FSWA Taking Pains to Do Hall Right

Mike Beacom knows that when the FSWA tried to get a hall of fame going previously, things weren’t quite done the right way.

It’s not that anyone was intentionally impeding the process. It’s just that such a project has so many different steps, so many possible methods and so many potential pitfalls that it takes a large amount of time, planning and patience.

The patience has been particularly important, as the whole thing hasn’t always stuck to the initial timeline.

“We took our time to do it right,” said Beacom, the president of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. “Nobody’s going to care a year from now if we’re two weeks or two months behind. They’ll care if we mess it up.”

Doing it right included involving members of the math department at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to craft the voting formula. Beacom said the FSWA set out with the idea that it could combine aspects of the election processes used by the Baseball Writers Association of American and the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It seems to be working but might not have without the help of those professional mathematicians (as opposed to the amateur mathematicians that make up a fantasy sports non-profit).

“It was one more step that we took to ensure that we were doing things scientifically,” Beacom said. “We were trying to blend two processes that we thought could work together. They’ve proven that you can make this formula work.”

The pro football segment of the process comes in narrowing candidates down from a list of 40 nominees to the 14 finalists recently announced. Beacom told FSB.com that the first round of voting is designed to produce 15 finalists a year, despite a fluky five-way tie leading to this year’s number.

From there we move to the BBWAA component, in which the 20 Hall committee members can each fill a ballot with as many of the 15 finalists as they like. Anyone who appears on at least 70 percent of the ballots will gain induction.

The committee responsible for that final vote is a group of volunteers — led by chair Robert Burghardt of TG Fantasy Baseball — whose role Beacom spotlights.

“I can’t stress enough how important that committee is,” he said. “Robert has done an unbelievable job. They all admitted it was more work than they imagined.”

Those ballots will be turned in over the next week, with the class to be announced on Sept. 9, opening day of the NFL season.


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