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It's not much of a secret that numerous athletes within the HP program have been advocates of the system that's being installed, a system that by design places a huge advantage with teams that have the money to compete. I totally understand it, and frankly I'd probably do the same thing in their shoes....but that does not eliminate the fact that it's a conflict of interest. On some level the bigger picture is being missed. The wrong questions are being asked; "How will this benefit me (my team)?" as opposed to "How will this benefit us (USA curling in general)?" Perhaps the split between the two questions isn't as clearly defined as I think it is. That's a hazy area for me.
I should clarify that I did not actively suggest any action against the USCA. I merely stated that the petition in its current form lacks any kind of teeth, so I'm not sold on backing it. Some might call that chickening out and maybe it is, but that's how I see it. The response from Jim Pleasants makes it clear that, though people are being "heard", they are also being ignored. That ignorance will continue until consequences are made plain, perhaps the "direct financial threat" in whatever form that might take.
Let me reiterate that we all should not allow any of this nonsense to impact the friendships we have made throughout the curling world and with each other, because those are far more important. Let's not allow this matter to ever become personal.
No offense to any past or current USCA Board member, but the idea of fresh faces is what I love about democracy. I would definitely support voting in new representation, and in turn, new ideas.
One thing I definitely liked about the new governance proposal that never came to be was giving more voting power and voice to clubs. I know many people only saw that it took away power from State/Regional organizations, essentially making them obsolete in some cases. But, I thought asking each club to get involved in the representation and voting process was a step towards solving these ever ongoing problems of dissatisfied membership. We are a far-reaching community with very diverse wants and needs. Because of that, even regional representation does not understand the best interests of everyone in their area at times.
I never thought of the entire angle of there being a conflict of interest. It is a very valid point. I guess if athletes are only supporting it for their own team's advancement I would consider it morally dishonorable, but if they believe it is better for USA curling they should voice their opinion on the matter. You are right that it can be a hazy gray area for some to be in. There are a lot of conundrums to this whole new format. It has elements put into place to encourage more play at cashspiels which benefits every team playing. But it also has elements that could potentially hurt a single team that couldn't do all that and may still be deserving of wearing USA on their backs. The more and more this whole thing goes around, the more unsure I am on my thoughts about pros vs cons and what the best outcome should actually be. If anyone can come up with a way of bettering the level of competition throughout USA curling while expanding our HP program, in a way that USOC approves, and still doesn't offend the general membership... I think you have a voluntary vocational calling that is being missed out on.
And Sean, Thank you for saying something I was thinking also...
As heated as debates can sometimes get, I would feel awful to let anything said on here affect my camaraderie with anyone I speak to or curl against in our great sport.
One more thing I wanted to say in response to the petition asking the the board have more of a say in all aspects of USCA business....well, two things.
1. I think Jim's reference to the Board's willingness to let HP people run HP back in 2009 or 10 could be a bit misleading. It very well could be that the Board had zero idea that something like this was coming down the pike and that the HPP would end up being such significant part of the USCA annual budget...I have no idea. But the feeling in Jim's response seems to be that the decisions they are making now are well within reason given some discussion that happened 3+ years ago.
2. The point about single individuals or very small groups making decisions in an organization (which I hold as my biggest concern when looking at the petition)
Recent instance...for club nationals, it can be very expensive for our region to have our playdowns b/c we are largely arena. Therefore we have had to look at Seattle and other ded ice facilities as well as arena facilities.
Last year, we weren't sure Portland was going to be up in time...so, we got a number of quotes from different places including ded ice in Minnesota (I'm going to leave things a bit vague here). The USCA wanted to know our venue choice and addtional costs etc...for publication and we mentioned that it wasn't final and that we were looking at x, y and z places. When the time came finalize with them we said Portland was up and we are there. The person we spoke with mentioned that was good b/c the Minn option we mentioned wasn't going to be allowed (according to a single very high up USCA exec) b/c they are a non-USCA affiliated club.
We were thinking..WHAT? We are dues paying members of MoPac and the USCA looking for essentially a 'rental'. Does it really matter that the curling club in question isn't? Since when are facilities USCA members? We have to curl on hockey ice all the time and if have to find a hockey venue we don't normally curl leagues in...does that mean we can't b/c it's not affiliated? This makes zero sense. So, if push came to shove...this single person could potentially veto our Minn rental and force us to pay $400-700 per draw (for 12 draws instead of $600 per day and not allow that particular club to make a bit extra income? How is that, the USCA, serving their members? (BTW US nationals and Worlds are played in non-affiliated venues frequently...think Philly was 'affiliated'?)
