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Weatherford
Feb. 25, 2001, 10:40 AM
I have been asked to reprint Portia�s report from the AHSA/USET/USOC meeting o save people from having to search through the 14 pages of posts on the original thread.

For those who want to read the entire thread: http://chronofhorse.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=691099205&f=602099205&m=865097438&p=1

Portia�s reports are on page 14: http://chronofhorse.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=691099205&f=602099205&m=865097438&p=14

[quote} Report from San Antonio (Portia)

This is the short version - I've got pages of notes with what people said.

Here's the short version - The USOC cancelled the compliance review scheduled for today because of the USET filing the official Article 8 challenge to AHSA as the NGB, which is USOC's SOP in such situations (enough acronyms do you think?) But the USET (Bob Standish) had sent a letter to USOC saying that the USET and its athlete programs will be irreparably harmed if the Operating Agreement is not extended past its expiration tomorrow.

So today turned into a hearing to find out whether the AHSA can immediately assume all the functions that the USET has been performing to get the athletes ready over the next six months of the challenge process. The USET asked the USOC to take over the functions of the NGB as far as athlete programs and dispursing money goes, or to officially give those responsibilities to the USET during the challenge period.

The USOC Membership and Credentials Committee was delegated by the USOC Executive Committee to hear the immediate issue on an emergency basis and make a recommendation to the Exec. Comm. So, much of the materials each side had prepared for the compliance review became temporarily irrelevant and the only issues were (1) whether the parties would agree to extend the OA, which the USOC Exec Comm asked them to do, and (2), if not, whether the programs and preparation would be irreparably harmed if the relief the USET requested was not granted.

Alan Balch explained that the AHSA could not agree to extend the OA because the USET is using the existence of the OA as the primary basis for claiming AHSA is out of compliance and that USET should be made the new NGB. David O'Connor and Alan Balch both asked several times whether the USET was going to stop funding programs and fulfilling the function for which it exists simply because the OA would no longer be in place, and the AHSA did not see any reason why the USET would have to close up shop as it is threatening to do. They operated together without an OA for 46 years, they can do it again. They never got an answer from the USET people, except that Jim Wolfe finally said that "the last thing the USET wants to do" is interrupt the athlete funding and programs.

Both parties presented their arguments, Alan Balch, David O'Connor, Jim Wofford, Kathy Meyer, Kate Jackson, Peter Alkalay (lawyer), Ira Finkelstein (lawyer), John Boesch (development consultant - media, fundraising, sponsorship, etc.), and others for the AHSA.

For the USET, Armand Leone, Eric Strauss, Jim Wolfe, Bonnie Jenkins, Robert Dover, Mark Leone, Mike Huber. and the Mark Piawar(?), CFO for the USET, and their lawyer Ed Williams.

The AHSA's main point was that if the USET refuses to continue to perform its functions the AHSA has international staff ready to go and it has $7 million sitting in the bank ready to fund whatever programs are necessary, and it has passed a budget to fund and fulfill all the athelete programs. The AHSA emphasized that it wants a unified sport and that this is a great opportunity to develop a unified sport with increased sponsorship, and it hopes the USET will participate in that opportunity. However, if the USET continues to chose not to do so, the AHSA is prepared to and able to assume all the functions the USET has performed without interruption of athlete programs or services.

The USET's main point was that it is the one who has funded and fielded the teams and it has the programs in place and the contacts and experience to be able to serve the atheletes, and the AHSA doesn't -- can't remember whether it was Leone or Dover who said the AHSA proposal was "all smoke and mirrors." Leone insisted that all the AHSA has is plans and proposals (pipe dreams, I think he said but don't quote me on that), and could not take over the USET functions.

Alan said the AHSA can and will assume those functions, but how much the AHSA has to do depends on what the USET decides. He pointed out that the USET has known about the expiration date of the OA for a very long time but delayed until the last minute to raise this "emergency" for strategic reasons, the USET has caused its own problems. He said the USET is saying the sky is falling, and the sky is not falling.

The USOC committee members asked various questions. It was very hard to tell which way they were thinking, the questions were pretty evenly divided challenging each' side's assertions -- other than that they really wanted the AHSA to agree to extend the OA so it would take the problem out of their hands.

The athletes (O'Connor, Dover, Huber, and Mark Leone) met privately with the Committee for several minutes.

The Committee met in closed session after dismissing the parties to decide what recommendation to make to the USOC Exec Committee, and they were going to keep it confidential and the word on the final decision would have to come from the Exec Comm.

I have pages of notes with details, but that will take awhile to get put together. I wish I could give you something concrete, but we won't know until the USOC decides on the USET request for relief to avoid alleged irreparable harm - that decision will only be for the period of the challenge review, though. The USOC has appointed a hearing panel to deterimine the challenge, and that will apparently take about 6 months.

Part 2

A couple of more things:

Not a lot of hard facts today, but one thing that struck me as significant.

The USET got 40% of its entire operating budget for last year from a total of 7 people. Alan Balch mentioned that fact in saying that the sport can no longer depend on a few individuals and needs to develop a broad base of support. The AHSA proposals are designed to try to achieve that with a concerted and professional program to develop sponsorship. That's why the sponsorship consultant was at the meeting today.

Another thing, the USET threw out some budget numbers for the money they say they have budgeted and have in hand for athlete programs; however, Alan Balch, Jim Wofford, and David O'Connor are all on the USET board of trustees and confirmed that the USET has not yet presented a budget for 2001. Apparently the USET has set a meeting for this week sometime to address the budget, but Alan Balch emphasized that the USET has refused to present one to the trustees up until now.

Also, according to what David O'Connor said, approximately $6 million or more of the USET budget does not go to any athlete programs.
Because the USET did not have budget numbers and would not provide them to the AHSA, the AHSA had to try to reverse engineer the budget used for athlete programs by interviewing various people involved in them. When the USET people said the budget passed by the AHSA two days ago to fund athlete programs would not be sufficient, the AHSA people said that it should be, but if for any reason it is not, the AHSA has the money in the bank to increase the funding to ensure that athlete programs are not disrupted.

I'll give you more details tomorrow.

PART III
I checked back in, but this is the last time tonight!

The issue now before the USOC is whether the USET's assertion that the expiration of the Operating Agreement will cause irreparable harm to the athlete programs and ability to prepare a team and put them forward for the 2002 World Games. The USOC does not have the power to force the parties to extend the OA -- it is a private contract and if one of the parties does not agree to extend it, then they can't force it to stay in place. Alan Balch and the AHSA were absolute in saying the AHSA cannot agree to extend the OA because of the claims asserted by the USET in its challenge to become the NGB.

The USOC is to first decide whether the AHSA is capable of organizing and funding the athlete programs during the interim period while the challenge procedure is going forward and whether irreparable harm will occur. If the USOC determines that the AHSA is not capable of doing so, then it will decide whether the USOC itself will assume the responsibilities for dispursing funds and coordinating activities, or delegate that authority to the USET (as the USET has requested) and thus "preserve the status quo" until the NGB decision is made.

The USET was complaining that its contracts with its coaches for the teams might be endangered by the expiration of the OA. The counsel for the Committee asked why the USET went ahead and entered into these new contracts with Mark Phillips, Klaus Balkenhol, even David O'Connor just last week, when they knew very well for many months exactly when the OA would expire. Armand Leone's response was that they "had to move ahead or fall behind," so they felt they had to get the contracts in place despite the uncertainty. Alan Balch said the AHSA believes that these people are committed to winning and to the US athletes, not to the USET individually, and the AHSA will ratify all of these contracts and support them regardless of what the USET decides to do.

The USET eventually had to concede that its contracts with coaches like Klaus Balkenhol and Mark Phillips won't terminate when the OA does, and nothing is forcing the USET to suspend its funding of programs or stop its operations. Jim Wolfe explained the real problem if the OA expires is not that the USET will want to withdraw athlete funding ("the last thing the USET wants to do is withdraw athlete funding") or cease to be able to perform its functions, but that if the OA expired the USET will have to get together with the AHSA to work out new parameters for their responsibilities that were governed by the OA, and the USET does not like the uncertainty of that situation.

David O'Connor explained that from the athlete's perspective, all of the USET programs for the next 9 months or so are already in place -- grants have been given, the arrangements are already made. The only way that would fail is if the USET decides to withdraw funding, and he can't imagine why it would do that since funding these programs is its reason for existence. The issues regarding the OA, therefore, are really issues of determining spheres of influence on an administrative level, not on a level that affects the athlete programs.

The last question the committee asked was whether the AHSA would allow the USET to continue to perform "relatively unfettered" the functions it has been performing, even without the OA in place. Alan Balch said yes, absolutely, and it would be relatively unfettered. He could not say absolutely unfettered because of the duties the AHSA has as the NGB. But the AHSA sees no reason why the USET cannot continue to operate in the interim while the NGB challenge in being decided.

The questioning from the USOC people was very evenhanded in challenging each side's assertions, and I honestly could not get a feel how they will decide. They are primarily concerned with the athletes and with making sure that the athletes programs are not disrupted.

The USOC people were disappointed, I think, that the AHSA did not agree to extend the OA and thereby take this very hot potato out of the USOC's hands, but I think they are certainly sharp enough to know why the AHSA could not agree to do that. And I hope they are sharp enough to see that the USET is using this whole irreparable harm claim as a power play (that's my opinion, at least) and it has no intention of folding its tents on Monday and abandoning everything already in place.

I liked the attitude of one USOC committee member very much, Cynthia Kelly who comes from the badminton world -- she specifically asked how this situation might affect the welfare of the horses.

Oh, and there was a reporter there - a stringer from the San Antonio Star-Ledger who was there freelancing for "some horse magazines." He couldn't remember which exactly, but we will see some stories from him on it. He asked me for a little bit of background on what was happening, and caught on quickly to what the proceedings were about. I know he got a copy of the NGB Challenge the USET filed along with some relevant correspondence and the directive to the committee for what they were to do in the meeting, so that should be appearing somewhere.

posted Feb. 24, 2001 [/quote]

Thank you Portia!!!

Weatherford
Feb. 25, 2001, 10:40 AM
I have been asked to reprint Portia�s report from the AHSA/USET/USOC meeting o save people from having to search through the 14 pages of posts on the original thread.

For those who want to read the entire thread: http://chronofhorse.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=691099205&f=602099205&m=865097438&p=1

Portia�s reports are on page 14: http://chronofhorse.infopop.net/2/OpenTopic?q=Y&a=tpc&s=691099205&f=602099205&m=865097438&p=14

[quote} Report from San Antonio (Portia)

This is the short version - I've got pages of notes with what people said.

Here's the short version - The USOC cancelled the compliance review scheduled for today because of the USET filing the official Article 8 challenge to AHSA as the NGB, which is USOC's SOP in such situations (enough acronyms do you think?) But the USET (Bob Standish) had sent a letter to USOC saying that the USET and its athlete programs will be irreparably harmed if the Operating Agreement is not extended past its expiration tomorrow.

So today turned into a hearing to find out whether the AHSA can immediately assume all the functions that the USET has been performing to get the athletes ready over the next six months of the challenge process. The USET asked the USOC to take over the functions of the NGB as far as athlete programs and dispursing money goes, or to officially give those responsibilities to the USET during the challenge period.

The USOC Membership and Credentials Committee was delegated by the USOC Executive Committee to hear the immediate issue on an emergency basis and make a recommendation to the Exec. Comm. So, much of the materials each side had prepared for the compliance review became temporarily irrelevant and the only issues were (1) whether the parties would agree to extend the OA, which the USOC Exec Comm asked them to do, and (2), if not, whether the programs and preparation would be irreparably harmed if the relief the USET requested was not granted.

Alan Balch explained that the AHSA could not agree to extend the OA because the USET is using the existence of the OA as the primary basis for claiming AHSA is out of compliance and that USET should be made the new NGB. David O'Connor and Alan Balch both asked several times whether the USET was going to stop funding programs and fulfilling the function for which it exists simply because the OA would no longer be in place, and the AHSA did not see any reason why the USET would have to close up shop as it is threatening to do. They operated together without an OA for 46 years, they can do it again. They never got an answer from the USET people, except that Jim Wolfe finally said that "the last thing the USET wants to do" is interrupt the athlete funding and programs.

Both parties presented their arguments, Alan Balch, David O'Connor, Jim Wofford, Kathy Meyer, Kate Jackson, Peter Alkalay (lawyer), Ira Finkelstein (lawyer), John Boesch (development consultant - media, fundraising, sponsorship, etc.), and others for the AHSA.

For the USET, Armand Leone, Eric Strauss, Jim Wolfe, Bonnie Jenkins, Robert Dover, Mark Leone, Mike Huber. and the Mark Piawar(?), CFO for the USET, and their lawyer Ed Williams.

The AHSA's main point was that if the USET refuses to continue to perform its functions the AHSA has international staff ready to go and it has $7 million sitting in the bank ready to fund whatever programs are necessary, and it has passed a budget to fund and fulfill all the athelete programs. The AHSA emphasized that it wants a unified sport and that this is a great opportunity to develop a unified sport with increased sponsorship, and it hopes the USET will participate in that opportunity. However, if the USET continues to chose not to do so, the AHSA is prepared to and able to assume all the functions the USET has performed without interruption of athlete programs or services.

The USET's main point was that it is the one who has funded and fielded the teams and it has the programs in place and the contacts and experience to be able to serve the atheletes, and the AHSA doesn't -- can't remember whether it was Leone or Dover who said the AHSA proposal was "all smoke and mirrors." Leone insisted that all the AHSA has is plans and proposals (pipe dreams, I think he said but don't quote me on that), and could not take over the USET functions.

Alan said the AHSA can and will assume those functions, but how much the AHSA has to do depends on what the USET decides. He pointed out that the USET has known about the expiration date of the OA for a very long time but delayed until the last minute to raise this "emergency" for strategic reasons, the USET has caused its own problems. He said the USET is saying the sky is falling, and the sky is not falling.

The USOC committee members asked various questions. It was very hard to tell which way they were thinking, the questions were pretty evenly divided challenging each' side's assertions -- other than that they really wanted the AHSA to agree to extend the OA so it would take the problem out of their hands.

The athletes (O'Connor, Dover, Huber, and Mark Leone) met privately with the Committee for several minutes.

The Committee met in closed session after dismissing the parties to decide what recommendation to make to the USOC Exec Committee, and they were going to keep it confidential and the word on the final decision would have to come from the Exec Comm.

I have pages of notes with details, but that will take awhile to get put together. I wish I could give you something concrete, but we won't know until the USOC decides on the USET request for relief to avoid alleged irreparable harm - that decision will only be for the period of the challenge review, though. The USOC has appointed a hearing panel to deterimine the challenge, and that will apparently take about 6 months.

