AOTY2020: Sports staff comes up with tampering solution amid Twitter poll controversy


Madison Hummer

No. 8 Maddie Kelley (women’s basketball/field hockey) and No. 19 Karlye Huffman (women’s volleyball) will face-off in the final Twitter poll to determine the Women’s Athlete of the Year for 2020. Voting will take place on Twitter on the @WilkesBeacon account. Voting begins at 8 p.m. on Wednesday and runs until 8 p.m. on Thursday.

Beacon Sports

The Beacon Athlete of the Year tournament had a tampering issue to deal with on Saturday during the men’s quarterfinal round matchup between No. 11 RJ Rauh (men’s soccer) and No. 19 Moustafa Almeky (wrestling).

It was brought to The Beacon’s attention that with a little bit less than three hours remaining in the poll, Almeky had received around 500 automated or “fake” votes. The polls were close, reading 50.3 percent in favor of Almeky prior to the tampering.

The Beacon sports editors held an emergency conference call on Saturday night to resolve the issue.

“We spent close to four hours trying to come up with the best solution to this problem,” co-sports editor Ben Mandell said. “There really wasn’t a perfect solution to this because we determined that neither athlete was responsible for the tampering.”

Ultimately, the staff agreed upon running a new poll – one that would run for three hours to determine the winner.

“This was a tough decision, and one that we did not take lightly. We wanted to do our due diligence and keep the integrity of the contest in mind,” co-sports editor Kirsten Peters said. “Since the percentages were so close prior to the tampering, we decided to run a poll for the remaining time in question after the tampering.”

In the past, this issue has come up once during a previous Athlete of the Year tournament, and the solution came from subtracting the automated votes.

“We felt like it wasn’t fair to subtract the tampered votes because we really couldn’t confirm a number,” assistant sports editor Kevin Singhel said. “We had a good idea of what the number was, but there was not enough evidence to show exactly when the automated votes started and stopped.”

The staff has also stated that if any tampering or automated votes are to happen in the next poll, both contestants will be disqualified.

The three-hour poll will run Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The winner will move on to the Semifinal Round to face No. 10 Vinne Werner (football).

“I think this is the fairest way to continue the poll,” Beacon adviser Dr. Kalen Churcher said. “I fully support the staff and their decision.”