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|USA Wrestling Board of Directors Meeting held in Colorado Springs, Colo. on August 25|
By Gary Abbott USA Wrestling
Left to Right. Treasurer Van Stokes, First Vice President Bruce Baumgartner, Secretary Duane Morgan, President James Ravannack, and Second Vice President Greg Strobel pose with USA Wrestling Executive Director Rich Bender.
USA Wrestling hosted its annual USA Wrestling Board of Directors meeting at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo. on Saturday, August 25. The meeting was chaired by USA Wrestling President James Ravannack.
The Board addressed the issue of Board restructuring, based upon the recommendations of an ad-hoc committee chaired by Greg Strobel which has worked on the topic for the last three years. The first phase of the project was completed at the 2011 USA Wrestling Board meeting with the approval of a new standing committee structure for the organization.
Strobel made a motion on a proposal to reduce the size and composition of the Board of Directors at this meeting. After much discussion, a number of amendments were made to the proposal. Highlights of the amended motion included a reduction of Board size from 46 to 34, a change of At-Large members of the Board from eight to seven, a reduction of active members on the Board from 10 to three, specific term limits for certain Board seats, and a system of Board alternates.
The Board voted and failed to gain the required 2/3 margin to be accepted. USA Wrestling will continue to have the same Board structure as it had coming into this meeting. Later in the meeting, a motion was approved to reconsider the proposal, and the Board then voted to table the matter and send it back to appropriate committees.
After the Board restructuring vote was taken, the Board of Directors held its election for Board at Large positions and positions on certain Standing Committees, as well as for officers of the Board of Directors.
Re-elected as USA Wrestling President was James Ravannack of Metairie, La. The other officers re-elected by the Board were First Vice-President Bruce Baumgartner of Edinboro, Pa., Second Vice-President Greg Strobel of Bethlehem, Pa. and Treasurer Van Stokes of Clarksville, Tenn. Duane Morgan of Hollister, Calif. was elected Secretary.
Eight At-Large members of the Board of Directors were elected or re-elected by the Board: Bruce Baumgartner of Edinboro, Pa., David Black of River Falls, Wis., William Grant of Inverness, Fla., Mike Juby of Hutchinson, Kan., Van Stokes of Clarksville, Tenn., Greg Strobel of Bethlehem, Pa., Kerry McCoy of University Park, Md. and Jim Keen of Ann Arbor, Mich.
The results of Standing Committee elections follow:
Executive Committee: Kerry McCoy of University Park, Md. and Mark Reiland of Iowa City, Iowa.
Governance Committee: Wayne Baughman of Colorado Springs, Colo., William Grant of Inverness, Fla. and Lee Roy Smith of Stillwater, Okla.
Long Range Planning Committee: Wayne Baughman of Colorado Springs, Colo., David Black of River Falls, Wis., Mike Juby of Hutchinson, Kan., Duane Morgan of Hollister, Calif. and Mark Reiland of Iowa City, Iowa.
Freestyle Sport Committee: Mike Duroe of Marion, Iowa, Greg Strobel of Bethlehem, Pa. and Kerry McCoy of University Park, Md.
Greco-Roman Sport Committee: Jay Antonelli of Annapolis, Md., Jeff Blatnick of Ballston Lake, N.Y. and Van Stokes of Clarksville, Tenn.
Women’s Sport Committee: William Grant of Inverness, Fla., Patricia Saunders of Phoenix, Ariz. and Marcie Van Dusen of Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
On behalf of the Finance Committee, Treasurer Van Stokes made the presentation of the 2012-13 USA Wrestling budget proposal, which was discussed by the Board and approved unanimously.
The 2012-13 USA Wrestling approved budget includes $9,632,690 in revenues and $9,400,650 in expenses, with revenues over expenses of $232,040.
“We are a financially healthy organization and we are well managed. I’d like to commend our staff for how our finances are managed,” said Stokes.