Part 2

A couple of more things:

Not a lot of hard facts today, but one thing that struck me as significant.

The USET got 40% of its entire operating budget for last year from a total of 7 people. Alan Balch mentioned that fact in saying that the sport can no longer depend on a few individuals and needs to develop a broad base of support. The AHSA proposals are designed to try to achieve that with a concerted and professional program to develop sponsorship. That's why the sponsorship consultant was at the meeting today.

Another thing, the USET threw out some budget numbers for the money they say they have budgeted and have in hand for athlete programs; however, Alan Balch, Jim Wofford, and David O'Connor are all on the USET board of trustees and confirmed that the USET has not yet presented a budget for 2001. Apparently the USET has set a meeting for this week sometime to address the budget, but Alan Balch emphasized that the USET has refused to present one to the trustees up until now.

Also, according to what David O'Connor said, approximately $6 million or more of the USET budget does not go to any athlete programs.
Because the USET did not have budget numbers and would not provide them to the AHSA, the AHSA had to try to reverse engineer the budget used for athlete programs by interviewing various people involved in them. When the USET people said the budget passed by the AHSA two days ago to fund athlete programs would not be sufficient, the AHSA people said that it should be, but if for any reason it is not, the AHSA has the money in the bank to increase the funding to ensure that athlete programs are not disrupted.

I'll give you more details tomorrow.

PART III
I checked back in, but this is the last time tonight!

The issue now before the USOC is whether the USET's assertion that the expiration of the Operating Agreement will cause irreparable harm to the athlete programs and ability to prepare a team and put them forward for the 2002 World Games. The USOC does not have the power to force the parties to extend the OA -- it is a private contract and if one of the parties does not agree to extend it, then they can't force it to stay in place. Alan Balch and the AHSA were absolute in saying the AHSA cannot agree to extend the OA because of the claims asserted by the USET in its challenge to become the NGB.

The USOC is to first decide whether the AHSA is capable of organizing and funding the athlete programs during the interim period while the challenge procedure is going forward and whether irreparable harm will occur. If the USOC determines that the AHSA is not capable of doing so, then it will decide whether the USOC itself will assume the responsibilities for dispursing funds and coordinating activities, or delegate that authority to the USET (as the USET has requested) and thus "preserve the status quo" until the NGB decision is made.

The USET was complaining that its contracts with its coaches for the teams might be endangered by the expiration of the OA. The counsel for the Committee asked why the USET went ahead and entered into these new contracts with Mark Phillips, Klaus Balkenhol, even David O'Connor just last week, when they knew very well for many months exactly when the OA would expire. Armand Leone's response was that they "had to move ahead or fall behind," so they felt they had to get the contracts in place despite the uncertainty. Alan Balch said the AHSA believes that these people are committed to winning and to the US athletes, not to the USET individually, and the AHSA will ratify all of these contracts and support them regardless of what the USET decides to do.

The USET eventually had to concede that its contracts with coaches like Klaus Balkenhol and Mark Phillips won't terminate when the OA does, and nothing is forcing the USET to suspend its funding of programs or stop its operations. Jim Wolfe explained the real problem if the OA expires is not that the USET will want to withdraw athlete funding ("the last thing the USET wants to do is withdraw athlete funding") or cease to be able to perform its functions, but that if the OA expired the USET will have to get together with the AHSA to work out new parameters for their responsibilities that were governed by the OA, and the USET does not like the uncertainty of that situation.

David O'Connor explained that from the athlete's perspective, all of the USET programs for the next 9 months or so are already in place -- grants have been given, the arrangements are already made. The only way that would fail is if the USET decides to withdraw funding, and he can't imagine why it would do that since funding these programs is its reason for existence. The issues regarding the OA, therefore, are really issues of determining spheres of influence on an administrative level, not on a level that affects the athlete programs.

The last question the committee asked was whether the AHSA would allow the USET to continue to perform "relatively unfettered" the functions it has been performing, even without the OA in place. Alan Balch said yes, absolutely, and it would be relatively unfettered. He could not say absolutely unfettered because of the duties the AHSA has as the NGB. But the AHSA sees no reason why the USET cannot continue to operate in the interim while the NGB challenge in being decided.

The questioning from the USOC people was very evenhanded in challenging each side's assertions, and I honestly could not get a feel how they will decide. They are primarily concerned with the athletes and with making sure that the athletes programs are not disrupted.

The USOC people were disappointed, I think, that the AHSA did not agree to extend the OA and thereby take this very hot potato out of the USOC's hands, but I think they are certainly sharp enough to know why the AHSA could not agree to do that. And I hope they are sharp enough to see that the USET is using this whole irreparable harm claim as a power play (that's my opinion, at least) and it has no intention of folding its tents on Monday and abandoning everything already in place.

I liked the attitude of one USOC committee member very much, Cynthia Kelly who comes from the badminton world -- she specifically asked how this situation might affect the welfare of the horses.

Oh, and there was a reporter there - a stringer from the San Antonio Star-Ledger who was there freelancing for "some horse magazines." He couldn't remember which exactly, but we will see some stories from him on it. He asked me for a little bit of background on what was happening, and caught on quickly to what the proceedings were about. I know he got a copy of the NGB Challenge the USET filed along with some relevant correspondence and the directive to the committee for what they were to do in the meeting, so that should be appearing somewhere.

posted Feb. 24, 2001 [/quote]

Thank you Portia!!!

wtywmn4
Feb. 25, 2001, 11:29 AM
We're a slow moving lot Weatherford. Toddling on over /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Thank you and Portia for working so diligently. This is something everyone involved with horses needs to read, and ask questions about.

Duffy
Feb. 25, 2001, 11:43 AM
Wow! This should prove to be interesting. Thank you so much for delivering your up-to-date information!

Lord Helpus
Feb. 25, 2001, 11:53 AM
I am coming over here from the old thread. The quote below is from the old thread:

<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> The USET people may read the boards as well, I don't know, but I would think they would want to know what's going on out there with the little people <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I would like to think so also, but I doubt it. As some of you may not know, (I posted on the other long thread), I sent back the funds solicitation request with a note saying that I was not donating any more money to the USET as long as they were taking their current stance (actually my exact words were "until the USET stops acting like a horse's patootie").

I got a letter back from them that was basically a non-letter, but at least it showed me that SOMEONE had read my note and reacted to it.

I encourage all those people who think that the USET is not working in the best interests of our sport to write them and tell them so, whether or not they are currently soliciting money or membership dues from you.

ohnowwhat
Feb. 25, 2001, 12:00 PM
A nice line-drawing chart, showing how the money that comes in from the "Big Money 7" relates to which horse and what projects and so forth.

I'll sit right here by the computer until it appears (like on the old Etch-a-Sketch thingies).... Ha Ha Ha

/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Astraled
Feb. 25, 2001, 01:07 PM
Good job, Portia; that was great!

wtywmn4
Feb. 25, 2001, 01:52 PM
Would you like us to bring you food and water ohnowwhat? Or maybe a cot to stretch out on? /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Louise
Feb. 25, 2001, 02:42 PM
There is a lot of good solid food for thought here Portia. I add my thanks for taking the time out of you busy life to attend this meeting and bring back such a comprehensive report to us.

JustaLurker
Feb. 25, 2001, 03:30 PM
for all your hard work. This report certainly puts a lot of meat on the table. Hopefully the USOC representatives can see through the smoke screens being sent up by the USET group.

Cheers, Maggi

Twister
Feb. 25, 2001, 03:56 PM
Portia and Weatherford, thanks for being so clear and concise. I also am glad someone thought about the horses and not just the selfish concerns of all the "horse's patooties"!

I find that Big 7 thing really, really disturbing.

Portia
Feb. 25, 2001, 05:20 PM
The stuff above sets the key things that happened. Now I'm going to go through my notes and give you as much detail as I wrote down. Probably too much, but some of you are just as maschochistic as I am (and no, Moesha, I don't mean you!) /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

The USOC Membership and Credentials Committee held a private session at 9:00 am. Right before the scheduled 10:00 am meeting,, the USOC staff passed out a short memo saying that the Committee had met and a motion was passed suspending the compliance review (whether the AHSA is in compliance with the Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Ace and the USOC Constitution and By-laws) because of the USET's formal Art. 8 (of the USOC By laws) challenge to the AHSA's status as National Governing Body for Equestrian, and this was the usual practice in such situations.

The meeting began with the Chair of the USOC Committee announcing that Sandy Baldwin, President of the USOC, has appointed a Hearings Panel (of USOC people) to determing the Art. 8 Challenge. The members of that Panel are:
Bill Stapleton
Steve Locke
Herb Perez
Lisa Boite
Tom Osborn
Jeff Benz, USOC Asso. Counsel, was assigned to assist the Panel.

The parties made no objection to the members of the hearing panel.

Herb Perez, on the Membership Committee and recused himself from further involvement, and left. The parties agreed that Jeff Benz, also a member of the Membership Comm., did not have to recuse himself since he will be acting as counsel to the panel.

The USOC Exec. Comm. asks the AHSA and USET to continue the Operating Agreement until the USOC rules on the Art. 8 challenge. If the parties refuse, the Exec Comm has appointed the Membership and Credentials Comm as a proxy for the Hearing Committee to examine the claim of irreparable harm and determine the question of whether the AHSA can effectively fulfill the functions of the NGB for equestrian during the pendancy of the complaint (discussed in parts I and II above).

Steve Sobel, Chair of the Committee, asks if there is agreement on the extension of the OA. USET wants to extend it, AHSA feels it cannot because of the USET using it as a basis for challenging AHSA's NGB status.

Everybody introduces themselves. The members of the Membership Comm are:

Steve Sobel (Chair)
Gary Johanssen - USOC General Counsel's office
Jeff Benz - USOC Asso. Counsel (formerly a figure skater, athlete representative to the USOC, and very experienced in USOC matters)
Perry Towels - comes from Modern Pentathalon
Marie Walker
Kate Burton
_________ Witty
Jack Ingraham
Tom Satrum - comes from curling
Cynthia Kelly - comes from badminton
mari Nankameyer - comes from soccer

Representing the USET are:
Armand Leone
Eric Strauss
Jim Wolfe
Bonnie Jenkins
Bob Standish
Mark Piawar (sp?) - CFO
Robert Dover
Mark Leone
Mike Huber
Ed Williams, outside counsel

Representing the AHSA are:
Alan Balch
David O'Connor
Jim Wofford
Kathy Meyer
Kate Jackson
John Boesch - Sports marketing consultant
Deborah Bowker - Served as facilitator for the SPI, Communications consultant
Michael Harrigan - consultant, helped to draft the Sports Act
Ira Finklestein - outside counsel
Peter Alkalay - outside counsel

The only other people who were there were me and the stringer for the San Antonio Star Ledger

The parties then presented their arguments. They were curtailed from what was planned because of the switch from the compliance review to the irreparable harm review. The AHSA went first followed by the USET.

To be continued.

Portia
Feb. 25, 2001, 06:05 PM
AHSA Presentation

The AHSA has a power point presentation, but goes through it fairly quickly since it was for the compliance review. Alan Balch discusses the strengths, assets, and abilities of the AHSA. The AHSA sees two alternatives, the USET and AHSA can join together to make a unified and strong equestrian governing body, or the AHSA can continue alone and do it all - which it can do without any interruption of services to athletes.

David O'Connor comments:

Equetrian is unique because for every human athlete you have another athlete, the horse, so they have to be treated as a pair of athletes in all respects. Also men and women compete on an equal basis against one another. and the human athletes competing in multiple Olympics is not at all unusual because of the time it takes to develop the requisite skill and technique involved in horse sports.

Equestrian is also unusual because, unlike most other sports, once an athlete becomes an elite athlete, he or she continues to compete at all levels of the sport, because the athletes partner -- the horse -- changes. It's not like Michael Johnson who once he reaches the top in track and field only competes in the most elite events. There's an old saying that "a rider is only as good as the horse you're sitting on," and even the most elite athletes continue to compete at the lowest levels because they have young and inexperienced horses who have to start at those levels. So, the idea of a unified organization and a seamless route from the grassroots to the elite levels is even more important to equestrian.

Alan Balch --
AHSA fulfills the requirements of the NGB and has the capacity and capability to ensure no interruption or disruption of athlete programs.

They showed a 3 1/2 minute long film showing the AHSA offices in Lexington, emphasizing that the AHSA has the infrastructure and personnel (over 100 employees) to do the job. Also, the AHSA is capable of getting things done on short notice, as the entire AHSA building in Lexington at the Horse Park took one year from conception to completion, and was finished on time and under budget.

Kathy Meyer addresses the question of finances and how the AHSA can step in and finance the transition -- Her comments:

The AHSA has changed in the last 10 years. It is no longer a struggleing non-profit. When it decided to move to Lexington, it did so in one year and was on time and on budget. The AHSA has substantial reserves, and a substantial investment portfolio. The sport is growing, and the AHSA has the financial strength to help continue to build and grow the sport.

AB comments --
The packets [the big filing from Feb. 15] the committee recieved has all the financial details. Another issue is international experience, and contrary to the USET's assertions, over 2/3ds of the people on the AHSA board have substantial international experience.

A key role of the NGB is to protect the integrity of competition, the health and welfare of the athletes, and most especially the health and welfare of the equine athletes. The AHSA is the organization that sets the rules, does the testing, sees to grievances and discipline, and defends the welfare of the horse in court when necessary.

David --
This is not only a decision on the NGB, it is a decision on the National Federation for Equestrian under the FEI. The FEI is the international governing body for equestrian and it recognizes 7 disciplines, only 3 are Olympic disciplines. The sport has many cross-discipline issues. The first equestrian gold medalist, Bill Steinkraus, did not start out in show jumping where he won his medal, he started out in another discipline. There are many people who cross over from one horse discipline to another. So you can't divorce the Olympic disciplines or the FEI disciplines from other horse sports.

The big issue for him has always been "did you have a chance to compete?" The AHSA offers that opportunity to compete to all people at all levels in all disciplines.

AB --
The AHSA is 80,000 athletes strong. Some are elite, some are developing, some aspiring, some hobbiests, some small children. But they are all equestrian athletes.

Jim Wofford comments:
He is somewhat unique in that he has spent his whole life deeply involved in both the AHSA and the USET. His father founded the USET, and he grew up in both organizations. When he [Jim Wofford] was AHSA President and Bill Steinkraus was chairman of the USET, they spent a disproportionate amount of their time dealing with issues between the two orgs. He is therefore a strong proponant of a consolidated organization to serve these functions.

