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Volume 26 No. 63
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USOPC Moves To Revoke USA Badminton's Status As NGB

The USOPC filed paperwork Tuesday to officially revoke the NGB status of USA Badminton, a step that would remove the nonprofit’s authority to oversee the American Olympic team and raise serious doubts about its status as a going concern. The steps announced by USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland in an open letter come after more than a year of governance and oversight problems at the Anaheim-based NGB. In '18, a compliance audit found major deficiencies at USA Badminton, including: Lax background checks and athlete abuse-prevention protocols, lack of board term limits, lengthy board vacancies and a lack of oversight on conflicts of interest.

Some problems were solved, Hirshland said, but the organization has been uncooperative under the direction of Chair Ben Lee. In June, four board members resigned in protest of Lee, and endorsed decertification. “This isn’t a step I’ve taken lightly, but it is a necessary one and in the best interest of the athletes we serve,” Hirshland wrote. She later added, “We remain committed to working with USAB’s leadership to address our concerns but have so far not found a willing partner.” A USA Badminton spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

This is the second time under Hirshland the USOPC has moved to decertify a governing body, following USA Gymnastics in '18. However, that process is on hold pending its bankruptcy. Hirshland will seat a three-person panel that will evaluate the Badminton request. If USA Badminton is decertified, the USOPC will temporarily assume direct control of the high-performance badminton team until a new organization can be found or created to replace USA Badminton.