Months later, we hear (and I emphasize hear) that there is a particular issue between some members of that non-affiliated club and that USCA person in particular. Now I can't confirm that...but, given the facts/details that we heard and the fact that someone in the USCA was apparently going out of their way to say we can't play our regionals on just any old ice, it might seem plausible. Regardless, this is an example of how the relationship between the USCA and USCA members can potentially break down when decisions could be made by very small groups or individuals.
Again, in my mind...this petition is basically asking that Board Members have their say to keep checks and balances in place. I'm not going as far as saying....have a 'vote'...I'm saying have their say on behalf of the regions they represent. If the Executive Board of the governing body isn't openly soliciting dialogue between themselves and the regions representative...just to keep lines of communication open, this is a big issue in way of seeing things.
edit: btw, I after rereading this...the 'issue' mentioned above was not relayed to us by any individual of that club. I just wanted to state that for the record. We will probably never know, with 100% certainty, why we heard that club would be off limits to us.
quote:Originally posted by SPMFromPCC Let me reiterate that we all should not allow any of this nonsense to impact the friendships we have made throughout the curling world and with each other, because those are far more important. Let's not allow this matter to ever become personal.
...we all want what's best for the sport and one of the best things about this sporting population are the instant friendships made.
The USCA has long had athlete influence on the playdowns process, as one of the stakeholders is the Athlete Advisory Council (AAC). I believe to get on the AAC, you need to qualify for the playoffs at the Nationals.
As for the current proposal, I can attest to the fact that the players had the best goals of all players in mind when deciding on the final details for the points chase.
Decisions on limiting event count to 5+Nationals means you don't have to play every weekend, and brings more teams into the picture, no requirement to play international events, and requiring a Top 3 finish at Nationals to go to the Worlds all go towards ensuring that the interests of all teams are considered, while creating a system that will create incentives to teams playing in Canada and bigger events.
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
I've stayed out of this thread for good reason. I do post too often. Frequently I post just to promote discussion and interest. This thread needs neither.
I must add a little more to Gerry's post, however.
When originally proposed, the AAC was divided on the new World Team Selection Process. Now, with Tilker joining the AAC, I'm fairly certain that the AAC would vote against it.
Gerry's post remains factually accurate. Top players on the AAC have a big voice in many things and that is rightfully so. Lots of players were polled as to the final details of the proposal. Many of the top players set aside their own best interests to promote the best interests of the game.
Still, to imply that there is anything close to unanimity amoungst those players would be to overstate the position.
Wait...the HPP team threatened to sue the USCA if their grand ideas were changed? Or am I misunderstanding?
If that's what happened, then the entire HPP team needs to be replaced IMMEDIATELY, and for cause...you don't threaten to sue your bosses if they say "Great idea, but we're not going to do it that way"
Registered: Nov 2012
Location: In the crawlspace
I keep seeing mentions of "legal action" but have not seen anyone put forth either the legal basis for the action or what the legal action will consist of (C&D letter? Lawsuit? Restraining Order? Eternal Damnation as an ice pebble on Team Martin's practice ice?) Additionally, how does the legal action tie into the petition, since it's been mentioned that signers could be subject to legal action.
Regarding signing the petition, I believe what jhcurl is referring to is threats to BoD members who are signatories.
There can be no legal action against Ice Minion, MiniMark, or the Punk for signing.
Directors of non-profits like the USCA have a fiduciary duty to the organization (don't steal funds) which is similar to that of officers of business entities and which many laypeople may have heard of. However, there are also other duties, namely duty of care, duty of loyalty and (particularly with non-profits) duty of obedience.
It appears that the duty of loyalty may be the one causing the trouble. Duty of loyalty is a standard that "requires a board member to act in good faith, be faithful to the organization and pursue the organizationís best interests. It means that board members must be dedicated to the organizationís mission and put the interests of the organization above self-interest."
That being said, to use the duty of loyalty as a threat to jhcurl is really grasping at straws, because they'd have to define what jhcurl's "self-interest" is in the matter. He's nowhere near being advantaged by any changes in the HPP program because the closest he'll come to international competition is sitting in Row F.
Registered: Sep 2002
Location: US - CT
My understanding, which is minimal at best is this. If somehow the petition or the public dissension causes the USOC to take over as the NGB then that is the fault of the directors who disagreed publicly. Then we would be held "legally accountable" which is a direct quote.
To me, that and $6 buys you a cup of overpriced coffee at Starbucks.
no NGBs were harmed in the typing of this personal opinion
A USCA leader has threatened to sue USCA board members if USOC takes away USCA's NGB status if they sign a petition which asks the board to have a vote over Super Big Board Core Management Issues such as how our USA teams at USOC-sanctioned competitions are selected.
I am still waiting for anyone to provide any USOC documents which forbid NGB boards from voting on any HP plan issue.