Unlike many other sports, equestrian does not have a high school and college structure for development of the grassroots of the sport to the highest levels. Instead, rather than the private school system, the AHSA is the structure for development of the grass roots to the elite levels.

John Boesch, Sports Marketing Consultant --

Marketing and sponsorship is a numbers game. While there are 80,000 members of the AHSA, there are over 2 1/2 million households with horses in the US. Coming to equestrian from other sports, he has never seen better demographics to offer to corporate sponsors, however, those "deliverables" have not been strongly presented to the sponsors.

The transformation the sport faces here offers an opportunity for reshaping the perception of the sport. They need to examine the entire structure of the sport to determine common themes and appeals, then develop a consistent set of deliverables to attract sponsors to the sport as a whole. The AHSA is developing a unified marketing strategy with concrete benefits to attract sponsors who cherish the demographics offered by the sport [primarily females with disposible income] but who have never been approached before in an organized manner.

Question from Sobel --
The USOC received a letter from Bob Standish dated Feb. 22 saying the sport will suffer irreparable harm if the Operating Agreement is not extended. What is the AHSA position on that?

AB -- The funds are available today. The AHSA passed a new budget after receiving the challenge to cover the new responsibilities for funding and fielding the athlete programs. The AHSA has a new $15 million plus budget, with over 2.8 million [not sure I heard that number correctly] for direct athlete programs, with money for each discipline.

Benz -- How does the AHSA budget compare with the USET budget for this period?

AB -- The USET has refused to pass a budget for 2001, so the AHSA can't compare. The AHSA therefore did research with people involved in each of the athlete programs and came up with an estimate of what is necessary and appropriate for the first year of a quadrennia. (Can't compare it to 2000 because that was an Olympic year.)

David -- What goes to the athlete is the discipline budget. The AHSA discipline budget is equivalent to the USET discipline budget, and no athlete programs will be lost. The remainder of the USET budget, around $6 million, does not go to athlete programs.

AB -- The AHSA can do the job without any interruption of athlete services or programs. However, it does not understand why the USET claims the athlete programs will cease with the expiration of the OA. As a Trustee and officer of the USET, he knows it is the USET's mandate to fund and fulfill those programs, and they did so for 46 years without any operating agreement. Those programs will stop only if the USET wants them to stop.

End of AHSA Presentation.

Portia
Feb. 25, 2001, 06:48 PM
USET Presentation

Armand Leone --
The USET is here to ensure that athlete programs continue without interruption. The AHSA can't and won't do that. The AHSA is a horse shows organization; it puts on horse shows, it does not perform the functions of the NGB.

The USET has performed the functions of an NGB for 50 years, funding and fielding teams. The USET is an athlete driven organization.

The AHSA is not able or ready to take on athlete programs. THe AHSA has no athlete programs or funding in place, no discipline support staff, no coaches hired, no experience in training. The AHSA proposal is nothing but a concept based on the wishful thinking of consultants. If it tries to take over the athlete programs, it will fail. The USET is real, it is in place and the programs are in place. The USET cares about the athletes.

Bob Standish --
USET has the staff experienced in representing equestrian athletes. The key staff person is the discipline director for each discipline, who has almost intimate knowledge of its athletes and their needs. The AHSA doesn't have that.

The USET has corporate sponsors for about $2 million. That sponsorship is in danger and the USET risks losing support from individuals if it is disenfranchised. It has an endowment program of almost $10 million pledged, and individual contributions.

Mark Pilowar (sp?), CFO --
The Team is financially strong. It has had excellent audit letters from the USOC and is the only group to have received 2 perfect audit letters.

Benz interrupts -- We need to address the narrow issue of irreparable harm.

Pilowar -- For 2001, the USET has budgeted $1.9 million for Olympic disciplines and $3.3 million for non-Olympic disciplines, a total budget of $4.6 million for athlete programs, which is fully funded.

Jim Wolfe --
The USET has a High Performance Plan for each discipline, including a high performance pipeline for riders for each discipline. He lists various development and training programs including for juniors and young riders.

The High Performance Plan deals also with setting the standards for selection of teams, and those take time to put together.

The USET also serves the athletes by hiring coaches and staff, and that is not done overnight. The contracts with Mark Phillips take months to negotiate. Getting Klaus Balkenhol is a real coup. They also have coaches for other disciplines, including David O'Connor for eventing young riders, and is working on finding an official coach for show jumping.

The USET also arranges tours for athletes to compete abroad, which is absolutely necessary to international success. And the USET arranges corporate sponsorship for events like Rolex, who donates $350,000 for the Rolex three day event. The USET also deals with the USOC in [human] athlete drug testing programs and coordination.

The USET people have established relationships necessary for preparation for international competitions. He books hotel rooms for athletes, coaches, and owners, and examines horse shipping arrangements.

All of that takes time to set up and develop, and the AHSA can't do it.

Mike Huber --
He came up through the USCTA, which provides a clear path to the elite levels through its horse trials and three day event competitions to the USET. David is right in that the elite athletes do continue to compete at the grass roots levels because of the horses, and there is a clear path to the elite levels. [He does not mention that the USCTA horse trials and events that provide that clear path are all AHSA events]

Bonnie Jenkins --
She recites a list of USET programs and competitions, including the USET Talent Search classes in show jumping and the Equestrian Festival at Gladstone. [She doesn't mention that the USET Talent Search are individual classes held at AHSA shows]

Robert Dover --
As he grew up riding, he always dreamed of being a member of the USET. The AHSA was just a group he had to belong to to be able to show at the lower levels.

As he read through the AHSA proposal, he kept thinking "this is all smoke and mirrors." It's all plans and proposals, nothing concrete or in place.

It's a matter of trust and the athletes trust the USET.

Armand Leone --
They've heard from the people who do the work, not "consultants." The USET has the programs in place. The AHSA is not ready to take on the USET's responsibilities. The AHSA budget is not sufficient to fund the athletes.

End of USET presentation

SoEasy
Feb. 25, 2001, 06:56 PM
that no where in the USET presentation did they deal with that issue of irreparable harm?
and that they told less than the entire truth in many of their pronouncements.
I sincerely hope that USOC members have their eyes and ears really open on this one.

Portia
Feb. 25, 2001, 07:22 PM
Questioning from Committee.

Question from someone on the committee --
The USET says its coaching contracts are in danger if the OA expires. Why would the USET lose the coaches? Do the contracts say they can only work for the USET and no other organization?

Wolfe -- Mark Phillips' contract does say that. Klaus Balkenhol's does not, but these guys are winners adn they want to work with winners.

Benz -- The USET has known the OA expires Monday all along, so why did it negotiate these new contracts that extend well beyond the date of the OA?

Armand Leone -- We had to move forward or fall behind. We had to prepare, these things take time and we have the World Games in 2001 to get ready for, so we had to take that chance.

Benz -- The USET has known about the expiration of the OA for months, why did it wait until so late [Thursday, Feb. 22] to raise the irreparable harm claim?

Leone -- It was not clear until the USET got the papers filed by the AHSA that the AHSA would immediately move to take over the USET functions and so it did not know about the risk of the irreparable harm. [This claim is based on a statement in the AHSA filing that if the USET chose not to perform the functions it has been performing, the AHSA was ready and able to assume and perform those functions at the expiration of the OA]

Dover -- He thought that the OA would be extended and go forward, because at the initial SPI meeting David O'Connor strongly supported extending the agreement while the negotiations were continuing.

David O'Connor -- Why is the USET saying that its programs will end when the OA expires? He sees no reason why they should do so.

Leone -- Without the OA, the AHSA can take back responsibilities at any time, and the USET cannot live with that uncertainty.

Benz -- Why does the USET think the AHSA budget for athlete programs is insufficient.

Leone -- Because it is; the USET budget for athlete programs is much higher than what is in the AHSA budget that was passed but he voted against.

Benz -- To the AHSA, what about these budget concerns?

Alan Balch -- He doesn't know where the USET got these numbers because no 2001 budget has been presented by the USET. Alan and David and Jim know because they are trustees of the USET, and there is no budget. The USET has, however, finally set a meeting for next week, so maybe these are the numbers they plan to present then.

The AHSA has $7 million in the bank, and with all due respect to Robert, it is not all smoke and mirrors. They do not have the numbers from the USET, so they can't compare them. The AHSA believes the amounts it has budgeted for athlete program expenditures are sufficient, however, should it turn out they are not, the AHSA will increse them. It has the funds on hand to do so, and will absolutely ensure that there is no interruption of athlete services.

How much money they have to spend comes down to what the USET intends to do. The mission of the USET is to fund and field teams. Does it intend to stop doing that when the OA expires?

Benz -- Is the AHSA is ready to perform all the duties of the NGB if the USET stops on Monday?

Balch -- The AHSA has the infrastructure and the funds, and the people. It sees no roadblocks to keeping the coaches like Phillips and Balkenhol and O'Connor. He believes that rather than being dedicated to the USET as an entity, they are dedicated to helping the sport succeed in the United States.

The AHSA currently has 11 people devoted full time to international matters. The USET has a total staff of 30 to 35. Every entry ever made for international competition for US riders has been made by the AHSA.

David -- For the programs for the next 9 months, they are all in place and guaranteed, such as the awarding of grant money and the organization of the things to take place in the next 9 months. So unless the USET directly withdraws funds, all of that is in place and will not fall apart.

Benz -- It sounds like the AHSA evnisions the USET continuing, or have you had any discussion about that?

Balch -- We've had lots of discussions about it, and the AHSA wanted those discussions to start much sooner than they did but the USET refused to discuss anything until after the Olympics, even though everyone knew when the OA would expire. THe OA was extended to cover those talks. However, the AHSA cannot agree to extend the OA any longer because the USET is using its existence as the basis for its Art. 8 challenge.

Benz -- Would you extend the OA if it could be done without prejudice to any of your positions in the challenge proceedings? Why can't you agree to extend the OA during the interim period of the challenge proceedings?

Balch -- The AHSA can't see how it could be done without prejudice, except on a purely legal basis. The USET has no incentive to work with the AHSA to grow and unify the sport so long as the OA is in place. The OA is not the solution, and it has not led to a healthy situation or a solution of the problems between the AHSA and USET.

Benz -- Can we work out something short of the USOC having to rule on the irreparable harm issues, because that is a dice roll for both parties.

Balch -- The AHSA cannot see what incentive the USET will ahve to come together so long as the OA is in place.

Sobel -- You're leaving us a choice between something old which seems to be working and something new and untried.

Balch -- It depends on what the USET does. The AHSA does not see any reason why the programs and the USET cannot continue without the OA. Does the USET intend to stop its operations when the OA expires?

Benz -- The USET seems to be concerned that there may be some representations and warranties in their contracts, such as with coaches, may be endangered by not having an OA.

[The AHSA people repeatedly ask whether the USET will continue to fund athletes and programs without the OA]

Benz -- [to USET] Explain to us why the USET can't continue to do what is is doing without the OA.

Wolfe -- If the OA goes out the window, the last thing they are going to want to do is withdraw funding. But they will have to get together with the AHSA to work out new parameters for how responsibilities will be allocated between them. All that is currently spelled out in the OA.

Cynthia Kelly -- What NGB functions does the AHSA currently perform?

Balch -- There's a long list in the materials submitted to the committee, and he can't remember all of them. But they include sanctioning of competitions, international entries, grievances and discipline, governance of the sport on an overall basis at the national level. Prior to the OA in the last quadrennia, the AHSA handled many things themselves, and under the OA it has shared responsibility for some of them with the USET as indicated in the materials.

Hopefully the USET will contiue to work with the AHSA, but if it choses not to do so, the AHSA is prepared to do whatever is necessary.

Comments from Athletes to follow.

Snowbird
Feb. 25, 2001, 07:29 PM
Talk about smoke and mirrors. The USET is the expert in that illusion.

I agree, where was their argument of irreparable damge? And, what would most of those programs be without the support from the AHSA. They admitted that they all belong to the AHSA because most of their events are AHSA. Without AHSA how would they ever train a young horse?

They have promises for donations but that isn't solid. Would they have any grassroots without the AHSA. They have no physical assets, they depend totally on the good will of those who are willing to buy horses for them.

Geez! where is a Bert Denemethy when you really need one? I don't believe for one minute that Bill Steinkraus agrees with their notion.

Portia
Feb. 25, 2001, 07:54 PM
Forgot one question from the committee --

Sobel -- So who is equetrian going to send to the next USOC Board meeting?

Balch -- That's not completely settled, though they have proposed David O'Connor and they can't imagine why there would be any objection to him.

Comment from Athletes

Mark Leone -- He is newly elected to the USOC Active Athletes Committee, and he has reached out to the athletes in the sport to find out what they want. What's best for the athletes is to retain the status quo.

Dover -- He liked the question about who was going to represent Equestrian on the USOC Board because his name was raised at the AHSA annual meeting, and the AHSA temporarily accepted the nomination [apparently along with others], but it has since become unclear.

In his opinion it is all a matter of trust, and the athletes have spoken [through the USET vote and petition] about who they trust and that's the USET. If the USOC goes along with the AHSA it will cause tremendous division among the athletes.

David -- The athletes' voice isn't really being heard because they have not been educated sufficiently to make a decision. He's received lots of calls from athletes asking questions. What the athletes are really concerned with is whether their programs will be in place and will the coaches and funding be there.

The issue of the OA involves spheres of influence on an administrative level. It those issues are argued at an administrative level, he can't see why that would affect the athlete's programs.

Dover -- The athletes may not know all the line items and details, but they know who they trust. From his experience, he has little trust that what the leadership of the AHSA says and what they do will be the same thing.

Marty Nankameyer -- We haven't heard much about the horses. How do they fit into the spheres of influence, and their owners?

Armand Leone -- Didn't get the whole answer - it had to do with the USET dealing with the owners of the horses, and Jim Wolfe says the horses are loaned to the team for the big international competitions so the team has responsibility for their welfare. Leone ends with, The owners support the USET; he doesn't know how they feel about the AHSA.

Balch -- The primary responsibility of the AHSA is protecting the welfare of the horse and ensuring a level playing field and that the rules are followed. The AHSA has its Owners and Breeders Committee who advise and act regarding the needs of the owners and the breeders, because you don't get a horse without starting with a breeder.

The AHSA has actively and vigilently defended the welfare of the horse. One reason the AHSA may not be so popular with some of the athletes is because the AHSA is the disciplinarian.

Marie Walker -- HAve there been issues with the protection of the horses in the past?

Balch -- Yes, then he mentions the horse killing scandals that involved some of the owners and the elite athletes, and how the AHSA defended its actions in expelling those people in court.

