctioning body) is paying another company to take ownership of this valuable asset. In turn, that company -- NBC in this instance -- monetizes your asset in various ways including advertising. This is backwards. You have the asset and someone should be writing you a check.

Monopolies, by their nature, are harmful. Not only are they prone to excessively high, non-competitive prices, they also tend to innovate at a slower pace in the absence of competition They tend to engage in anti-competitive behavior. Indeed, NBC/Trackwrestling covets the OPC. Why? Who knows? Seems silly at best and sadly customer-unfriendly at worst. It is certainly anti-competitive and not in wrestling's best interest.

Closed systems, like monopolies, are usually bad for markets, too. IBM learned this the hard way and we wrote about that here. Why is NBC Sports so intransigent about opening up the OPC? Don't they know that coaches despise -- and that's an insult to things that are merely despicable -- typing information into the OPC? It is time consuming. It is error prone. It is late because humans postpone doing unpleasant tasks. Wouldn't it make sense to (1) reduce coach workload and, at the same time, insure (2) more timely and accurate information? Aren't we painfully aware of the OPC data inaccuracies that last year improperly qualified several wrestlers for the NCAA Championship?  If Takedown can quickly and accurately upload results to the OPC, isn't that a boon for coaches and the wrestling community at large? Of course it is.

The weight certification and match results database should be a public asset, securely managed by an independent, non-profit third party for the benefit of all of wrestling. It should be available to interested and qualified parties on a reasonable and customary fee basis. This arrangement would be beneficial to the wrestling community because it spurs competition. Fundamental athlete and competition information should not be privately owned by a large broadcasting company for their own pecuniary benefit. That is a very, very bad idea for scholastic sports and state sanctioning bodies should be concerned at the very least, perhaps even upbraided for their careless cession of rights which has led to this issue.

Tournament managers -- who make a living using tournament management software to run tournaments -- will chime in with their reflexive and energetic defense of Trackwrestling. I've experienced that before. Go away, we're not talking about you. We're talking about helping your average wrestling coach.

In fairness to Trackwrestling, their seminal work in tournament management software has been a boon to our sport, of that there is no doubt. They deserve gratitude for that accomplishment. But, the needless interference with our customers simply trying to upload their match outcomes and weigh in data is not a stellar achievement for a company that has helped wrestling in other ways.  They seem to have lost their way.

We are doing what we can but a small company isn't going to win a battle with NBC. As a community, you'll need to resolve this through your state sanctioning organizations. Managing and maintaining the weight certification database needs to be moved to a public non-profit for the benefit of the wrestling community. Otherwise, as they say, you get what you deserve. High prices, ancient tech, inaccurate and late date. Coaches wasting time. Good grief, so silly.

Oh, just one more thing. I will personally fund the implementation of a modern weight certification and match results database, publicly available for a reasonable and customary fee, securely implemented, professionally developed and managed, and entrusted to a non-profit with no other corporate ties or interests, and for the benefit of the wrestling community.

Are any of the state sanctioning bodies awake? Your move.

Send to: ideas@levelchanger.com.

 



Takedown Scoring and Stats is a single-team focused, mobile app for scoring wrestling matches, generating stats, managing teams and engaging fans via social media.