July 18, 2006
NGB Meeting Review:
As you all know, the National Governing Body meeting of USA Powerlifting was held recently. There were a number of interesting discussions, including those about referees review and qualifying for the Men's Open team. We have a new Executive Committee member, Tod Miller, and said farewell to Ray Benemerito, who has served on the E.C. and recently has chaired our Drug Testing and Disciplinary Committees. He has done a great job, being handed the leadership roles unexpectedly. Ray has served at every level of the organization from local competitor and State Chair to E.C. member and national and international competitor. Please wish Ray well as he pursues business and retirement ventures.
Looking back briefly at the last three years in USAPL, we have been successful with a number of projects on our agenda, including restarting a hard copy newsletter, continuing to develop regional powerlifting, balancing our budget, and continuing to improve our the levels of our competitors. We have developed our merchandise marketing program, redesigned our website, added meet promoter support information to it, and have done better and worse with our OMT programs. One project left undone from my first presidential agenda was the implementation of the USA Powerlifting Coaches Certification Program. Through lack of resources and initiative, this effort, despite the hard work of a number of individuals, stalled. An agenda item was passed that mandates that such a program, at the Club Coach level, be instituted and piloted by 1 January 2007. The outline and some supporting materials have been developed and will be fine tuned in the coming months. We anticipate the first workshop to be held in Denver later this year.
The drug testing program will fall under Tod Miller and George Bartotti, who will share responsibility for these efforts. They will transition into these responsibilities in the next week and determine how to split the duties most efficiently. Eric Kupperstein, Esq. will be the new Chair of the Discipline Committee. George Shoemaker will Chair the Finance and Ethics Committee, Johnny Graham will head Coaching Committee, and Robert will take over as Chair of the Technical Committee.
In the area of team selection, the qualifying total for selection of the Men's Open team was discontinued. The sentiment has been that higher qualifying totals would make for better teams. The other perspective is that if you win a national championship, you should have the opportunity to represent your country. The latter sentiment won out, and the winners will be offered a position. For this year, alternates selected will have to have met the criteria, previously posted, of the World Team Qualifying total.
The final area I would like to mention is that reflect by demographic analysis of our membership numbers over the past several years. While total membership has been relatively stable over recent years, an analysis of unduplicated numbers by age groups indicates that the open ranks of USA Powerlifting are shrinking. The results in powerlifting media of the events of other federations suggest that they are seeing a similar trend. It seems that our Teen and Junior ranks are, if anything, growing. Our master ranks have increased as we have "grayed," but we have not retained our junior members as they "age out" of the junior ranks. The disturbing end of a trend such as this is that we will have very few adults who are not masters in our sport. This limits us in a number of ways and not just on the platform. Our open membership is where we draw many of our administrative and support personnel from, e.g. committee members, coaching staff, referees, etc. To remain a vibrant, developing organization, we really do need the youth involved early, but we need them to stay on as they become adults. That, historically, has been where our strength is. Please consider this problem and assist with solutions to retain our adult athletes. If we do not solve this puzzle, we will likely continue to see the marginalization of our sport, across federations and localities. Let's reverse this trend and bring participants back into powerlifting.