Marie Walker -- But that wasn't an issue between the AHSA and USET?

Balch -- Oh no. There have not been any issues between the AHSA and USET about the welfare of the horse.

Huber -- He disputes that the athletes hold anything against the AHSA for enforcing the rules and being the disciplinarian; the athletes appreciate that the AHSA does that.

Benz says that implicit in the request for provisional relief is tha tthe USOC has the power to grant such relief, and asks to hear from the lawyers on that issue, followed by a fairly technical legal discussion of the various provisions of the Ted Stevens Sports Act, the USOC Constitution, and the USOC By-laws.

The athletes had previously asked to meet breifly with the committee in closed session without the parties present so they can speak freely. David O'Connor still wants to do so, so they retire to closed session for several minutes. followed by closing remarks from the parties.

Portia
Feb. 25, 2001, 08:12 PM
Closing Statements and Final Questions

Armand Leone -- They have heard the positions of the USET. It is concerned about the athletes and the programs that are ongoing and in effect. The time is short and the USET has to get ready for the World Games in 2002.

The AHSA has presented plans and proposals, not what can be done now. The AHSA cannot fund and field the team and keep the programs in place.

The USET wants the USOC to take over the programs or delegate responsibility for them to the USET so that they may continue during the challenge period.

Alan Balch -- The USET had known of the expiration of the OA for many months. The only way the USET is harmed irreparably by the expiration of that agreement is if the USET does it to itself. Asking to continue the OA as a strategic maneuver enhances the USET position in the challenge proceedings and prejudices the AHSA.

The AHSA does not believe for a minute that the USET is going to fold its tents and go away on Monday. But if the USET should do so, the AHSA has international staff and a budget in place, and it is ready to do whatever is necessary.

The USET is in no way disenfranchised by the expiration of the OA. The parties worked together for 46 years before the OA and tehy can do it again that way now. The USET request is a fairly cynical ploy, "the sky is falling," but the sky is not falling.

The USET does not have a budget for 2001 yet, but a year ago 7 people contributed 40% of the operating budget of the USET. The sport needs to get away from dependence upon a few individuals, and needs to develop a broad base of support. That is what the AHSA intends to do.

The door is open, and will remain open, for the USET to join together with the AHSA in a consolidated organization to grow the sport for the future.

However, the AHSA is ready to go forward and ensure that there is no interruption of service to athletes.

A Committee member asks again whether the AHSA will agree to extend the OA, and Balch says it cannot.

Benz -- We've talked about what the USET will do when the OA expires, but what about the AHSA. When Monday comes and the OA expires, if the USET continues to operate, will the AHSA allow them to operate relatively unfettered?

Balch -- Absolutely, relatively unfettered. The AHSA has duties as the NGB so it cannot promise to allow the USET to operate absolutely unfettered. But it wants the USET to continue to operate and fund programs and provide services.

Sobel announces that the Committee will meet in private session and vote on the question of whether the AHSA is capable of effectively fulfilling the functions of the NGB during the challenge period and the issue of irreparable harm. It will make a confidential recommendation to the USOC Executive Committee who will then make a final decision and convey it to the parties.

That's it -- end of meeting. I got the feeling the USOC decision would be made quickly, within a few days.

Whew.

weeble
Feb. 25, 2001, 09:02 PM
Portia, that's amazing...what a great report. I may be seeing it in oversimplified terms, but the presentation of USET in my mind is sullen and churlish. They appeared to not deal with any of the "holes" in their situation (no budget, 7 people contributing 40%) and instead hurl the same few catch phrases (trust, etc) into the discussion which doesn't seem to accomplish anything concrete.

The AHSA seems to have a plan and confidence in their exsisting infrastructure and to me the USET position was crystal clear in the exchange between Benz and Leone. When Benz asked why USET felt the AHSA budget for athlete programs was insufficient, Leone's eloquent response, "Because it is..." That was the argument my daugther used to give me when she was, oh, about 10!

ohnowwhat
Feb. 25, 2001, 09:53 PM
Well, to quote William Jefferson Clinton, "It depends on what your definition of is, is."

/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Merry
Feb. 25, 2001, 10:22 PM
I've been reading through all of this, on both threads, and to be honest, I feel so out of the loop. And I know I'm not alone. At "my age" I grew up believing that if you were really talented, got a few good breaks, and got seen at a screening trial, you might get asked back to Gladstone to train. And, if you were really talented, you might get "selected" by the coach to be nutured for a spot on the team.

There are so many of us who are now so apathetic about the USET, because their "elite athletes" are just operating in such a different sphere than most of us. When I read about a huge chunk of the USET's budget being covered by a small cache of wealthy donors, it just solidifies, in my mind, that the USET is not really "my team". It's a team supported by an insulated group of old money socialites.

I hope the AHSA does prevail and at least makes a gallant effort (perhaps via their marketing efforts?) to return some of the home team spirit to our international teams.

Please enlighten me if I'm way off base on this. /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Weatherford
Feb. 26, 2001, 01:49 AM
Just two, actually (so far LOL!)

Of the $10,000,000 PLEDGED to the USET - how much of that is reality? How much from those 7 people? Are the supposed "assets" (the property) now included in the pledge, since they are NOT reality? (And probably never will be.)

How good and WHEN were the two USOC Audits? WHY did they audit the USET and not the AHSA or did they do both or were these before the OA was in place? WHO performed these audits? Did they occur before the massive salary increases of the past two years? Must have, as the last available financial statement appears to be 1998. (Though, there must be one for 1999 somewhere.) We know they have not presented 2000's figures, nor the 2001 budget.

I am really especially curious about the audit - obviously that was not an IRS audit - probably someone just looking through the BS (Balance Sheets) and IS (Income Statements) in a cursory fashion to check for irregularities. That is not the same as digging deep into the figures!

I don't blame the employees of the USET for being fearful they will lose their now cushy jobs - however, they probably wouldn't have had this been a smooth change to a new NGB. Now? Who knows? There certainly are some people there who should be fired, IMHO. Others, it would be a loss to everyone to do so. /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif /infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Louise
Feb. 26, 2001, 03:39 AM
I am, by any manner of speaking, a good example of the complete outsider, as I ride, but do not show. I have to agree with Merry, that a lot of this was new to me before I started frequenting this forum. My concern is and always has been the future of the horse industry. I want to see the broadest base of "grassroots" riders receiving the opportunity to rise in their sport.

From what I see here, there really is no choice. The USET is totally focused on the elite rider, with, seemingly, no concern as to where their future elite riders are going to come from. The AHSA with all its flaws and foibles, is at least formulating plans and looking to all those who show.

Portia's wonderful report clearly points out to me the difference between the two. The AHSA has plans in place, the USET wants us to "trust" in them, without presenting anything concrete. How can we depend on an organization where seven people contribute 40% of the funding?

I am especially disappointed in those like Robert Dover, who are blindly following the USET, without taking the time to evaluate the long term consequences. How sad that they have forgotten where they came from.

JRG
Feb. 26, 2001, 04:34 AM
I think I am starting to understand.

One point though (playing devils advocate), It was mentioned that the shows that where attended to broaden the level of competition where that of the AHSA. This is true, but how much of it is because that is where the competition was, and we are forced to because that is what we are taught to believe.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

cmf
Feb. 26, 2001, 05:12 AM
Bravo Portia

wtywmn4
Feb. 26, 2001, 06:21 AM
Once again, and as many others have said, Thank you Portia!!

That report is very insiteful concerning the USET. The pieces of this puzzle, truly have fallen together. Let's hope that there will be a quick end to it.

It's a shame that the AHSA has had to spend so much time on this. Not that it isn't an important subject, it is. But the mindsets of the people who pushed the lawsuit, thought they would get what they wanted, and the AHSA would back down. Happily, the people in charge are not that thin a skin. And they will do what is BEST for the industry, not for a few.

ohnowwhat
Feb. 26, 2001, 06:23 AM
Some of the riders who are promoting the USET position are doing so in no small part because they are "supported" by some of those Big 7.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

wtywmn4
Feb. 26, 2001, 06:26 AM
JRG I don't think I quite understand your question. Do you mean the classes to qualify members for the team? Or educational types? Since the AHSA is our NF/NGB the classes would be held at those shows. The licensing of Officials who judge, steward and vet the international desciplines comes thru the AHSA.

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 06:51 AM
Thanks again. I should make clear that unless something is in quotes, it is not the exact words of the person. I didn't have a tape recorder and I was writing as fast as I can. Most of the stuff is the substance of what the person said, particular comments, and questions. Not word for word.

So I want to make clear that I don't remember if Armand Leone said "because it is [an insufficient budget]." I doubt he was that blunt, but that's what I wrote down because that was the substance of what he said. My recollection is that he said the money budgeted by the AHSA was insufficient to fund the programs, and the USET knew that because they are the ones who have been putting the programs on so they know how much they cost.

That said, I was rather put off by how blunt Dr. Leone was in saying in absolute terms that the AHSA could not possibly do what it said it could do about taking over the programs if necessary. If he was not openly contemptuous of the AHSA, it certainly verged closely on it, in my opinion.

Twister
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:34 AM
Perhaps COTH could buy your article, or the stringer's if you weren't comfortable with it?

I certainly don't think the AHSA is the end all to beat all, but since the USET doesn't care about us little people and have also be unable to field a winning team in quite some time, I'd like to give someone else a chance.

SGray
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:37 AM
You must scribble things down a damn sight faster than I can. Incredible report.

Anne FS
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:52 AM
WONDERFUL job, Portia, thank you so much!

I know that the USET Talent Search takes place as classes at AHSA shows, but does USET set that program up? Same with the Young Riders program. They are wonderful programs and if USET is responsible for creating them, they should get credit. Also couldn't help smiling at all the support for AHSA as a grass-roots organization when half the AHSA vs. non-AHSA shows postings on these boards complain about how AHSA charges a fortune for nothing and doesn't care about the little guy.

However, if AHSA now sees that it NEEDS us little guys....all right, I'm with 'em. And I hope AHSA needs us for more than the fee increases it will probably institute if it takes over the USET work.

Anne FS
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:57 AM
My favorite part of this whole thing, and I hope you all caught it, is that no matter the fighting and quarreling about all of this, that as regards the welfare of the horse, both AHSA and USET are on the same side. No discussion, that's never been an issue, we stand together on that.

No matter what they're fighting about, THAT is never in question. The statement was made (and presumably agreed to by both AHSA & USET: "Oh no. There have not been any issues between the AHSA and USET about the welfare of the horse."

DMK
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:58 AM
Thanks, Portia!

That was a great presentation of the meeting, which FINALLY gave me some insight to the USET's perspective. I'm sorry to say, that they came off as a group who seems to think that they should be in charge of things "just because they say so". The AHSA seemed to try and present rational reasons why they are suited for the job...

Also, I couldn't help but wonder how quickly Armand Leone would get fired if he was a major executive for any corporation that I ever worked for... Can't imagine a performance like that surviving in the "real" world!

Anne FS
Feb. 26, 2001, 08:07 AM
I seem to somehow keep defending USET here....don't know how that keeps happening.:)

DMK wrote: <<[USET]came off as a group who seems to think that they should be in charge of things "just because they say so".>>

Well, no, I didn't get that impression. They want to be in charge not because they say so, but because they've BEEN doing it for 46 years already and doing a pretty good job and they want to continue to do it.

I'm with AHSA in saying that hey, USET did it for 46 years & we want them to keep on doing it, so go ahead. USET saying no to this doesn't seem to make sense...it does all seem to go back to Mrs. Matz doesn't it? Someone is having a power issue...since most of them belong to both organizations I just don't get it.....guess I'll never want to be a despot...

DMK
Feb. 26, 2001, 08:26 AM
AnneFS - guess I could have phrased that a bit better - not to say that they haven't done a fine job in the past, but I haven't seemed to gain what the substance of their plan is other than, as you said, "we've always done it"...

If nothing was forcing them to change, we surely would not be having this BB conversation, and things could happily continue onward. This is not change for change's sake, but required change. And personally, I don't think they have met the challenge as well as I would have wished. Also, think this has revealed that they have not wanted to step forward and change the organization with the changing times.

This crisis reminds me a bit of a recent election... We've used punch ballots in spite of a ton of new and better technology, but it took a national crisis to admit perhaps we weren't doing elections quite as well as we could. Perhaps we are faced with the same issue with our management of our USET teams?

Twister
Feb. 26, 2001, 08:29 AM
Anne, I missed the part about the welfare of the horse vis a vis the AHSA and USET. What do you mean?

SGray
Feb. 26, 2001, 08:32 AM
I went to the "Just Give" sight http://www.justgive.org/html/guide/charity.cgi?org=US%20Equestrian%20Team&flag=org&from_search=1 and typed in USET for search

Was given

Mission:
We provide training, preparation and financing to teams and individuals representing the US in the Olympics, Pan American Games and other international competitions.

Financial Overview:

Amount of Expenses Spent on Programs (More Information)
Total Income $8,812,462
Reporting Year
1998

when I hit the "more information" I got
"NOTE: This organization provides donors with financial information upon request. Please contact them directly if you would like more detail. "

Allyn M
Feb. 26, 2001, 08:57 AM
I could not have written that fast if my life had depended on it !!! I have been through so many hunt club squabbles in my lifetime that this seems to be taking the same course. It unfortunatly has a great deal to do with power and control,Sooner or later the organization comes to a fork in the road and at that time unless one or two of the people within the power struggle feel the need to mediate the issues ,the whole nature of the organization will change. They will be there today as I understand it and if really cool heads do not prevail the horse world is going to lose out. ----------------If an organization is really going to succeed and move forward it needs for individuals to be able to respect each other and to know that each person has something to give and each one of us should appreciate that gift.------ That means from the richest to the poorest and the sweetest to the nastiest and the most arrogant to the most humble ------ Everyone has something they can contribute. ----------- Hopefully they can get together for the good of our horses and riders and for the promotion of the sport.

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 11:42 AM
I'm in the process of reviewing the Ted Stevens Olympic & Amateur Sports Act, the USOC Constitution, and the USOC By-laws to determine what the procedure is from here on for the USET's challenge to the AHSA's status as NGB. I'll post it when I have it all figured out.

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 12:12 PM
Twister, here is the part where they discussed the welfare of the horse and that it has not been an issue between the AHSA and the USET --


<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> Marie Walker -- Have there been issues with the protection of the horses in the past?

Balch -- Yes, then he mentions the horse killing scandals that involved some of the owners and the elite athletes, and how the AHSA defended its actions in expelling those people in court.

Marie Walker -- But that wasn't an issue between the AHSA and USET?