I did find the current Number One and Only Mission Statement for the USOC in its bylaws despite contrary corportate purposes language in federal statute chartering USOC. Those bylaws say, "[T]he mission of [USOC] shall be: To support the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes in achieving sustained competitive excellence while demonstrating the values of the Olympic Movement, thereby inspiring all Americans."
So, us grassroots and regional folks as well as all board members not on the executive committee now are just allowed to wave a flag (paid for by ourselves) on the sidelines while the professional royalty drive by unaccountable to any of us as they spend USOC money and enforce USOC bylaws to get medals, medals, medals. And only medals! At least, I am not by law required to courtsey to this fiasco. "Inspiring!" isn't it?
If anyone on the USCA board gets sued I suggest they tell the plaintiff to pull out US federal laws and read and reread the 14 legal purposes of the USOC (they are not just about medals, medals, medals) and drop that lawsuit before a judge throws it out for being completely frivolous since US federal statutes trump any USOC bylaws or secret contracts with USCA.
I wandered onto this thread more out of curiosity than anything, posting is not really my style and I have no opinion as the USCA's decision and action being discussed in this thread but I would like to address some comments below.
Being a Canadian curler on the WCT, I have zero patience for the notion that 1) Teams who play in more bonspiels have an "unfair" advantage and on top of that, 2) teams who have more money can afford to "gamble" in cashspiels to get the points they need.
Some teams get funding and some do not. I've been on both sides of that page and I can tell you that if you think that every team that travels is doing it from funding you are kidding yourself. Most teams get their start from financing their curling out of pocket. I did it for 10 years. And don't think that those who get funding don't deserve it and have an 'unfair' advantage. They are the ones that make all the sacrifices and the complainers are the ones who don't.
quote:Originally posted by SPMFromPCC "...an adjustment to the current way of doing things" has been done numerous times over recent years, with no change in results. Maybe that's not actually the solution.
I will make only a couple of points.
1) The core reason many people are up in arms about this is that this kind of system is, at its heart, un-American. It's not even close to a level playing field. Teams and players with the most money have the best chance of becoming team USA, since they are the ones who can afford to gamble that money entering cashspiels to win the points needed to become team USA.
2) I'd like to hear more about the supposed legal action that has been threatened against some who support this petition. It has been claimed that such people may be held legally responsible if the USCA were to break up. Kinda curious what basis there is for that....and since when did anybody deserve legal threats for supporting a grassroots petition? This IS still the United States of America, yes? Land of the free, home of the brave, where you can speak your mind without fear of retribution?
Kinda sad to see how money has infected the sport and is slowly corrupting it, just as it does to virtually everything it touches. In the end, how much will be sacrificed simply for international medals? Is it worth it....REALLY worth it in the long run? Don't think anyone can answer that right now.
And just in case anyone is curious, I have not signed the petition because I don't think it's worded quite the right way. No consequences are given if what the petition demands doesn't happen. It simply says "We want this", and not "We want this, or that will happen".
No wonder the "response" posted by Jim Pleasants was little more than "Yeah, we hear you and you all are very cute, but nothing will change. Toodles!!" There's no reason for them to accede, because what will happen? Exactly.
Allow me to clarify my points, as what I'm trying to say and the conclusions drawn don't entirely meet up.
- I do not believe that teams playing in more spiels have an unfair advantage at any level. They're playing more, which is a great thing and will only make them better. That is nothing close to what I'm saying.
- As far as the whole gambling comment, that's admittedly a rather snarky way of putting it but I absolutely don't think for a second that every traveling team does so from outside funding. I've funded my own competitive play for my entire career to this point, so I'm well aware of that side of the page. I also don't think teams who get funding haven't earned it...there are systems in place to determine who gets that for a very good reason.
All I'm trying to say is that not everyone who has the desire to play at the top levels has the financial wherewithal to make it a reality. It's well known that sacrifices have to be made to reach those goals, but understand that the DESIRE to reach them sometimes runs into the wall of the FINANCIAL ABILITY to reach them. Note I am not saying it's totally impossible, merely that the already uphill battle has been made even steeper. Anyone who knows me here in the USA knows how much I seek to be the best there is and during the season, I throw the daily practice rocks to prove it...but at the same time, I kinda have to pay my friggin' rent, you know?
If the choice becomes traveling to a ton of spiels vs. having a roof over your head and being able to eat, or someone supporting their children (I have none)....what are they supposed to do? I'm personally not willing to reduce myself to a street bum living in a cardboard box.
Of course it's not 100% about the money. But don't act like it's not 0% either.
Registered: Dec 2005
Location: St. Thomas, North Dakota
I hear you, my Canadian neighbor...but I'm wondering if your point of view is limited to those experiences or if you are in favor of the entire proposal.
