WPS Imposes Punishment on magicJack with Point Deduction, Loss of Draft Picks

As Jeff Kassouf reports this morning, magicJack will be deducted one point in the standings and will lose a third round draft pick in the 2012 WPS Draft for breaching league policy by failing to display field boards of league sponsors and not uploading match footage to Match Analysis, a league source says.

magicJack owner Dan Borislow has been notified of the league’s punishment as of this morning.

magicJack have thrice committed what WPS terms a violation of the league’s “onsite commercial activation”. WPS teams must adhere to league policy by showcasing field boards of the league’s national sponsors around the stadium for every league match. After three home games, magicJack have yet to put up field boards at Florida Atlantic University Soccer Field.

This is also the third week magicJack have not uploaded game footage to Match Analysis; the third party vendor WPS uses to archive matches and calculate statistics. Match Analysis also enables coaches to scout previous games. Opposing teams are put at a distinct competitive disadvantage by not being able to observe and scrutinize any of magicJack’s games. Of note, the team have not opted to utilize the system for its own scouting purposes. 

The club was first hit with monetary fines after the team’s first home game on April 23. magicJack then lost a fourth round draft pick last week after the team’s second consecutive show of noncompliance.

This is the first time in league history that WPS has penalized a team by docking points. As is part of WPS’s escalating levels of punishment, the team had already been warned, fined and stripped of a draft pick. Continued defiance has resulted in removal of points and the elimination of another draft pick.

A league source states further violations could mean the team will forfeit the right to host a home playoff game.

Prior to today, magicJack were second in WPS with nine points. The team remains in the same position, but the deduction lowers the team’s total to eight points. As magicJack have a bye week this coming weekend, the Boston Breakers could potentially overtake the team in the standings with a win on Friday over the Western New York Flash.

Additionally, the South Florida team are currently in violation of three other league standards. The league made the team aware of each infringement, the alternatives, and the possible punishments and that could be handed down as a result.  

1.) The league requires that all WPS teams have a functioning website. As has been made obvious in recent weeks, magicJack’s website remains nonoperational. WPS has yet to punish the team as magicJack was granted a two-week extension in early May. The deadline is due to expire at the beginning of next week. If the website remains inaccessible after that point, the league will begin to levy penalties.

2.) According to USSF and WPS guidelines, the minimum seating capacity for stadiums used by WPS teams is 5,000. magicJack are in clear violation of that as the team’s home ground at FAU Soccer Field seats approximately 1,500. The team can file a petition with USSF to downsize the minimum size to 2,500. Even still, the stadium’s current capacity will still be short of the modified minimum.

3.) WPS also requires that press boxes be covered and have a clear view of the field. The press box at FAU Soccer Field is positioned in a corner and does not offer optimum sight lines. WPS will submit a request to FAU but the league can’t require stadium officials to move it.

magicJack were fined after the team’s media blackout after the match against the Philadelphia Independence on May 1 and were on the verge of facing additional punishment in Week 5. The team heeded WPS’s mandates, however, and allowed players to be accessed by media members following last weekend’s victory versus the Atlanta Beat.

If the team remains noncompliant in the instances acknowledged, magicJack will be slapped with more penalties ranging from fines to removal of draft picks and/or points. As per league protocol, WPS will continue to notify the team and provide warnings about possible punishments following each infraction.

magicJack’s next home game will be on Saturday, May 28 when the team host the Atlanta Beat.

35 thoughts on “WPS Imposes Punishment on magicJack with Point Deduction, Loss of Draft Picks

  1. Nad Wolsirob

    Looks like money can’t buy you points in WPS. About time they slapped this knucklehead with penalties because fines are useless to this multi-millionaire. Couple more violations will send this team to the bottom of the table. Kinda feel bad for the players, not because they’re living in luxury, but for playing for an unprofessional team in a professional league.

    Reply
    1. adams

      Agreed. And I’ve seen a few comments floating around like “at least he treats his players well.” In reality, he is just paying them off. I don’t see how trampling the little credibility/professionalism the league has left is in the best interest of his players.

      what a clusterf___. Thanks for the sleuthing, Jenna.

      Reply
  2. random

    I don’t get it, why did the league allow MagicJack to have any home games scheduled at FAU stadium if they didn’t grant an exception for a smaller capacity stadium prior to? It seems that WPS waited a bit too long in bringing that up or at least trying to enforce it. It would have been #1 on my list prior to the season starting! Not to mention if it is already well known that FAU couldn’t even do 2500, why was it allowed in at all? Either they enforce their rules from the get go or forget it all together…

    Reply
    1. wpsfan

      I think some of you are fast to blame the WPS without all the knowledge. In terms of FAU, a deadline was set for magicJack to find a stadium and he waited until the last minute. His response to the WPS over and over again to get his way is a threat to pull his team out competition. Yes each team put up a bond to continue out the season but he would have made sure it wasn’t with his help and resources and would have left the WPS in charge of running a team a month before the season was set to start.