Balch -- Oh no. There have not been any issues between the AHSA and USET about the welfare of the horse. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

The point was that, despite the friction between them, the AHSA and the USET have never accused the other of not protecting the horses or of not being dedicated to the protection of the horses.

Twister
Feb. 26, 2001, 01:31 PM
Anne, I read that part but I thought you were inferring there WAS something between them. My apologies for misreading your meaning!

Snowbird
Feb. 26, 2001, 01:37 PM
It seems to me simply an extension of the same dispute as that with the NHJC. Accountability

When there is a very small town a town meeting can solve all the questions because the whole town fits into one meeting room. As the town grows and the population expands this has to be handled in different ways.

In our old town there were commissioners and each was in charge of something. So, if the sewers were plugged and the water was over running into your house you knew exactly who to call and tell them to get it fixed.

I was given as a gift by the NHJA a copy of a 1940 AHSA Rule Book.It has a total of 168 pages. There were at the most approximately 25 horse shows in the whole country each month. In it there was the total calendar of Member Shows, all the judges and officials and all the points accumulated by those in the AHSA Medal Class. In this book William Steinkraus was out of the ribbons with 41 points. They listed everyone from the winners down to those who had only earned 1 point.

I discovered that way back then they used the same point system we use in our awards program (i.e. 6,5,4,3,2,1) My old barn in West Orange was already on the list running several shows a year.

My point is that yes! times have changed. The AHSA now recognizes over 2500 horse shows a year and with this addition of members comes the need for a new system of communication.

I believe the AHSA has the frame of mind to change and has obviously turned the lights on all the dark corners and is making every effort to keep us all informed through this new electronic media as well as the mail.

The USET on the other hand seems to be choosing to stay behind in the 20th century and ignore the opportunity to get us all involved and interested in what they do, why they do it and how they do it.

Whatever the technicalities of procedure, wherever the money comes from, to me the basic issue is to recognize that the USET cannot any longer function in a vacuum separated from the people that it supposed to represent on the team. There needs to be a clear path of qualifications from the bottom to the top.

Is it possible for the USET starting from scratch to do that, probably. But, why waste all the time and effort that has gone into the AHSA to start from scratch and do it over, and perhaps not as well.

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 06:23 PM
I've looked at the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, the USOC Constitution, and the USOC Bylaws and have figured out where we go from here. For those who are interested in the legal details....

The USET has filed a challenge to the AHSA's status as the National Governing Body for equestrian, and has asked that it be named the NGB in place of the AHSA. I believe the USET filed that challenge on Feb. 22, 2001.

The AHSA has 20 days from the date it received the USET's written challenge to either file an answer to the challenge or file an objection to any jurisdictional or procedural defects in the challenge.

If the AHSA files a jurisdictional or procedural objection, that objection must be decided by the hearing panel within 50 days after the filing of the challenge. The hearing panel decides the issue based upon written submissions and oral argument, not an evidentiary hearing, and must issue a written report with its findings.

If the AHSA does not assert any jurisdictional or procedural objections, it must file an answer to the challenge within 20 days of its receipt of the challenge.

Within 10 days after its receipt of an answer, the USOC President must appoint a hearing panel made up of 5 members of the Board [the President has already done so], and shall notify the parties of the identities of the panel members, the date for the hearing before the panel, and the date for the subsequent hearing before the Board of Directors.

The date set for the initial hearing shall not be less than 40 days after the date of the notice of hearing.

Within 20 days after the date of the notice, the parties shall simultaneously exchange and file with the hearing panel: (a) copies of documents to be introduced at the hearing, (b) witness lists, (c) a summary of the anticipated testimony of the witnesses, and (d) a prehearing memorandum summarizing the positions of the parties.

Within 30 days after the date of the notice, the parties shall simultaneously exchange and file (a) rebuttal documents, (b) lists of rebuttal witnesses, (c) summaries of the rebuttal testimony, and (d) a list of stipulated facts the parties have agreed upon.

The evidentiary hearing shall be held before the Hearing Panel beginning on the date set in the President's notice and such other days as are necessary to complete the hearing. However, the entire hearing should not take longer than a total of 5 days. In the hearing, both parties will be afforded the opportunity to present written and oral evidence and testimony, and oral argument.

The hearing shall be open to the public.

Within 150 days after the filing of the challenge, the Hearing Panel shall prepare and submit a full written report to the USOC Board of Directors summarizing the evidence from the hearing, and forwarding any written materials that the parties have requested by forwarded to the Board.

At least 15 days before the scheduled Board of Directors meeting for the hearing of the challenge, the USOC CEO shall mail all of the Board members a copy of the report of the hearing panel and the other materials requested by the parties. At the hearing, the Board may elect to receive further oral and written evidence or rely upon the report and and materials submitted by the hearing panel.

At the hearing before the Board of Directors, the USET must establish by a preponderance of evidence that --

(1) the USET meets the criteria for recognition as the NGB for equestrian; and

(2) either --

(a) the AHSA does not meet the criteria of being the NGB (set forth in Art. IV sec. 4(C) of the USOC Constitution) or fulfilling the duties of the NGB (set forth in Art. VII sec. 1 of the USOC Constitution), or

(b) the USET more adequately meets the criteria of being the NGB and fulfilling the duites of the NGB, and provides or is capable of providing a more effective national program of competition than the AHSA for equestrian.

The USOC Board of Directors must issue its final written decision within 30 days of the conclusion of the hearing before the Board on the challenge.

The hearing before the USOC Board must be completed not later than 180 days after the filing of the challenge, and the Board must issue its final writted determination no later than 30 days after the conclusion of the hearing.

Based on these requirements, the USOC must issue its final decision within 210 days after Feb. 22, 2001.[/b]

In its determination, the Board may do only one of four things. The Board may either:

(a) uphold the right of the AHSA to continue as the NGB;

(b) revoke recognition of the AHSA as NGB and declare a vacancy for the position of NGB for equestrian;

(c) revoke recognition of the AHSA as NGB and recognize the USET as the NGB for equestrian; or,

(d) decide to place the AHSA on probation for a specified period of time not to exceed 180 days pending compliance of the AHSA, if the AHSA would have retained recognition except for a minor deficiency in one of the requirements for NGB status.

If the Board chooses probation, then within 30 days after the expiration of the probation period, board shall hold a subsequent hearing to determine compliance. If the AHSA has not complied, the Board shall revoke recognition of the AHSA as NGB and either declare the USET as NGB or declare a vacancy in the NGB for equestrian.

Any party to the challenge who considers itself aggrieved by the determination of the Board may, within 30 days of the determination, file a demand for arbitration.

The arbitration details will follow in my next post.

Weatherford
Feb. 26, 2001, 06:53 PM
I do hope the reason this thread was just lost is that you were writing all that!

Thanks again and again!!

/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:00 PM
Oh my gawd, it was lost? Bite your tongue. I'm printing it out now -- no way I can reproduce it!

Allyn M
Feb. 26, 2001, 07:23 PM
Portia ------- Is there a possibility of mediation prior to the final disposition of this ???? It would seem that cool heads need to prevail and the USET IMHO should take advantage of this if there is a opportunity to do so. I would think that if for no other reasom the large membership of the AHSA and the fact that it has a diverse membership would appeal to the board as more representative of the Olympic ideals. ----- We have not discussed very much what is expected of the NGB. Are they in charge of all team events and rules and regulations pertaining to them including drug testing ????

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 08:45 PM
There's no provision for mediation in the Bylaws, but there is always a possiblity of settlement. The AHSA made clear that it's offer of having the USET join with it in an unified organization is not only still open, but is its preference. The USET does not seem interested in that opportunity, however.

I'll post the arbitration stuff now. Finally, something smack dab in the middle of what I do everyday!

Portia
Feb. 26, 2001, 09:30 PM
OK. arbitration is what I do the vast majority of my time in my paying job. /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif So here's what happens if, after the USOC Board rules on the NGB question one of the parties decides to challenge that decision in arbitration.

Arbitration under AAA Commercial Rules

The Sports Act and the USOC Constitution provide for arbitration under the Commercial Arbitration Rules of the American Arbitration Association in effect at the time of filing, with certain statutorily provided exceptions and requirements. These exceptions are:

1. The arbitration will be determined by a panel of 3 arbitrators;

2. the arbitration hearing shall take place at a site selected by the AAA unless the parties agree to another site; and

3. the arbitration hearing shall be open to the public.

Number 3 is a significant exception; arbitrations are generally very private.

(While the USOC has a special contract with the AAA for arbitration of athlete grievances, this would not come under the special rules for such arbitrations.)

Unlike the USOC Constitution and Bylaws, which sets out definate time limits by which things must be done -- apparently with no wiggle room to extend the deadlines -- the AAA Commercial Rules allow substantial flexisbility in when things get done.

A demand for arbitration must be filed within 30 days of the date of the USOC's decision.

When a demand for arbitration is filed, the AAA shall confirm notice of filing to the parties [this is generally done very promptly]. The parties then usually will have an administrative conference with the AAA case administrator to get the AAA familiar with the circumstances of the case and deal with preliminary procedural matters.

Within 15 days after the AAA gives notice confiming the filing of the of demand for arbitration by the claimant, the respondent must file its answer (and any counterclaims it may want to assert). If no answer is filed, the respondent is deemed to deny the claim.

After the filing of the claim but before the appointment of the arbitrators, the parties may assert new claims or counterclaims to AAA; they cannot file new claims after the appointment of arbitrators except with the arbitrators' consent

Immediately after filing the answering statement, the AAA will send out to the parties a list of names of potential arbitrators chosen from the AAA?s commercial arbitration panel.

Under the current version of the AAA Commercial Rules (effective Sept. 30, 2000) and given that the statute does not dictate a method by which the arbitrators shall be selected except in accordance with the AAA rules, all of the arbitrators shall be neutral and independent. I know it sounds strange, but a typical (and in my opinion wasteful) practice in US arbitrations is to have two non-neutral party-appointed arbitrators and only the third arbitrators, the Chair of the Arbitral Panel, is required to be neutral and independent.

The parties should try to agree on the arbitrators, but if they are unable to do so, each party shall within 15 days from the transmittal date of the panel list, strike the names objected to, set out an order of preference for the remaining candidates, and return the list to the AAA, and set out an order of preference for the remaining candidates.

Based on the order of mutual preference of the parties, the AAA shall invite the potential arbitrators to serve. If for any reason the appointments can?t be made from the list, the AAA can appoint the arbitrators from other members of the AAA commercial panel without submitting additional lists to the parties. There is no set time limit by which the AAA must finalize the appointments, and it can turn into a somewhat lengthy process.

The appointed arbitrators must then make written disclosures of any potential conflicts of interest or facts which might reasonably create an appearance of bias or interest. If a party objects to an arbitrator?s service based on the disclosures, the AAA shall determine whether the arbitrator shall be disqualified. Again, there is no set deadlines for this process to be completed.

There is no set deadline by which discovery (to the extent allowed) is to be completed. Neither is there a set deadline by which the parties shall file pre-hearing briefs, or for the arbitration hearing to occur. After the Panel is constituted, there will usually be a pre-hearing conference in which preliminary matters are addressed including scheduling.

The parties by agreement may extend the deadlines provided by the rules, and the Panel has the power to postpone any hearing dates or to extend any of the dates set in the rules, other than the date by which the Arbitral Award must be issued.

Discovery in arbitration is limited in comparison to what is available in the courts. The AAA Rules do provide for the exchange of information by the parties pursuant to the order of the Arbitration Panel, but there is no absolute right to extensive discovery as in the courts.

Each party may be represented by counsel or
by any other authorized representative in the arbitration proceeding. The parties may offer written and oral evidence. However, arbitration is not subject to the same rules of evidence or procedure as a court proceeding. There is no set limit on the length of the hearing, but the Panel can set a time limit.

After the evidentiary hearing, the usual practice is for parties to file post-hearing briefs. If post-hearing briefs are to be filed, the hearing shall be declared closed on the date for such filing. The hearing may be re-opened at any time before the award is made.

A decision by the arbitrators shall be by majority vote, unless the parties agree that the concurrence of all the arbitrators shall be required.

The Award shall be made promptly, and unless otherwise agreed by the parties or specified by law, no later than 30 days form the date of closing of the hearing.

Within 20 days after the transmittal of the Award the parties may request the arbitrators to correct any clerical, typographical, or computational errors in the award. However, the arbitrators may not redetermine the merits of any claim already decided. The parties have 10 days to respond, and the arbitrators shall dispose of the request within 20 days after the request for modification and any response thereto.

I'm sure you're all pretty well sick of me by now. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif But if you want, tomorrow I'll post the details of what the requirements are for the NGB under the Sports Act and the USOC Constitution and Bylaws.

Louise
Feb. 27, 2001, 03:12 AM
Portia, we are NOT sick of hearing from you!!! This work that you have been doing on this forum is of such great benefit to all of us here, and I am sure to many who are lurking. I know, for sure, that it is helping me to understand a very complicated process. Please - do continue!

Lord Helpus
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:32 AM
I can't imagine working all day and then doing this stuff at night. I noted the hour of your posts.... You better get some sleep girl!

But, what I cannot also imagine is how the USET thinks it can fulfill the requirement in your 29b): be the governing body for equestrian sports in the US (that is my paraphrase, obiously).

HOW does it think it can suddenly manage all the horse shows, horse registrations, licensing of officials etc. etc? Does it plan on hiring the AHSA to do this? If I were the ASHA I would tell the USET "No, thanks. Start your own organization from scratch and see how well you do."

It just boggles my mind that the USET even thinks it has a chance of success here. There must be some very big skeleton in the closet that makes it even worth trying to pursue this fight....

Anne FS
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:33 AM
Sorry, Twister, for not getting back to you, and thanks, Portia, for answering Twister's question. Can you believe it? I actually had to work yesterday and didn't get to check this thread! I'll try to do better today.

wtywmn4
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:38 AM
Portia, you are incredible!!! Posting all of this information, is time consuming to say the least. We keep telling you Thank you, but it doesn't seem enough for the work you are doing /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

brilyntrip
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:42 AM
SALAAAM SALAAM oh godess of wisdom! We humbly beseech you to continue your exploration of the web of rules and regulations of USET/AHSA machinations. We are the lowly and illiterate .Thank god for you Portia because I consider myself to be intelligent well educated but TOTALLY out of my realm here!

Anne FS
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:56 AM
Thanks for your comments, DMK and JulieMontgomery. I agree with you about the narrowness of the donor base at USET being a problem. Old organizations move slowly, but they will move with time. If any of you are involved with pure-bred dogs, remember the long process to have women delegates? Old organizations move at a glacial pace, but they get there. Perhaps the resistance to being answerable to many as opposed to a select few making all decisions without oversight is the crux of the matter. A very wise woman I know who was involved in many AKC dealings taught me a lot about being patient and inexorable when dealing with these old-guard organizations. When faced with gentle unyielding pressure to change AND allowed to save face, much will be accomplished. I think the same will happen here.

