Appeals from Decisions of MSYSA Members and Programs
MSYSA expects its programs, member clubs and leagues closest to the source of a complaint or protest to make original decisions. The original decision-making authority is the finder of fact and must record all materials relevant to the complaint. The complainant must follow procedures established by the authority with which the original complaint or appeal is filed. Appeals from adverse decisions are made to either an established appeals committee or to the MSYSA Adjudication Committee, depending on jurisdiction. The proper appeal path and appeal requirements must be given to the parties in writing as a part of the original adverse decision. Failure of the deciding authority to provide proper appeal information may jeopardize the standing of the original decision.
Any adverse decision may be appealed. The central issue is one of eligibility to participate. Thus, any adverse decision, from a letter of reprimand to multiple suspensions for a send off (red card) to a full suspension, and so on, that restricts any privilege can be appealed by an aggrieved party. Therefore, it is important that the original deciding body make a decision after a hearing of the facts, and that it follow correct procedures.
Appeal Filing Procedures
An appeal to the Adjudication Committee from an original decision or an appeal decision of a MSYSA member must follow an established procedure:
- Be in writing stating the basis for the appeal;
- Include a check or money order for $300 payable to MSYSA;
- Be filed within 48 hours of receipt of an adverse decision and sent to the MSYSA Office;
- Include all materials related to the original decision; and
- Not include new evidence (that is, evidence not presented to the fact-finding authority).
The Adjudication Committee should decide an appeal within 30 days of receipt of a bona fide appeal.
Appealing Party Obligations
The appellant must furnish to the Adjudication Committee all materials used to derive the decision on appeal. The appellant must inform the original decision-making body if an appeal is filed, and may request copies of all materials, which were used in arriving at the decision under appeal.
The appellant must succinctly state the basis for the appeal on each issue to be considered, and the appeal will be limited to issues identified in the appeal document. The Committee does not conduct a new review of facts unless the appellant demonstrates that evidence entered in the original decision against the appellant was fabricated or false, or patently irrational; that is, the original decision was not supported by substantial evidence. Failure on the part of the appellant to fully and timely file an appeal may result in the appeal being denied.
Responding Party Obligations
Within 10 days of receipt of a written request from appellant, the authority which made the decision under appeal (responding party) must furnish the appellant and the MSYSA Adjudication Committee with all documents. Failure on the part of the responding party to furnish the complete record to the appellant on request may result in a decision being entered in favor of the appellant. The responding party may submit opposing arguments to the Committee regarding the appeal.
Criteria for Review
The Adjudication Committee’s review of facts is confined to the facts presented in the record of the earlier decision; the Committee does not accept new factual submissions and may overturn a prior factual finding only if it concludes that the finding was not supported by substantial evidence. In other words, the Committee does not review cases to determine how Committee members might have voted on the evidence if they had been members of the original hearing panel, nor does it make any attempt to balance evidence or to re-try a case. Furthermore, US Youth Soccer has held that appellate bodies should not substitute their judgments for those of the finders of fact. Responsibility for determining the weight and credibility of evidence is assigned to the original finder of fact.
Standards of Due Process
On appeal, the Adjudication Committee reviews a case based only on documents relied on by the original decision-making authority. Additional written arguments are permissible about the facts and law in the record from the lower body, but no new evidence is permitted. The Committee seeks to determine that five standards are met:
1. Is there some substantial (credible) evidence, not necessarily the weight or majority of evidence, in the record to support the original decision?
2. Was the original decision made in accordance with established rules and procedures, especially those of the deciding body?
3. Was the appealing party afforded due process?
4. Was the original decision or punishment arbitrary or capricious?
5. Does the original decision correctly interpret and apply the regulations and laws of MSYSA, US Youth Soccer, USSF, or Federal or State laws?
Penalties in Effect
Any penalties assessed as a result of an adverse decision are in full force and effect on appeal unless expressly overturned on appeal. Accordingly, a party is bound by ruling or order of the Committee notwithstanding that an appeal has been taken and the party continues to be obligated to comply with its terms until overturned by a proper higher authority.