      The league is dealing with someone who bought a team, has loads of money and a ego to go with it and wants the league to run the way he wants to. At the beginning he looked like a knight in shining honor but quickly changed his tone when he realized he would have to comply with league rules.

      Let’s all hope that it doesn’t get any uglier than it already has. Threats from a team owner to not field a team and a league and other owners being too scared that he will follow through on his threats does not make for a professional environment. I just hope that this is not the beginning of the end for the league. We are focussing way too much on this guy and not focussing on the teams that have a solid ownership group and get fans out to those venues to make sure the league sticks around for 2012.

      Reply
      1. random

        You talk about this situation not making for a professional environment, that comes down to the league enforcing rules. There is no quick to blame, the league outlined what was acceptable as a stadium to Borislow and then didn’t enforce it when he waited til the last minute to choose. If they stopped allowing him to game things in the beginning it might never have gotten as far as it has. I understand each team’s stadium can’t just give them any date they want to play and changing home games to away games due to Borislow’s games would be difficult, but new owners won’t want to come into an unprofessional league so WPS is shooting itself in the foot anyway you look at it. It unfortunate anyone is allowed to play these childish games in any league. I agree with you in hoping that the league is around for many more years to come

        On a side note I think that judging others’ opinions as not fully informed is funny, I doubt there is anyone aside from Borislow that knows the WHOLE story and I’m guessing no one will ever get the REAL story from him.

        Reply
        1. WPSfan

          All I am trying to convey is that we are hearing a lot from the magicJack camp because they are choosing to air it out via twitter and Borislow’s comments. If the league chose to do the same, then you would be hearing every threat Borislow has made, not only to the league but to other teams. A check was made on this guy back in November/December when he approached the league about taking over either the Red Stars or Freedom. He sounded legitimate and a supporter of women’s soccer but now is rearing his ugly head.

          When he chose the Freedom, he decided to take everything with him, name and branding included. He did not want any continuing “minor” support from the Freedom ownership group and would not return calls by the SoccerPlex to set up his games there as he said he would. I could go on and on. I don’t think someone of his stature gets to where he is without being able to manipulate something or someone at some point.

          Overall, this is embarrassment to everyone who has tried to make women’s soccer work in the US, even back to the WUSA days. Yes, the league is at fault for maybe not delving further into the metal stability of this guy, but is that really something that needs to be done? What if the league realized how unstable he was and decided not to let him take over the Freedom and fold the league. Would that have been better? I won’t even go into the debacle he caused at the “rain-out” in Philadelphia and his choice words.

          Overall, I hope magicJack can get back to attempting to being a positive force in the female game as opposed to a soap opera storyline. I hope Borislow can got back to the owner everyone thought he was going to be in the beginning and realize it is about the women’s game and it’s survival. I hope some other clubs with positive roots, like the Vancouver Whitecaps, join this league and help build a professional environment as opposed to allowing one team to spoil it for the fans, players and coaches.

          Reply
          1. random

            Excellent response, thank you. Completely agree that he seems to be quite the manipulator. I have never felt the league needs to delve into an owner’s mental stability, only lay down the law and enforce it when it needs to be. I know some would say its easier said than done, but who knows if he pulled his support after a year b/c he couldn’t get his way maybe other potential teams that are watching this and waivering would step in knowing they wouldn’t have to put up with his crap.

            Its too bad the players haven’t been more available to help promote the positives as they see it, such as how well they seem to be treated.

            Reply
  3. Kilted Ref

    It’s about time. While I understand the willingness to bend and stretch rules for this guy on the belief that he would save the company, in reality allowing him to dictate his own rules only make it less likely that the league will attract other sponsors and investors because the lack of fairness between teams.

    As was pointed out the team has up to two years to have a current head coach with an A license. If they switch head coaches, does that coach get another two years before he/she is required to have an A license? This league should have the highest requirements and stick to them.

    Reply
  4. kool-aide

    Jenna,

    Thanks for the great work on getting the info together. Glad WPS has started publicly talking about the consequences they’re imposing for Borislow’s bad behavior.

    Send @TaylorTwellman a link as he RT the SoccerInsider tweet and asked for explanations.

    Reply
  5. Sonia

    It is unfair they are punishing the players who have no control over this, instead of fining the owner who does. It’s also slightly shocking to realize the team with all the stars does not have a TV appropriate field.