Weatherford
Feb. 27, 2001, 07:54 AM
Good point, AnneFS, but I do think that the USET is not the old guard some of us remember. Far from it - most of those people are long gone. The powers in place now are what my 85 year mother would call, well, not appropriate for these boards, and it has to do with new money, power, and conspicuous consumption.
/infopop/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

Anne FS
Feb. 27, 2001, 09:03 AM
You're right, Weatherford, my term old guard wasn't right. Old guard being Bert deNemethy (for example). The days when the horse was given to the team and Mr. deN. tried various riders on it and he decided who rode the horse, the owners didn't give the ride to a certain person and then take the ride away if they felt like it.

I think I have a point somewhere, though, /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif about changing the way things operate. The current crop wants to do things the old way, those days & ways are passing; they probably fought long & hard to finally get to be the 'in' group and don't want it to change now after they finally got in the exclusive club. So saving face is going to be important.

Allyn M
Feb. 27, 2001, 09:15 AM
There's got to be some billable hours here ------- Count on me to help when you get ready to import that all important HEARTBREAKER semen -----

Snowbird
Feb. 27, 2001, 09:29 AM
that is our situation right now. The door is still open for the merger. The USET has been invited to the table. It is clear that if they shut themselves out it's not because anyone wants them out.

I am certain that no one objects to their sitting in the special box at the Olympics, or any other perks that important people acquire. No one has told them they had to give in, and they are welcome to join with the rest of us. They will have appropriate representation and the Athletic Act seems very fair as to protecting the rights of the athletes.

The issue is that the AHSA is willing to comply and the USET doesn't seem to be able to do so. If they develop a plan that might work it would be redundant to that of the AHSA. /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

wtywmn4
Feb. 27, 2001, 02:28 PM
As with everything, changes take time. But these changes are a necessity to bring us into the 21st century. And unfortunately, many boards go kicking and screaming over these. Let's hope that steadier minds see the light.

Just to reiterate, no one does not appreciate what those 7 did. That is not what this is about.

Portia
Feb. 27, 2001, 04:55 PM
I'm going to post this in parts, because it gets long - really long. This is, to the best I can figure out by looking at the Sports Act, the USOC Constitution, and the USOC Bylaws - but not doing any other research - what the authority and duties of of the NGB are, what the eligibility requirements to be NGB are, and how all of that figures into the situation between the AHSA and the USET. Brace yourselves.

NGB REQUIREMENTS AND DUTIES

The controlling statutory and organizational authorities for the dispute between the AHSA and the USET regarding who will be the National Governing Body (NGB) for equestrian are: the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, 36 U.S.C.A. secs. 220501?220529 (West. Supp. 2000) ("the Sports Act");.the Constitution of the USOC, and the Bylaws of the USOC.

The provisions of the Sports Act are echoed in the USOC Constitution and Bylaws, which in large part simply expand upon the provisions of the Sports Act and provide details of how the requirements of that act shall be implemented and achieved.

You will find copies of the entire Sports Act, and the USOC Constitution and Bylaws by following this link: http://www.ahsa.org/EquestrianGovernance/index.html

Note that whenever I use the terms "equestrian" or "equestrian sport" in this discussion, it refers to the Olympic and FEI disciplines, not to all of the other horse disciplines enjoyed in this country. Also note that virtually all of these provisions also refer and apply to the Paralympic Games but for clarity and convenience I have omitted those references.

For any sport included in the Olympics or Pan Am Games, the USOC is authorized to recognize one amateur sports organization as the NGB of the sport. Sports Act sec. 220521. Under Sports Act sec. 220528 and Article VIII of the USOC Constitution, an amateur sports organization may seek to replace the incumbent organization as NGB, a process the USET initiated last week when it filed its challenge to become the NGB.

First, what does it mean to be the NGB for equestrian?

Essentially, being the NGB means to be the entity that ultimately governs the three Olympic equestrian disciplines in this country. In the case of equestrian, that governance effectively extends to all seven of the FEI-recognized disciplines, because whatever organization is the NGB will also be the US representative to the FEI.

The authority of an NGB is fairly extensive. The NGB for equestrian may:

(1) represent the US in the FEI;

(2) establish national goals and encourage the attainment of those goals;

(3) serve as the coordinating body for amateur athletic activity in the US;

(4) exercise jurisdiction over international amateur athletic activities and sanction international amateur athletic competition held in the US and sanction the sponsorship of international amateur athletic competition held outside the US;

(5) conduct amateur athletic competition, including national championships, and international amateur athletic competition in the US, and establish procedures for determining eligibility standards for participation in competition (with certain exceptions for educational and military sports programs);

(6) recommend to the USOC individuals and teams to represent the US in the Olympics and the Pan Am Games; and

(7) designate individuals and teams to represent the US in international amateur athletic competition (other than the Olympics and Pan Am Games), and certify, in accordance with applicable international rules, the amateur eligibility of those individuals and teams.

See Sports Act sec/ 220523; USOC Const. art. VII sec. 3.

The NGB also has duties and responsibilities set out in Sports Act sec. 220524 and sec. 220525 and Article VII sec. 1 of the USOC Constitution. For the sport it governs, an NGB shall:

(1) develop interest and participation throughout the US and be responsible to the persons and amateur sports organizations it represents;

(2) minimize, through coordination with other amateur sports organizations, conflicts in the scheduling of all practices and competitions;

(3) keep amateur athletes informed of policy matters and reasonably reflect the views of the athletes in its policy decisions;

(4) disseminate and distribute to amateur athletes, coaches, trainers, managers, administrators, and officials in a timely manner the applicable rules and any changes to such rules of the national governing body, the [USOC], the appropriate international sports federation, the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee, and the Pan-American Sports Organization;

(5) allow an amateur athlete to compete in any international amateur athletic competition conducted by any amateur sports organization or person, unless the NGB determines the competition does not meet the stated requirements;

(6) provide equitable support and encouragement for participation by women where separate programs for male and female athletes are conducted on a national basis;

(7) encourage and support amateur athletic sports programs for individuals with disabilities and the participation of individuals with disabilities in amateur athletic activity, including, where feasible, the expansion of opportunities for meaningful participation by individuals with disabilities in programs of athletic competition for able-bodied individuals;

(8) provide and coordinate technical information on physical training, equipment design, coaching, and performance analysis; and

(9) encourage and support research, development, and dissemination of information in the areas of sports medicine and sports safety.

See Sports Act sec. 220524.

Further responsibilities of the NGB involve granting sanctions (giving certificates of approval to) amateur athletic competitions in the sport. Under Sports Act sec. 220525 and USOC Constitution Article VII, the NGB is required to review any requests by any other amateur sports organization or person for a sanction to hold an international competition in the US or to sponsor US athletes to compete in international competitions outside the US. The NGB shall grant the sanction if the competition meets certain specified requirements such as, among other things, ensuring that the amateur status of the athletes is protected, making sure the competition will be conducted by qualified officials, ensuring proper medical supervision and safety measures are in place, and, for events to be held in the US, paying a reasonable sanctioning fee to the NGB and submitting audited financial reports for similar events conducted by the applicant. See Sports Act. sec. 220525.

The precise responsibilities of the NGB are further detailed in Chapter XXIII secs. 1-7 of the USOC Bylaws. These include, among other things:

(1) devising and determining the method of selecting athletes and team officials for Olympic and Pan Am sports;

(2) preparing plans for the participation of the sport in upcoming Olympics or Pan Am Games, including the number of athletes and team officials, procedures to be followed for preparing and conditioning candidates for the team; the program of tryouts and the method of selecting the athletes to be recommended for appointment to the team; special requirements for equipment and supplies, requirements for services of physicians and trainers and other special personnel; and other matters relevant to planning for participation in the games.

(3) putting into effect such plans as approved by the USOC;

(4) establishing procedures to select athletes, teams, and coaches for Olympic and Pan Am Games teams,

(5) arranging tryouts and qualification for such teams, entering into contracts for such tryouts, and providing financial information regarding such tryouts to the USOC;

(6) nominating coaches and team officials;

(7) establishing an operating procedure to insure the continuity of international programs,

(8) selecting sites and dates to qualify for such teams,

(9) recommending training plans for members of such teams,

(10) establishing a program for the development of its sport;

(11) formulating and presenting budgets for development, team preparation, team selection, and sports liaison expenses;

(12) nominating persons for appointment to USOC standing committees;

(13) preparing the requirements of equestrian to submit to the USOC for such things as apparel, supplies, equipment, food, housing, medical and training services, tickets, and transportation for its Olympic and Pan Am teams

(14) participating in FEI activities and carrying out those responsibilities required by the FEI;

(15) when the NGB raises funds in cooperation with the USOC, turning over the funds to the USOC along with a detailed report indicating sources, amounts, and purposes; and,

(16) providing for representation by athletes on the governing boards and with the USOC.

See USOC Bylaws Chapter XXII secs. 1-7.

End of Part I

[This message was edited by Portia on Feb. 27, 2001 at 08:21 PM.]

Portia
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:07 PM
Second, what must the USET, as the party challenging the AHSA?s status as the NGB, prove?

The Sports Act in its sec. 220528(e) and the USOC Constitution in its Article VIII set out the standards for granting an application on a challenge to an incumbent's NGB status. The law provides for a two-part test, both parts of which must be satisfied before the USET could be appointed as the new NGB.

At the hearing on the challenge, the USET must establish by a preponderance of the evidence (present enough evidence to tip the scale in its favor) that:

(1) the USET meets the criteria for recognition as an NGB under sec. 220522 of the Sports Act (Art. IV sec. 4(C) of the USOC Constitution), and

(2)(A) the AHSA as the existing NGB does not meet the criteria of Sports Act sec. 220522 (USOC Const. art. IV sec. 4(C)), sec. 220524, or sec. 220525 (USOC Const. art. VII sec. 1); or

(B) the USET more adequately meets the criteria of sec. 220522/Art. IV sec. 4(C), is capable of more adequately meeting the criteria of secs. 220524 and 525/Art. VII secs. 1 & 2, and provides or is capable of providing a more effective national program of competition than does the AHSA as the existing NGB.

See Sports Act sec. 220528(e); USOC Const. art. VIII sec. 3(C); USOC Bylaws Chapter VII sec. 6(B).

If the USET fails to sustain its burden of proof of any one of these elements, then its challenge to become the NGB must fail.

However, the USOC has the option to find that, although the USET does not meet the requirements for recognition as the NGB, neither does the AHSA. In such a case, the USOC may either declare a vacancy in the position of NGB for equestrian or put the AHSA on probation for a certain period to correct any minor deficiencies in its eligibility. See Sports Act sec. 220528(f); USOC Const. art. VIII sec. 3(D); USOC Bylaws Chapter VII sec. 7.

The First Part of the Test -- Eligibility Requirements to Be the NGB

The eligibility requirements for being recognized as the NGB, or for continuing to be recognized as the NGB, are set out in Sports Act sec. 220522 and in Article IV sec.(C) of the USOC Constitution.

Most of these eligibility requirements are not likely to be disputed with respect to either the AHSA or USET, including that the organization must be a domestic non-profit corporation having as its purpose the advancement of amateur athletic competition, that it agree to submit disputes to binding arbitration, and that it provide for a certain minimum percentage of representation by qualified active athletes in its governance.

The eligibility requirements almost certain to be at the center of the dispute between the parties involve the extent to which each organization can claim it governs equestrian sport in the country and the extent to which each has the ability to govern, organize, fund, train, and develop amateur athletes for international competition in equestrian sport.

The core of the dispute is set out in Sports Act sec. 220522(a)(5), which expressly provides that an amateur sports organization is eligible to be recognized, or to continue to be recognized, as an NGB only if, among other requirements, it:

demonstrates that it is autonomous in the governance of its sport, in that it

(A) independently decides and controls all matters central to governance;

(B) does not delegate decision-making and control of matters central to governance; and

(C) is free from outside restraint.

See Sports Act sec. 220522(a)(5); USOC Const. art. 4 sec. (C).

The questions at the heart of the dispute will be whether the AHSA does and can, and whether the USET does and could, meet these broad prerequisites.

What does it mean to be "autonomous in the governance" of equestrian sport?

What exactly are "all matters central to governance" of equestrian sport?

What does it mean to "delegate decision making and control" over such matters?

The answers to these questions will be central to determining outcome of the NGB challenge.

Another eligibility requirement is that the NGB must have "the managerial and financial capability to plan and execute its obligations." Sports Act sec. 220522(a)(2). Both sides will likely argue the other does not have such capabilities in key areas of governance.

The NGB must also "provide procedures for the prompt and equitable resolution of grievances of its members." Sports Act sec. 220522(a)(13). The AHSA has always provided and continues to provide all rules, proceedings, and enforcement for grievances, hearings, and discipline for the equestrian sport.

The Second Part of the Test -- Capability to Meet Responsibilities of the NGB

To become the NGB, the USET must prove by a preponderance of the evidence not only that it meets all of the requirements of sec. 220522, but also that it is prepared to meet, and is more capable than the AHSA of meeting, the obligations imposed on a national governing body under sections 220524 and 220525 of the Sports Act (discussed above). See Sports Act. sec. 220522(a)(15); USOC Const. art. VII secs. 1 & 2.

Strategically, I expect the USET will try to focus on this second element of capability to perform the functions of the NGB, particularly as those duties are set out in more detail in the USOC Bylaws. These requirements tend to focus on the mechanics of preparing, funding, and organizing athletes for international competition, tasks that appear to be largely within the scope of the USET's historical activities.

The AHSA, on the other hand, will likely focus on the first part of the test, since it deals with the qualifications to govern the sport as a whole not just the mechanics of sponsoring and organizing teams.

In other words, my guess is that while the USET will present lots of evidence about its role in raising money and organizing teams, the AHSA will present lots of evidence that it is the true governing body for the sport as a whole, from the grassroots through the elite international levels, including having complete responsibility for the key governance functions of training and licensing officials, the provision of grievance, hearing, and discipline mechanisms, rulemaking, equine drug testing and enforcement, prevention of abuse, and enforcement of measures to ensure the welfare of the horse.

[This message was edited by Portia on Feb. 27, 2001 at 08:27 PM.]

Portia
Feb. 27, 2001, 05:09 PM
By the way, the reason you see the USET continually repeating the assertion that it is better suited to "achieve sustained competitive excellence" is because that phrase is part of the official mission of the USOC as set out in Art. II sec. 1 of its Constitution.