In other words: Would you support Curl Canada always sending the WCT points leader to Worlds or do you prefer sending your champions?
I always spieled on my own dime and, to the best of my knowledge, my dedication was never in question. I hear, loud and clear, your position that lack of funding isn't an absolute barrier to success. Still, given travel expenses, it is a significant advantage in the USA...far more then in Canada.
Nice to have lots of viewpoints,
South of Winnipeg by two hours...yet in a different land
I've debated answering this question and this will probably be my last post re: this for many reasons, most being I'd never want to risk offending my southern friends or come off like I think I know how to solve the USCA's issues because I don't.
I'll will say this one thing, it seems as though curling is moving forward rapidly in profile and the level of play on the international level. All countries wanting to medal are faced with the decision to either step up their game or fall behind. Same goes for individual teams and players. I faced that reality myself and had to make a choice. Try much much harder or just be satisfied with not winning and having a beer afterwards.
The WCT is now the testing and training ground. It's becoming a professional sport for many now and those are the teams that are winning. Gone are the days when one of many good teams have a chance to win on any given Sunday. Those odds are heavily slanted now in favor of the pros, and the pros are great, not good. And when an international rep shows up at an international event without that tour seasoning, it shows. You can't mourn the fact that money is more integral now. It has opened up so many more opportunities in this game and pushed it to a new level. It's not gambling. It's an investment. If you see it as gambling then you're wasting your time.
I really want to address the financial issues brought up here. I spent many years trying to crack the WCT events across canada as a single young woman on a single young woman's salary (and a student's income as well). I have been driving a bloody broken-down NEON for 8 years haha! I made it work because I knew it was what I had to do to eventually get anywhere. There are so many opportunities in Canada for the US teams to play. Flights aren't cheap, but they aren't cheap for Canadian teams either who are flying across the country every weekend. Funding helps sure. But it's only money and it doesn't make you play better. Get out there and have a bud and spud fundraiser, find sponsors, put off buying a new truck. If you want to win it's your job to find a way, no one else's and certainly not the governing bodies in curling. And the ones who are winning now did all that.
No one is saying that the availability of more higher quality bonspiels is a problem.
No one is saying that funding teams so that they should, theoretically, improve is a problem.
No one is saying that the unlevel playing field there is a problem, because (again, theoretically) the teams getting funded earned it.
What we are saying is that *JUST BECAUSE* a team is handed those advantages based upon performances in prior years *SHOULD HAVE NO BEARING* on their seeding or access to our *NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP*.
And then we are further saying that if a team, despite not having any of those advantages, manages in a given year, to rise up, win their way through to Nationals, and to then actually win Nationals, then *THAT TEAM* should be our national representative at the subsequent competitions (i.e. Worlds), not the team that couldn't seal the deal *despite* being handed the advantages.
And yes, sometimes that means that a team out of nowhere will make it through to Worlds and then lay an egg. Guess what? Our High Performance Teams haven't exactly been world beaters either.
If a HPP team wins Nationals, then great, we are all behind them, 100%. However, if a NON-HPP team wins the tournament, then we should all be behind them 100%.
It's just that simple, and it has nothing to do with "If you're not spieling, you're not improving", it's a plain and simple "If you are our nation's best, you should be able to win our Nation's Highest Pressure Tournament".
It's ok, because I actually don't have a 'problem'.
I specifically addressed certain comments about MONEY (like the bold print?) in our sport and no direct opinion about whatever decisions USCA made. It's definitely NOT my problem.
Thanks for all of the input everyone. There is a USCA board meeting this weekend, September 13-15, so if you want to encourage a frank, open debate, I'd suggest those who are local and able to do so to attend the meeting.
quote:Originally posted by MoPacPrez Thanks for all of the input everyone. There is a USCA board meeting this weekend, September 13-15, so if you want to encourage a frank, open debate, I'd suggest those who are local and able to do so to attend the meeting.
I've seen CZ invites to USCA Board meetings just prior to the last 2 meetings in Mpls now. Unfortunately, no info is readily avialable as to where those meetings are to be held -- hard to attend if one does not know where to go.
For those unable to attend, it would seem that meeting minutes may be helpful for curlers to find out what is going in on with their association. Unfortunately, the last BoD meeting for which minutes have been posted on the USCA website is the spring meeting of 2012 [no typo there, last year is correct]. Many organization will provide unapproved minutes to members rather than wait for approved meetings, but not the USCA.
What is this called -- transparency? But then perhaps all the decisions are made outside of the BoD meetings so maybe it does not matter.
dbsdbs, In ye olde days we'd say all the real decisions are made in smokey dark rooms by special invitees only. Now, it's still dark... but we need an ever increasing number of brooms to clear up the muck from the mushroom treatment the rank and file dues payers get.