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Volume 26 No. 109
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USOPC Proposes To Increase Number Of Athletes On Its Board

The USOPC is "proposing an increase" in the number of athletes on its board and a "recasting of its mission statement to include the job of promoting their well-being," according to Eddie Pells of the AP. The changes are part of a proposal to "rewrite the USOPC bylaws." This comes 20 days after federal lawmakers -- "looking for a shake-up in the wake of the Larry Nassar scandal -- rolled out their own drastic overhaul of the law governing the USOPC." The USOPC "portrayed its proposal as merely a first step and, indeed, the measures lack many of Congress' more aggressive proposals." While the USOPC did mention the Borders Report, it "fell far short of implementing all the recommendations" therein. The USOPC will "hear comments on the proposal for 60 days before the board votes on it." The USOPC plan "would give athletes more say in the way they govern themselves and in the running of the federation itself." It "doesn't delve into the difficulties of finding active and recently retired athletes who can devote the time and brain power to running these complex organizations" (AP, 8/19).

NOT GOOD ENOUGH: In California, Scott Reid notes the USOPC proposal "did not go far enough for several athletes rights advocates." Critics said that "not all of the proposed changes follow recommendations" by the Borders Commissions, Athletes' Advisory Council or advocacy groups made up of former athletes. Current and former Olympians also "expressed concerns" that the presence of two U.S. Olympian and Paralympian Association members on the USOPC board "would dilute the influence of the AAC." U.S. skeleton racer Katie Uhlaender in an email wrote, "The USOPC continues to proceed to control of the athlete’s voice and direct leadership. The AAC’s composition, election of leadership, operations, etc. (are among the proposals) AND NONE were discussed with us -- the athletes. This is why I and many athletes who understand the system are begging [U.S. Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.)] and (other) legislators to review their bill and include power for the athlete voice" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 8/20).