And another note, regarding the NHJC and Tom Struzzieri's comments in his interview on Towerheads that he favored the USET to become the NGB because it had promised the NHJC representation on the USET board. Mr. Struzzieri apparently has not read the Sports Act, or he would know that the USET has promised only what any organization recognized as the NGB would be required by law to do.

The Sports Act provides that the NGB must provide for "reasonable direct representation" on its board for "any amateur sports organization" that "conducts a national program or regular national amateur athletic competition in the applicable sport on a level of proficiency appropriate for the selection of amateur athletes to represent the United States in international amateur athletic competition." Sports Act sec. 220522(a)(11).

This means that any organization such as the USDF, USCTA, or even the NHJC, is entitled to have a member or members on the board of the NGB (as is now the case with the AHSA). Whichever organization is the NGB, the NHJC would be entitled by law to be represented on the board.

It seems that what Mr. Struzzieri sees as a great benefit promised to the NHJC by the USET is an illusion.

[This message was edited by Portia on Feb. 27, 2001 at 08:29 PM.]

vineyridge
Feb. 27, 2001, 07:16 PM
It's patent that the USET doesn't have the capacity to perform all the duties of the NGB, given that the Sports Act does not address merely the international team aspect of sports. If the USET believes that the AHSA is incapable of the team function, how can it look in the mirror and believe that it can be the governing and administrative body for FEI recognized equestrian sports in this country? It's utterly absurd.

The only sensible resolution of this impasse would be the creation of a new superbody, with policy, funding and legislative authority, but which delegates the administrative functions to the currently existing entities. As the administrative body in charge of the actual training and showing, the USET could continue to function much as it does now, if it wanted to.

Given the legislation, it would be ridiculous for the USOC to rule in favor of the USET, not that the AHSA is all that much better.

I have a comment about the "welfare of the horse" issues. The AHSA did so little about the welfare of show horses in the fifties, sixties, and maybe seventies, that the federal government had to pass the Animal Welfare Act to protect the Tennessee Walkers and Saddlebreds from soring and gingering, and other barbaric showing tricks. The current AHSA still leaves enforcement of the act pretty much up to the feds.

I don't know if I would trust the AHSA to be very proactive about cruel training techniques that were widely used by show people.

Snowbird
Feb. 27, 2001, 07:18 PM
I am so grateful that you have shared with all of us the advantage of all your experience in interpreting these activities.

I am certain that the USET wishes they had someone of equal talent and ability that could somehow explain them.

And, like you have come out and clarified for us, I believe there are at least 50 more intelligent and knowledgeable people capable of putting the general welfare over their own. And, that 50 will bring along 100 more. There is so much wisdom and experience available once the association reaches out and asks for help.

wtywmn4
Feb. 28, 2001, 05:35 AM
Viney I would have to disagree with you on the AHSA's cruelty issues. They have taken an extradionary stand on this. At all clinics, whether for judges or stewards this is addressed. Many states also have very strict laws concerning this. No one can walk away any longer or be held unaccountable.

DMK
Feb. 28, 2001, 06:44 AM
viney, I too would disagree...

Aside from the aggressive prosecution of those associated with the insurance fraud/horse killings scandal, I have seen stewards get all over riders who were disciplining their horses in a manner that was not excessive given the behavior of the horse...

weeble
Feb. 28, 2001, 07:18 AM
Viney, it's been my experience too in recent times that issues of cruelty and abuse at the shows are swiftly and severely dealt with. I have seen several instances where individuals were stopped in their tracks and there were consequences for their actions. I am happy too that the exhibitors were more inclined to chastise their fellow exhibitors for abuse than to look the other way because "everyone does it", as it had been some years past.

vineyridge
Feb. 28, 2001, 07:42 AM
It's good to know that things have changed.

Gotta say, though, that I have heard recent tales, which might just be unfounded gossip, about new tricks that the high steppers are using to avoid being caught by the feds. None of the TW people with whom I have talked seemed at all concerned about the AHSA, just the Animal Welfare Act inspectors.

Dare one say that perhaps h/j folks are more sensitive to horse welfare?

SGray
Feb. 28, 2001, 07:55 AM
(1) develop interest and participation throughout the US and be responsible to the persons and amateur sports organizations it represents;

(2) minimize, through coordination with other amateur sports organizations, conflicts in the scheduling of all practices and competitions;

(3) keep amateur athletes informed of policy matters and reasonably reflect the views of the athletes in its policy decisions;

AM
Feb. 28, 2001, 08:02 AM
Vineyridge - Can the Animal Welfare Act inspectors do their inspections at home or only at competitions? I believe the ANSA can only inforce their rules at competitions. If the Animal Welfare Act allows for inspections at home, that may be why they are more feared.

Portia
Feb. 28, 2001, 08:41 AM
When I was going through all these legal requirements to be the NGB for equestrian, I kept thinking that if you put the AHSA and the USET together, you get an organization that without question meets and exceeds all of the requirements for being the NGB.

As you can see from the above, by federal law the USOC has only four options at the end of this battle:
1. Confirm the AHSA as the NGB;

2. Declare the USET as the new NGB;

3. Declare that neither organization satisfies the requirements to be the NGB and declare a vacancy in that position; or,

4. If the USOC finds the AHSA does not meet all the requirements of being the NGB but they can be cured, put the AHSA on probation for six months to fix the problems.

That's it - those are the USOC's only options. It cannot order the two organizations to join together.

The USET position has been that it and only it must be the dominant entity for equestrian sports in the US. I confess I do not understand that position at all, particularly since I have studied these legal requirements. There is simply far too much of the basic infrastructure of competition at all levels that the USET is not qualified to do and by its own plan it does not want to do.

Amost the last thing by the AHSA at the USOC meeting was that the door is open and will remain open to the USET to accept the AHSA's invitation to join together in a new, unified organization combining the strengths and abilities of the AHSA and the USET to serve the future of our sport on all levels, from grassroots to the elite. I can't help but believe that is the only logical solution.

SGray
Feb. 28, 2001, 09:09 AM
The stance of the uset seems to be that they should be in control, that the AHSA should be under the uset's direction (an underling) and that if they don't get their way they are 'gonna take their toys and go home' as it were.

What I don't get is - if the uset refuses to be a division under a new usa eques., basically in partnership - then why do they think that the AHSA would agree to be an underling to the uset? If the AHSA was as childish - then if the USOC went with the uset then the AHSA could simply relinquish control of international and continue to function in all of it's myriad other capacities with very little change - then the uset would be 'up a creek', would it not?

Of course, the AHSA has never taken that stance and has continued to offer more concessions to uset.

So again - why does the uset think that they have such a position of power that they can dictate all terms?

vineyridge
Feb. 28, 2001, 12:12 PM
Looks to me like the USOC can only do one of two things--it can name the AHSA the governing body or it can declare the position vacant and spell out the requirements that must be met for the new governing body.

If they declare the position vacant, that might just kickstart the ASHA and USET into creating the Unified superbody.

FranC
Feb. 28, 2001, 12:15 PM
In response to viney's comments, viney mentions the TWH shows specifically. Someone can correct me here if I am wrong, but I don't believe Tennesee Walking horse shows are AHSA recognized. They are not a breed currently listed as recognized by AHSA. AHSA can only police rule violations (of any kind) at shows that it recognizes. It is an independent corporation, not a government agency. As such, AHSA has no authority to do anything at TW shows. The only folks with authority to act are government inspectors acting under provisions of the Animal Cruelty Act. While AHSA regulates the majority of horse sports, it is not all inclusive as yet.

Let's not criticize AHSA for shows outside of it's control.

Fran

wtywmn4
Feb. 28, 2001, 02:02 PM
Fran you are correct in that the TWH people normally show only at their shows. But over the past year, they are being invited to AHSA all breed shows. There the TWH sets up a holding area, where the DQP checks each and every horse before entering the ring, for each & every class. To say it is time consuming, well.... But they are trying very hard to give a better impression and police their breed. I do hand that to them for taking charge. Granted, it was needed. Sorry to get off the subject.

vineyridge
Feb. 28, 2001, 03:01 PM
Was there, wandering around talking to people last year and the year before. In the stall areas, too. It's an all breed show, and all the night classes are things like roadster to bike, fine harness, saddlebred and zillions of TWH classes. I didn't realize that an AHSA recognized show could be part AHSA and part not.

The Walking Horse people were bragging about how some of them managed to avoid the federal inspectors. But if things have changed recently and they are submitting to inspections prior to entering the ring, that is truly a wonderful improvement and a great benefit to the horses.

What I thought amazing was that the TWH classes no longer include the canter. Wonder why?

Snowbird
Feb. 28, 2001, 05:09 PM
Although it is an unrecognized division at an AHSA Show it is liable to follow the rules. And, any violations would be treated just like any hunter/jumper that competes. At their shows which are not recognized by the AHSA they can do as they please.

/infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

wtywmn4
Feb. 28, 2001, 05:17 PM
Well S, #3 is already laughable. How many atheletes knew about this upheaval or what it entailed? /infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

SGray
Mar. 1, 2001, 06:39 AM
So it seems wtywmn4

now - do you have a theory/answer to my second post there on page 4?

SGray
Mar. 1, 2001, 07:11 AM
see
http://www.ultimatedressage.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/004739.html

Portia
Mar. 1, 2001, 08:31 AM
If you're interested, I just did a long post (what else? /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) on Whistlejacket's thread asking what the impact on the AHSA membership will be if it assumes the USET's responsibilities. That post discusses the things I, at least, think are "central to the governance" of horse sports.

The USOC Constitution and Bylaws set out a laundry list of things that the NGB has to do, and most of those are focused on what I think of as the mechanics of funding and fielding international athletes and working with the USOC. Well, that laundry list is what the USET has been doing all these years, and it is the USET people who have had regular contact with the USOC people with respect to the tasks on the laundry list for many years.

I worry that, at least as a preliminary matter, the USOC will look at the laundry list and forget that the list is just a subset of far broader and far more basic underlying requirements to qualify as NGB -- that the organization control all matters central to the governance of the sport and that it foster the development of amateur athletes in the sport.

Those central governance matters are where the AHSA has always had responsibility and always performed the tasks on a day to day basis, but they are not the matters that require calling the USOC and chatting every day. I hope and pray the USOC doesn't lose sight of the big picture and of the basics.

Weatherford
Mar. 1, 2001, 12:55 PM
And thanks, again, Portia. Your comments and analysis have been invaluable to all of us.

I will send you a ticket to Ireland when I can afford it as a thank you - but it will have to be when the rates are low! LOL!

JustaLurker
Mar. 1, 2001, 01:57 PM
Portia, I too can't thank you enough for all you are doing for us: attending the meeting, reporting from incredibly complete notes, doing a little interpreting where it's necessary, and pointing out some potential problems. You are such a great asset to all of us on the Chronicle Board, now the Dressage Board, and will be a great asset to AHSA when you begin serving.

Thanks again, your hard work is so very appreciated!

Cheers, Maggi

wtywmn4
Mar. 1, 2001, 02:17 PM
Another good question S. Have to agree with your summation, there has been alot of bullying. And not from the AHSA's side. My underlying feeling is, that the USET thought the AHSA would back down from a lawsuit. Time, money etc... Since this didn't occur, now they really have to go to work to prove their case. One would have thought wiser heads would have prevailed.

SGray
Mar. 1, 2001, 02:33 PM
that someone (or many) in that organization have alot to lose - makes one VERY curious

Portia
Mar. 1, 2001, 06:47 PM
Everybody is always so kind about this stuff. I couldn't even respond when brylntrip posted her "Salaam salaam." /infopop/emoticons/icon_redface.gif

I'm honestly just very glad that people are paying attention to the issues. The more people who know what is happening and understand it, the more we will be able to adjust as things change and help if possible. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

SGray
Mar. 2, 2001, 06:35 AM
It's impressive. (But don't get your day-job upset)

SGray
Mar. 2, 2001, 08:17 AM
from In The Country "The Near Future and Beyond"


"That notice came shortly before the USET convened a meeting of its West Coast active show jumping riders at a Desert Circuit horse show in Indio, Calif. Spooner said that all the riders present voted not to support the USET�s governance plan, except for one who voted undecided. He said the ballot sent by USET officials "did not present the options clearly.""

Erin
Mar. 2, 2001, 08:25 AM
Here's the link:

http://www.chronofhorse.com/in_the_country.shtml

Portia
Mar. 2, 2001, 08:25 AM
Wow, S., that's interesting news indeed. The West Coast Active Riders aren't as tied to the East Coast establishment of the USET, it seems. Makes me proud to be a native born and raised Californian (transplanted here to the wonderful Lone Star State).

This should be very interesting given the USET's insistance that "all" the international-level athletes support it becoming the NGB.

Snowbird
Mar. 2, 2001, 08:37 AM
as the information becomes more and more public the athletes will realize as we learned to do that the only logical solution is the merger. If the USET decides to stay a private club they can field teams and send them to Europe but the AHSA will be forced to field Olympic Teams.

The USET can get people trained and coached to compete at whatever trials are offered for the selecton of the teams and they certainly will not be prevented from competing and still being on the team.

I think though that it simply makes sense for those athletes to want to be part of the planning and selection systems. Whatever the title of that part of the program it will eventually regain most of the athletes. I'm delighted that the western folks are more discerning. I found that true in the whole of the AHSA Board of Directors meetings.

While we seem to be mired down in a legacy where the NE has been in charge, there is no question that times are changing and this sport must change too.

weeble
Mar. 2, 2001, 08:45 AM
I really don't know if this is valid or not. At this stage with all the escalating hard feelings and anger that seem to be coming from the USET, would a merger make working together as one unit a fairly difficult task? Do you think there could be additional problems from that? /infopop/emoticons/icon_confused.gif

Portia
Mar. 2, 2001, 09:17 AM
Once all this is done, people will have to work together one way or the other but particularly if there is a new combined organization. Carrying over hard feelings is a significant danger, and people are going to have to work to get beyond hard feelings. I've seen plenty of lawsuits settle with the parties continuing to do business together despite the rancors of litigation, so it can be done. Then again, sometimes feelings and egos get so hurt, the former combatants can't ever function together.

The AHSA made very clear at the USOC meeting that it wants and hopes for a combined organization that will use the experience of the people at the USET, not just the coaches but the administrative people. They don't want to throw out the USET employees, they want to keep them on and take advantage of their qualifications and knowledge.