Junior Olympic Wrestling Committee chairperson Duane Morgan presented the Junior Olympic Wrestling Committee report, which was unanimously accepted by the Board.
Included in the report was the creation of a new membership category called the Open License. This will apply to all USA Wrestling athlete members who are 19 years old and above prior to September 1st of the current membership year. Those affected for the 2012-13 year are athletes born 8/31/1993 or before. The cost of this membership is $50.
Other changes in the age-group program in the Junior Olympic Wrestling Committee report included a women’s singlet requirement for regional, national and international events, an allowance for night-before weigh-ins at Junior Regionals and a number of changes in procedures for the National Dual Meet Championships events.
President James Ravannack announced the selection of Indiana state chairperson Louis Rosbottom as the recipient of the President’s Award. The President’s Award program brings outstanding state leaders to the World Championships as part of the official United States delegation. Rosbottom will attend the FILA Junior World Championships in Pattaya, Thailand in early September.
Scott Blackmun, the CEO of the U.S. Olympic Committee, appeared before the Board of Directors and discussed the recently concluded Olympic Games in London, England.
“We won the medal count and the gold medal count. If you count the team medals, 256 times we had a medal on our athlete’s neck. Second place was Russia, which was more than 100 medals behind us. It was truly a dominant performance by our athletes,” said Blackmun.
He also talked about the working partnership between USA Wrestling and the U.S. Olympic Committee.
“We are very proud of our partnership with USA Wrestling and all the NGBs. When I came back to the USOC, one of the things I wanted to change was our relationship and our mindset towards the NGBs. One of the key pillars of our strategic plan is that we want continue to operate in a culture of service and partnership with the NGBs. We feel good about our relationship with USA Wrestling,” said Blackmun.
A highlight of the meeting was the appearance of 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Coleman Scott, who is a product of the USA Wrestling grassroots programs. Scott was a Cadet Nationals and Junior Nationals champion from Pennsylvania during his youth. The Board watched the conclusion of Scott’s exciting victory in the 60 kg freestyle bronze-medal match at the Olympic Games, and then Scott gave a short address to the Board.
“That last moment, when you are down 1-0 with 25 seconds left, that wasn’t necessarily for myself. It was for when I heard the chant USA! USA! It was for everybody who was behind me all those years. It wouldn’t be possible without USA Wrestling. The organization put me in that situation. I would like to thank everyone involved in USA Wrestling,” said Scott.
In his President’s Report, James Ravannack praised the organization for a number of successes during the fiscal year, and focused on some key USA Wrestling event properties.
“The U.S. Olympic Team Trials was a huge success, perhaps the best we ever hosted. It was sold out and the excitement and the way Iowa City opened it arms to USA Wrestling was unbelievable. We hit the Trials out of the park this time. The Beat the Streets USA vs. Russia Dual, and the 60 kg Olympic Team Wrestle-off was amazing. It is hard to express how unbelievable that was for the people who were able to see it. The Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo was the best one I have ever been to. I think everything is now in harmony in Fargo,” said Ravannack.
In his Executive Director’s Report, Rich Bender thanked the Board of Directors and the state leaders in attendance for their service and commitment to the organization and the sport.
“You are the lifeblood and the foundation of the organization. I want to thank you for your passion for wrestling and for moving the sport forward. This group sets the standard among all Olympic sports. Your individual commitment to a group effort makes a difference,” said Bender.
Bender also introduced Chief of Sport Performance Alan Ashley of the U.S. Olympic Committee, who updated the Board on the performance at the Olympic Games.
“Congratulations on a job well done,” said Ashley of the USA Wrestling effort in London. “Four years ago, we got together to plan how we can get better and can have better results. We sit here today and see our men’s freestyle program with two gold medals and a bronze medal. Those two gold medals are huge. We see four medals from wrestling. This is a result of good decision making and good leadership. My No. 1 priority is how you create the environment for the athletes capable of winning a medal to succeed.”