    But all this doesn’t mean Hope Solo needs to continue being an asshat on twitter. Tons of kids are going to start following her on twitter once the WC starts and this week alone we’ve seen two rants. It’s just lame. I mean, really, claiming the point deduction was done to keep “marta’s team” on top is childish, caddy, unprofessional, and false. You’d think a star of the national team would realize she’s a role model; the rest do.

    Reply
    1. kool-aide

      The league tried to fine the owner but that has not worked. He has had *many* chances to fix the problems. He didn’t seem to care about the money only the team’s place in the standings.

      The players aren’t being punished. They are still in 2nd place and the league did not negate any on field results. Certain players are being willfully ignorant or incredibly naive to not understand the business realities of professional sports and WPS in particular. Others seem at least smart enough to keep their public mouths shut.

      If the players want to keep all the points then they should start more vigorous discussions with ownership to meet minimum WPS standards — the seating would likely get a waiver if magicmysteryJack complied with the contractually obligated (and money making) sponsor signs, video requests, and put up a freaking website. If the players care that much about more point deductions then they should speak up.

      Reply
    1. cambridge_footie

      Is there anything to say? I stopped paying attention to her a while ago. Best GK ever to play the game but yowzaa!

      I wonder if she will actually get her starting spot back from Barnie? I’m sure if she doesn’t it will be another Twittergate announcing a massive conspiracy by the WPS, Jen Hildreth, the RipTide and Greg Ryan to sideline her.

      Reply
  6. e

    Is majicDan secretly German? What a cluster storm of distractions right now leading up to the WWC. Sigh…I’m going to go and watch my 5yr old niece at soccer practice. Watching them see how far they can spit water and comparing mud stains will hopefully pull me out of this thought/funk that the end is near for the WPS.

    Reply
  7. mwkajdas

    Somehow I don’t think the loss of draft picks is any real concern to an owner who built his team with free agents. At least, not until all the big name free agents refuse to sign with him.

    Reply
    1. Das

      Given there seems to be a 95% chance there will be no WPS next season, draft picks aren’t going to mean much.

      Reply
    1. StarCityFan

      The MagicJack players are about the only people being treated right in all this: they’re living in beachfront high-rises at Borislow’s expense and are very happy about it.

      Reply
  8. Jeff Rusnak

    I’ve spoken to Borislow three times. All he wants is a winning team. He doesn’t care about anything else — the league, the other owners, the media, the fans, FAU or his former coach, who by the way was never made available to the media despite repeated requests. Lacking a PR person, I asked Borislow for Mike Lyons’ cell number to do a preseason advance a few weeks back and he told me he didn’t have the number on him. Didn’t have his own head coach’s cell phone number? Really? Subsequents attempts to speak to Lyons after the first two home games were also denied.
    When I saw Borislow sitting on the bench at the first game, I figured Lyons wouldn’t last long. I just thought he’d actually have to lose a game to be “re-assigned.” Was that the plan all along? Get rid of the coach once Borislow got his footing as the owner/assistant coach? If not, it sure looks it.
    To Borislow’s credit, his team was able to adapt to playing on a 66-yard-wide field after he ordered FAU to draw a 63-yard field for the opener. Borislow told me 63 yards meets FIFA regulations (he wasn’t joking) before explaining that the narrow field was created out of a necessity to leave enough standing room areas for fans. He neglected to note, however, that there’s about 30 yards behind the bench areas that he could have used to make a standard field. Maybe the necessity of the narrow field has to do with Borislow’s 3-4-3 formation and cutting off the channels for teams to counterattack. He says not, but I respectfully disagree. Note to Borislow: Barcelona often has just two defenders to protect its back end, but they don’t cheat the field, the game and their opponent so they can dictate their style. They keep it honest, they win, and they are loved. Can magicJack say the same, except for the winning?
    The first time I spoke to Borislow he cited the Dallas Texans youth organization as a successful business model, which leads me to conclude based on his actions thus far that magicJack is nothing more than a glorified travel team to Borislow, in essence the adult team at the top of the club pyramid. Being viewed as professional simply doesn’t matter to him, even if it means everything to the rest of the league.

    Reply
    1. Jeff Rusnak

      Saved it on what terms? Did he tell the league he would run his franchise this way when he “saved” it?