One thing that impressed me very much about the AHSA presentation was that not once did any of the AHSA people criticize anyone at the USET. Any criticism was reserved for substantive issues, not personalities and never individuals. The AHSA people openly praised the USET staff and personnel on their accomplishments and their expertise. While some of the USET people were equally gracious, I'm afraid not all of them were and some of the comments from these individuals veered away from the substance of the dispute and toward personalities.

My impression was that the AHSA is determined to keep the arguments about substance and will continue to try very hard to avoid name-calling or personal attacks. This, of course, is the only way a combined organization can succeed, to keep focused on the issues and not devolve into name-calling.

wtywmn4
Mar. 2, 2001, 09:37 AM
Wow S, that is very interesting news. From what little the USET has said, this was not what they stated. Guess they wanted people to believe that everyone was on their side. Will this now make for a quicker resolution?

wtywmn4
Mar. 2, 2001, 09:39 AM
Portia you made available to us facts, not assumations. Thanks can't cover this type of work. We all owe you, big time! /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Anne FS
Mar. 2, 2001, 09:45 AM
Portia wrote: <<One thing that impressed me very much about the AHSA presentation was that not once did any of the AHSA people criticize anyone at the USET. Any criticism was reserved for substantive issues, not personalities and never individuals. The AHSA people openly praised the USET staff and personnel on their accomplishments and their expertise. While some of the USET people were equally gracious, ...>>

Thank God, that's the way to do it. Let's all give encouragement to both AHSA and those on the USET who do this.

Also, I hope someone who knows Richard Spooner and other West Coast riders suggest to them that they make their feelings known to the USOC post haste, and that they attend any open meetings or conference calls like the one Portia went to. Armand Leone's quote:

"I would leave it up to the USOC to decide how they want to preserve the status quo," said Leone. He added that, "The athletes have requested that the status quo stay in place."

does sound like they're pretty confident their relationship with USOC will turn out to be in their favor.

weeble
Mar. 2, 2001, 10:14 AM
Your answer makes a lot of sense...as always! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Portia
Mar. 2, 2001, 02:09 PM
Virtually the entire AHSA proposal to the USOC is on line at the AHSA site (only thing missing is photos).

http://www.ahsa.org/EquestrianGovernance/USOC.html

Portia
Mar. 3, 2001, 08:22 AM
Has anybody seen anything yet about whether the USOC Executive Committee has ruled on anything?

The longer they go without ruling, maybe they'll see that the sky did not fall on Monday after the Operating Agreement expired and business as usual continued.

Snowbird
Mar. 3, 2001, 10:09 PM
The sky did not fall down! The athletes are happily competing in Florida. The sun still comes up, however this new blizzard? nah! I'm sure it isn't because the USET is no longer a member of the Operating Agreement.

I did hear a rumor that there is a For Sale sign up on Hamilton Farm. But, I'm certain if they lose their headquarters Alan Balch will make room for them in Kentucky, and I know the New Jersey Horse Park would welcome them. So, the world is still spinning on it's axis, and, it's been a whole week since they became FREE!

ohnowwhat
Mar. 5, 2001, 05:10 AM
at the job you did on reporting all this! You gave us so much info to digest....

What's next?

DMK
Mar. 5, 2001, 08:37 AM
Weeble - just my thoughts on your concerns regarding a merger... This would be an area where I have spent most of my professional life (talk about a warped life!)

Unfortunately, after working on a LOT of mergers, acquisitions, consolidations and other alliances; I think the only way the AHSA and USET would have a succesful future relationship is if one of the chiefs steps down and disappears.

That sounds obvious enough, but I have seen "face saving" arrangements put in place in merger situations like this (see DaimlerChryseler" for a really good example of failure in action /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ). The only problem is that the people will continue to hold allegience to the old powers, and this can quickly drive the organization into total paralysis. And trust me, when the people who really do run the organization cease to be functional, it's a tough place to recover from...

If one of the leaders leaves - and I do mean they are gone, not subordinate, then most people adjust to the situation pretty quickly. A few will leave, and that is generally a good thing for all concerned. You can overcome a loss of talent, you can't overcome a bad attitude...

JulieMontgomery
Mar. 5, 2001, 10:20 AM
What would really be interesting is the following - extremely hypothetical and 99.099% unlikely - scenario:

The AHSA and USET somehow come to an agreement to work towards a merger of both orgs into a new org...

Both organizations would have to do due diligence... provide many, many, many financial pages for the number crunchers to pore over - among a myriad of other things to be pored over.

No more reticence. No more hesitancy. No more silence. No more murky statements and refusal to produce documents. Everything out on the table.

The USET has been the poster child of murkiness, so far. Think that will change?

/infopop/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

DMK
Mar. 5, 2001, 10:26 AM
Funny thing about mergers... both parties have to agree that this is what they both want... at least until the documents are signed! /infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Have to admit, this would be one merger I would really enjoy doing DD on!

Snowbird
Mar. 5, 2001, 10:38 AM
It seems to me that what needs to happen is that those in the USET since they're the ones who refused to do a merger, need a majority to vote for the merger. Then the established personalities believing that life will not go on without them will resign and as you say disappear.

The question is how to get that majority vote. If the California athletes are opposed and wish the merger they could be the moving force to change the attitude first from the inside. It depends on how the vote is held. For example if it stays within the grip of the old guard and therefore the Board of Directors who are all the heavy hitters the chance is nill. But, if there was an honest open vote of all the athletes there would be a shot.

The real question is to make it a secret ballot since they have all invested a great deal of time and money in their careers and might feel pressured to vote with the USET establishment.

Snowbird
Mar. 5, 2001, 09:42 PM
Just moving them back up to page 1. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Portia
Mar. 6, 2001, 08:09 AM
since the Operating Agreement expired, and the sky has not fallen yet. The sun is still coming up at Gladstone and the USET continues to be operating as usual.

Hopefully the USOC has taken a "wait and see" approach to how to handle the USET claims of irreparable harm and its demand for emergency action. The longer the USOC waits, the more they will see that the Operating Agreement was not the foundation of the USET and it having expired did not send the equestrian world into a tailspin.

Snowbird
Mar. 6, 2001, 12:58 PM
The question is mute to the extent that the AHSA is as of now the NGB. If they comply there will be no grounds to replace them.

So, to me the issue is simple in that the athletes who are the issue can participate in the proposed AHSA International Committees. There doesn't seem to be any reason why they must choose between the AHSA and the USET.

The AHSA has put in place the necessary funding and staff and I would suppose they could also participate in the USET as a private club which assists them.

Or is this not true?

To me in a worse case scenario there might be some duplication. For the next 3 years at least the issue is simply fielding teams to go to Europe and compete for the experience. If the team desires to go and is turned down, they might be funded by the other group. Certainly, as someone else posted Kentucky would not be a bad place to have as home base for our athletes.

Is there any reason why the AHSA could not employ George Morris to coach it's international riders?

Snowbird
Mar. 7, 2001, 02:54 PM
With the new releases I thought some new comers might want to read this thread. /infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Portia
Mar. 8, 2001, 10:05 AM
In case you haven't seen it, between them both parties have now posted the relevant correspondence concerning the USOC decision on the USET's claim that the sport would suffer irreparable harm if the Operating Agreement was not extended.

Some of the correspondence and the USOC Executive Committee's letter with its decision are on the AHSA web site at http://www.ahsa.org/EquestrianGovernance/index.html

The rest of it is now on the USET web site at http://www.uset.org/disciplines/spi/spi.cfm

Reckoning
Mar. 8, 2001, 01:47 PM
Thank you very much, Portia! /infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Snowbird
Mar. 8, 2001, 02:46 PM
That the ongoing soap opera is on a commercial break. I am looking forward to seeing the plans of the AHSA to comply with the USOC during this waiting time for another decision.

I'm also looking forward to seeing how the USET would plan to operate if by some chance they won and still be in compliance with USOC. There has been no evidence so far as to how they would solve some of the major difficulties that would occur if by some chance they won.

My old Momma always told me "Be careful what you wish for, you might get it!".

Portia
Mar. 13, 2001, 09:05 AM
By my calculations, if the USET challenge that was filed on Feb. 22 was received by the AHSA that day, then the AHSA's response will be due tomorrow, March 14, 20 days after receipt of the challenge. However, the time periods run from the date of actual receipt, so if the AHSA did not actually receive the challenge until Feb. 23 or Feb. 24, the response date would be pushed back to March 15 or 16. The AHSA will have to file either a jurisdictional objection or an answer to the challenge.

I don't have any idea whether either of the parties will make such pleadings public or not, though I believe they should be under the USOC rules that state the challenge proceedings shall be open to the public. The pleadings might be something that would have to be obtained from the USOC though, and I don't know under what terms.

wtywmn4
Mar. 13, 2001, 09:09 AM
With everything that has occured with the hoof & mouth in europe, could this be why things seemed to have slowed down?

Portia
Mar. 13, 2001, 09:52 AM
Possibly, but I think its the calm before the storm. The AHSA is undoubtedly getting its response together, either its answer or its jurisdictional objections, while the USET is waiting to see what the AHSA will do.

There's an interesting letter from Mark Weissbecker in the March 9 COTH Letters to the Editor. He says his name should not have been on the USET full page ad that was in the COTH as someone supporting the USET plan to become the NGB. He also says he "knows of others who were surprised to see their names included in this USET open letter."

The USET attached that ad as an exhibit to its Challenge pleading as proof in support of its express claim that "the active athletes overwhelmingly support the USET's USA Equestrian proposal."

(Had to edit. I spelled Mark Weissbecker's name wrong.)

[This message was edited by Portia on Mar. 13, 2001 at 03:52 PM.]

Portia
Mar. 13, 2001, 10:10 AM
I originally posted this on "The USOC Decision Is In" thread, but I think it really belongs here with all the other summaries. Sorry for the repeat --

I've obtained a copy of the USET challenge pleading (the one the USOC offered to give me at the meeting, but they weren't sure they had enough copies). It is a typical entirely one-sided legal pleading -- can't blame them for that at all; that's how the game is played. Some of the claims in it make clear what the USET sees as the big problem between it and the AHSA - The USET does not like having to answer to the AHSA.
The USET's basic claim is "the USET should be formally recognized by the USOC as the NGB for equestrian sport in the United States in that the USET has been serving as the de facto NGB for equestrian sport in the United States, despite the fact that the AHSA, for purely historical reasons, has retained the title of NGB."

The USET claims: "Whereas the AHSA, as a founding member of the FEI, was recognized as the National Federation for equestrian sport in the United States, with jurisdiction over the many breeds and disciplines competing nationally, its main concern, as its very name indicates, was (and continues to be) the administration of horse shows and rule-making for the 26 or so breeds/disciplines competing domestically; while it was the USET which concentrated on developing, training, selecting and funding of coaches and horse/rider combinations for competitions in the internationally recognized equestrian disciplines, including the Olympic disciplines of Dressage, Eventing and Show Jumping." ...

The USET's version of the history of how the dispute developed starts with the 1984 Olympics and a dispute between the organizations over which one should get the LA Games surplus to be distributed to equestrian. It mentions that in 1988 that while the USET developed the selection procedure, because of its official NGB status the AHSA became involved in and defended two arbitrations brought by athletes pursuant to the Sports Act complaining about the procedures. The USET's version continues:

"Events in 1990 further exacerbated the increasingly tentative relationship between the two organizations. A show jumping candidate challenged the selection procedures for the show jumping team for the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Stockholm. Instead of proceeding through arbitration under the Sports Act, the athlete chose to challenge the USET and the AHSA in the courts. Although the USET and the AHSA prevailed, from the point forward the AHSA took the position that as the 'official' NGB for the sport, the AHSA was to have oversight and final approval over all USET actions that might involve the AHSA as NGB."

The pleading then mentions how in 1991 the AHSA ceased its financial support of the USET when it removed the $1 per member fee that went to the USET. It also complains that "in 1992, an Olympic year, the AHSA demanded, for the first time, that all USET selection procedures henceforth be approved by AHSA legal counsel and the AHSA Executive Committee. ..." The pleading then continues with what, it seems to me, is the heart of the USET's complaints:

"Beginning in January 1997, the AHSA, through its new leadership, and perhaps as a result of inquiries received from the USOC Membership and Credentials Committee concerning the AHSA's claimed status as NGB, became increasingly protective about the outward trappings for its NGB status. Even though the AHSA was still content to let the USET continue to perform the primary functions of a NGB in developing, training, equipping, fielding and funding the equestrian athletes who represent the United States in international competition, the AHSA insisted that it exercise responsibility with respect to a number of NGB functions:

(a) the receipt of invitations to all international competitions;

(b) the submission of entries with respect to such competitions;

(c) the development and approval of selection procedures; and

(d) hearings involving grievances of, or complaints against, USET athletes.

In addition, the AHSA insited that it designate representatives to sit on the USOC Board and the FEI, despite its non-involvement with the development, training, selection and funding of athletes, and horses at the international level.

In short, the AHSA, despite its traditional non-involvement in NGB functions, began insisting, through its newly-elected President that it interface between the USET and USOC ...."

The USET pleading does not mention that the 1997 USOC inquiry into the NGB compliance and the interest of the M&C Committee was directly prompted by the letters from Jane Clark and DD Matz apparently complaining that the AHSA was not in compliance with NGB requirements. It seems the USET is complaining that the AHSA took action to correct the complained-of deficiencies, when the USET management was the one who raised the issues with the USOC in the first place as part of its efforts to be made the NGB.

The USET pleading implies that prior to 1997 it handled such things as international entries and grievance and discipline procedures, when in fact the AHSA has always been responsible for and has always performed those tasks, before, during, and after the Operating Agreement.

The USET pleading also expressly argues that the USOC staff "deal[s] directly with the USET as the de facto NGB for the sport. For example, the USOC continues to send grant money directly to the USET."

The only reason the USOC sent money directly to the USET was because of the terms of the Operating Agreement. Such contentions by the USET make it apparent, to me at least, why the AHSA could not agree to extend the OA, since the USET was using the arrangement it provided as a primary basis of its claim that the "AHSA is the NGB in name only." (Pursuant to the USOC Executive Committee decision, following the expiration of the Operating Agreement, the money now goes to the AHSA for distribution to the USET.)

Anne FS
Mar. 13, 2001, 12:46 PM
<<There's an interesting letter from Mark Weissbacker in the March 9 COTH Letters to the Editor. He says his name should not have been on the USET full page ad that was in the COTH as someone supporting the USET plan to become the NGB. He also says he "knows of others who were suprised to see their names included in this USET open letter.">>

Hmmmm, glad he wrote to the COH, but let's hope he also wrote to the USOC.

Snowbird
Mar. 13, 2001, 02:02 PM
I wonder how many fo the others were taken for granted and put on the list? And, I wonder how well informed they were of the whole situation?