I have to admit that without any inside info I had thought just what BOSTONIAN had suggested that the fix was in.
This whole mess has seemed just too oppositional on USET part for me to believe that they (uset) know something we don't.
And yes I agree that AB has a really poor set of "people skills" I can think of no one who can pi@@ people off so badly.
Yes, so-called "people skills" are sometimes difficult to blend with standing for principle and real fairness and honesty in a sport that seems to have been based on other principles in some quarters.
The first I remember reading about him was when he was bashed for trying to get the drug rule straightened out, and naturally the people who liked to give their horses any amount of Ketophen, and still show, buy, and sell their lame horses who just deserved a rest, didn't think his "people skills" were too hot.
Balsch is probably just like the rest of us. Not saint, not satan, just doing the best he can. He may not have great "people skills," I don't really know, because so many people seem to talk about him who have never met him. But he must have some kind of quality as an individual not to respond in kind to all the personal bashing he has taken. That probably just drives the bashers more nuts, every time he turns the other cheek.
I wish I had some insight, but I'm at a loss about what Plan B would or should be. I can make an educated guess about what may happen if either a vacancy is declared or if the USOC names the USET as the new NGB.
First, in either of those events, USA Eq would likely file for arbitration. The USOC Constitution provides for arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) in accordance with its domestic Commercial Arbitration Rules.
The arbitration would be before a panel of 3 neutral arbitrators, selected and appointed in accordance with AAA rules. (For those familiar with the system of having 2 non-neutral, party-appointed arbitrators and 1 neutral, that would not apply in this case because it is not specifically provided for in the USOC arbitration provision and under the AAA Commercial Rules, all arbitrators are neutral unless designated otherwise in the parties' arbitration agreement.) The parties do have input into selection of the arbitrators, but the final say is with the AAA.
The arbitration will essentially be a "de novo" proceeding -- that is, the Arbitrators are not bound by any prior rulings of the USOC and can make their own determination of the issues presented. In the case of the USOC having declared a vacancy, the issue presented would be whether, in fact, USA Eq does not meet the requirements to be the NGB such that the vacancy is justified. In hte case of the USOC having declared the USET as the new NGB, the issue would be whether the USET meets its burden of proving that the USET meets all of the requirements to be the NGB and that either USA Eq does not meet those requirements or that the USET better meets them.
After the Arbitration Panel is appointed, there will be briefing by the parties followed by an evidentiary hearing. It is unlikely that the evidentiary hearing will be as truncated as was the hearing before the USOC panel -- that is, it is likely to be much longer and go into far more detail, with many more witnesses testifying. Following the hearing, the parties will file closing briefs discussing the evidence presented and how it impacts the issues before the Panel. Finally, the Panel will issue a written Award stating their decision on the issues presented.
As a practical matter, the arbitration decision is likely to be final. Under the Federal Arbitration Act, there are certain very narrow bases for challenging an arbitration award, but such challenges are seldom successful.
"I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry
I heard a rumor from people who say they know for a fact that the envelope was empty! This is all a ploy to try and effect an arbitration. They didn't know for sure but they thought the USOC would go for keeping the existing NGB on the basis that the contestant had not proved their case.
Gossip is afterall gossip, but since we've all been privy to the gossip from the other side that a fix was in, I thought this was rather reassuring to contemplate that justice will win in the end.
Clarksdale, MS--the golden buckle on the cotton belt
This struck me as a possible USOC strategy for resolving the contretemps.
Declare the position of NGB vacant. Both organizations start scurrying around for a resolution. The USET, having no further reason for existence, would have to dissolve (financial difficulties) of become a willing merger partner with AHSA.
AHSA goes ahead and creates and implements its high performance division, gets everything in place, with or without the USET, and refiles for NGB, based on its experience, etc.
The USOC would have a year or so to clean up the selection process and harmonize US practices with FEI practices.
I would think that if the USOC bounced them both, an arbitrator would uphold the decision. Any other decision would be messy.
"I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay." Thread killer Extraordinaire