By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – The annual USA Wrestling Board of Directors meeting was held at the Skirvin Hilton on Saturday, August 20. The meeting was chaired by USA Wrestling President James Ravannack of Metairie, La.
The USA Wrestling Board of Directors approved a set of by-law amendments which changed USA Wrestling’s standing committee structure.
These by-law amendments were developed by the ad-hoc committee which has been working on Board of Directors restructuring over the last two years, and is chaired by Greg Strobel of Bethlehem, Pa.,
Existing committees which will remain as standing committees for USA Wrestling include: Executive, Athlete Advisory, Finance, Freestyle Sport, Greco-Roman Sport, Women’s Sport, Junior Olympic Wrestling, Long Range Planning, Officials, Women’s Oversight
New committees which are being formed include: Audit, Ethics, Governance, Folkstyle Sport.
Standing committees which have been eliminated include: Insurance, Legislative, International Exchange, Marketing, Sports Science, Steering, Freestyle Coach Selection, Greco-Roman Coach Selection, Women’s Coach Selection.
In some cases, responsibilities of the eliminated committees have been placed in either existing committees or new committees.
Elections for the new committees will be held this fall. Information on how to apply will be provided on TheMat.com, and through all of USA Wrestling’s different media platforms. The Board of Directors approved the creation of an ad-hoc committee to handle these elections, and the existing Steering Committee members were appointed.
The next step in this process will be a proposal for changing the composition and size of the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors approved in principle a 25-person Board and an 11-person Executive Committee. This action will allow the ad-hoc committee on Board Restructuring to begin work on by-law amendments which will be presented at a future Board meeting.
“The best thing for us it that we are bringing our committee structure up to date,” said Ravannack. “USA Wrestling will be governed by committees. We need more of our grassroots people and more leaders from around the country contributing to our committees.”
The Board of Directors elected three members to the Finance Committee: Mike Juby of Hutchinson, Kan., Duane Morgan of Hollister, Calif. and Don Reynolds of Franfort, Ill.
The Board also approved the appointment of Mark Reiland of Iowa City, Iowa to an opening on the Long Range Planning Committee.
The Board of Directors also approved the fiscal 2011-12 budget, with total revenues of $10,890,353 and total expenditures of $10,676,460, with revenues over expenses of $213,893.
“This is a well-managed organization. My hat is off to the people who manage this budget and do so with care and diligence. These numbers are managed and timely, and I believe is a realistic budget,” said Treasurer Van Stokes in the presentation of the proposed budget for approval.
Duane Morgan of California presented the Junior Olympic Wrestling Committee report, which was unanimously accepted by the Board. Included were numerous changes in the age-group programs of USA Wrestling, including:
- In conjunction with the recently approved NFHS weight classes, new weight classes were approved for the Cadet and Junior divisions which are listed below:
Cadet: 88*, 94*, 100*, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, 285.
Junior: 100*, 106, 113, 120, 126, 132, 138, 145, 152, 160, 170, 182, 195, 220, 285.
* - non-NFHS weight class
- Line bracketing will be used for Schoolboy and younger National Championships, with each region determining the format for their Regional Championships. Cadet and Junior Nationals will remain vertically paired.
- A new format has been approved for the National Dual Meet Championships, which will ensure more competition against teams with similar abilities, and will reduce the amount of matches to no more than nine for any team per style.
- For folkstyle wrestling, a two-piece uniform was approved, allowing wrestlers to wear compression or board short and a tight-fitting sleeveless, short or long-sleeve shirt.
- Kids Regional Championships have been opened to all participants. In order to be eligible for the Kids Nationals, individual wrestlers must still qualify at his/her own regional.
- Term limits were set for the State Chairman’s Executive Committee, and grassroots councils and committees will be tasked with setting term limits for the chair and vice-chair.
- Election results were announced for the following positions:
• Women’s Age Group Council Chairperson – Patricia Fox (CO)
• Women’s Age Group Council Vice –Chairperson – Julie Gonzalez (CA)
• FILA Junior/University Chairperson – Joe Russell (MN)
• FILA Junior/University Vice-Chairperson – Ed Slaughter (NJ)
• Kids/Cadet Vice-Chairperson – Craig LaMont (UT)
• Junior Vice-Chairperson – Chris Kallai (OH)
• State Chairpersons Vice-Chairperson – Louis Rosbottom (IN)
In his President’s Report, Ravannack outlined a number of major achievements reached by the organization during the last fiscal year, both on and off the mat.
“Membership for USA Wrestling continues to set records for athletes, clubs, sanctioned events and female athletes. Going into our final month of the membership year, we have already broken records for all of these categories. We also have the most coach members since the implementation of the background check program,” said Ravannack.
During the meeting, Ravannack announced that USA Wrestling would be bidding on 2015 World Championships in Las Vegas. This will be a major qualifying event for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janiero, Brazil. A decision is expected by sometime next year. The U.S. last hosted a Senior World Championships in 2003, when the Freestyle World Championships for both men and women were held in New York City.
Executive Director Rich Bender made his report to the Board of Directors, and thanked the national staff, the state leaders, the athletes and President Ravannack for their tremendous contributions to the sport. He especially noted the importance of the State Leaders Summit which was being held alongside the Board meeting in Oklahoma City.
“I think this is the most important week for our sport and the organization each year,”said Bender. “We have leaders from 43 of our 50 state leadership teams here, talking about best practices. They really focus on how USA Wrestling can become a better organization and offer better service to our members, and ultimately getting more kids involved in the sport of wrestling.”
In his FILA Report, FILA Bureau member Stan Dziedzic updated the Board on key issues facing the international federation. He also announced that four-time World champion and five-time World finalist Tricia Saunders had been elected to the FILA Hall of Fame and would be honored during ceremonies at the Senior World Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. Dziedzic also remarked that athletes around the world were being asked for input on the wrestling rules and possible improvements in the future.