      Reply
      1. jim

        if he is working with the university to get a stadium, then what do you want? you want him to blow tens of thousands of dollars like sahlen only to have 1700 people come to a game? get real. did you post the link to his reply concerning this stuff? it explains some things like the billboard company the wps hire trying to jump fees 175% on him. the pt is the wps model is JACKED, it so JACKED and cost ineffective that it FOLDS teams. what’s the pt of playing in Miami FC stadium at this pt with only 1200 people a game in a bad economy? why JACK off all the money like sahlen and giveaway hams and no one still comes in a BAD economy. You ever thought his model makes some sense til you can get in a stadium. only needs 1500 seating because that’s probably his peak attendance for this yr. as far as the field he expanded it to 68. he has been within fifa rules since day one. he’ll play in rochester on the 22nd, so we’ll see if the field is the problem or that’s just a damn good team he has like sahlen.

        Reply
      2. WPSfan

        My point exactly! I was trying to convey that in an earlier post. We can get on the league all we want for only thinking about cashing his check and not researching this guy a little more. That was done. Even business partners said he was great. The league and other ownership groups thought he was a savior.

        It really doesn’t surprise me now because not one player on the magicJack team will say one negative comment about what is going on down there. They seem happy. Hopefully they are or it’s an act directly out of the stepford wives script. I do feel badly for some of the players.

        Reply
  9. adams

    Lol. “Saved” as in, instead of letting it end peacefully, he will run it painfully into the ground.

    Reply
    1. jim

      what does magicjack have to do with people not showing up at sahlen stadium, only 2900 at the sky blue home opener, only 1900 at the philly home opener? how does he have anything to do with that when he runs and INDEPENDENT franchise? this leagues goes under it has nothing to do with this guy. he has his super team like sahlen, just isnt willing to blow money through his nose like sahlen for NO attendance. match tracker costs as much as video taping game. that must be a joke, because match tracker is a joke. and he is saying it costs an arm and a leg. i’d prefer to see game vids on the site than sit and look at text on match tracker. sign company tries increase cost. WPS has some problems, those problems were already there. that’s why teams are folding. a gm on bigsoccer said 2.5-3M to run a team with some players only getting 7,000 contracts. something is MESSED up. the league’s model as a whole is probably more messed up than this guy will ever be.

      Reply
  10. Dan Borislow

    Jeff

    Now you made me do it.Jeff has been the reporter who has been lying in his articles about the the team and I.Just read his posts to know what a soccer moron he is.Idiot,go look up FIFA rules for the proper sizes of a field(width 50-100 ).Go measure the field Philadelphioa was on lasy year and see it was 65 yards.Check out Boston and see their width,if it is an inch over 66 yards I would be surprised.I can show everybody your lies or you can attempt to save your career and go away.We had to call security on him twice after he refused to leave the bench area.Everything this guys writes is bending of the truth or a lie.How he lasted so long is a feat in itself.I asked him wasn’t the game super(first game) and he said he couldnt see it from the corner of the field,so he couldn’t asnwer the question.I asked his editors to get tapes of the interview with me,to see the lying,they obviously figured it out.Just can’t keep your mouth shut when you make a mistake.That is why I said to another reporter”why would the league cater to people like this”He could give all reporters a bad name if they continue to back him.Go read his article about how we should have 77 yard fileds.I dont know of any fields in Florida but one of mine and one other with a 77 yard field.Nobody can afford to mantain a field that back.

    Reply
    1. WPSfan

      For international and professional games (and i would assume the guidelines that the WPS is following) the FIFA minimum width is 70 yards, not 50 yards. I agree that both Boston and Philadelphia are probably not even close to 70 but 63 is unacceptable for a professional women’s game. 77 yards is big and you will not find any stadiums in the US that are that size, with maybe the exception of Crew Stadium. RFK and the Rose Bowl are both around 72 yards if you want to use that as a gauge. Bottom line, 63 is unacceptable and 65-67 yards is pushing it for a “professional” game, men’s or women’s.

      Reply
    2. cow pasture alum

      Does the magicJack organization have a public relations expert on staff? If so, was this post run by him/her? Where I work, we get a one-day course on PR 101 from our PR mavens, in case we ever have an encounter with the media. They would use a post like this as an example of how not to handle things.

      Reply
  11. Jeff Rusnak

    Dan

    Are you telling me the U.S. women will be playing on 63-yard fields in Germany this summer at the FIFA World Cup? Did Boston know it would be playing on such a field for the opener? Do you think Pia Sundhage likes having up to a dozen players between the two teams playing on a ground like yours?

    Teams play on narrow fields because they have to. You do so because you want to.

    You mislead people when you claim there’s no room at FAU to play on a full-sized field. As I said the day you denied me access to post-game interviews, you don’t own the league and you don’t set the groundrules. And people like me are merely trying to hold you to a standard that reflects the word “professional.”

    Reply

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