I’m going to recycle a note from an earlier newsletter, because at the last three meets I worked, this issue came up at each one. The issue––error filling out the DQ slip––aka “scrivener’s error.” A scrivener’s error (aka clerical error) is a typographical error or the unintentional addition or omission of a word, phrase, or figure in writing or copying something on a record. Such an error is made by mistake and should be readily corrected without objection.
At each of these three meets, either a coach or an official (gasp!), brought up the idea that a mistake in filling out the disqualification form should result in the DQ being overturned. The simple answer to that idea is “No.” Clerical errors should be corrected. The DQ slip is informational and is not a binding legal document meant to be filed in the county clerk’s office. If, after vetting the call, the referee determines the DQ call is valid, the swimmer is disqualified. After the vetting process, the slip is filled out to provide information to the swimmer and/or coach. The rulebook gives only slight mention to the DQ slips, saying only “shall report any violations to the Referee on signed slips detailing the event, the heat number, the lane number and the infraction (102.13.3).”
If the slip it filled out incorrectly due to a scrivener’s error, correct the slip. A mistake in filling out the slip does not fall into the “benefit of doubt goes to the swimmer” category. Make the slip correct; the DQ stands.