Domestic Elite BS

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I got into a discussion with a bunch of guys about the “new” formation of domestic elite teams for the National Racing Calender. I know this doesn’t really have much to do with many riders and not many people reading this even know anything about it or care. But, after thinking about it for a couple days, I think it addresses a bigger issue.

The deal is that USAC has made a new designation of Elite Teams for NRC races. You receive this designation by paying USAC $250 and submitting a list that has the names of up to 25 Cat. 1 riders on it that you want to be able to “earn” points at NRC races throughout the season for your team. Here is a link to a Velonews article that kind of explains the idea.

The main complaint I was hearing was the $250 fee for keeping track of something that they did already. I agreed. So, I called Micah Rice, the National Event Director at USAC and talked to him for awhile about it. Micah and I go pretty far back. He ran the Jittery Joe Team and before that raced, so he is the right guy to have in the position at USAC. At least he understands the issues. But, I really didn’t get a great explanation to the question of why the money to do something that you’d think would be done automatically.

Why have a series of races that you call the National Racing Calender, but don’t score all the overall points unless each participate pays extra money to have their points tallied? It would be like racing the NORBA Series, but only scoring points if you paid an extra $100 for them to keep track of your points. Or racing UCI Cyclo-X events in the US, which is the National Cyclo-X Calender, and only getting the points scored if you paid extra. Can you imagine that if Major League Baseball couldn’t keep track of who won games throughout the season. Or, the PGA couldn’t score the Ryder Cup points, a selection series that they came up with themselves. I could go on and on. It seems just wrong.

I asked Micah and he said that USAC had hired someone exclusively to keep track of points in the National Racing Calender and maybe other series. I got the feeling that the fee was to offset some of the salary of this guy. I asked him how many teams he thought would register. He guessed around 25. I’m guessing less. It would surprise me if there are 25 teams in the US with 8 Cat. 1 riders on them.

I checked out the 2010 National Racing Calender points from last year and it is all jacked up. I looked at my TradeWind Energy Team points. From what I can tell, Brian Jensen had 38 points and I had 21 points, but our Team total was 33 points. So obviously, I might not know how to add the point total or the total points are all jacked up. So, if the later is true, then USAC needs a much better way to keep track of the points.

But, I can’t agree that charging amateur teams a $250 fee to keep track of the points is the correct method. It is pretty much bullshit in my opinion. We’re not going to do it. And we won 2 NRC races last year. UCI teams don’t pay anything. So if a foreign team registered with the UCI comes and races NRC races, they will be scored. But, the US elite teams, which each rider paid USAC a license fee, have to pay again. It seems just wrong.

So, the bigger issue is if we, as riders, are going to be nickel and dimed by USAC for services each and every time they decide to implement “new” services. Or upgrade the services they already have. I’m sorry if they have a hard time keeping track of their own race series overall results. DON’T have the series if you can’t score it. Pretty simple. And quit making the sport more expensive than it already is. Between gasoline prices, airline charges and entry fees, riders have enough to deal with. We shouldn’t have to be paying our governing body extra for the basics.

The point of this isn’t to slam USAC about this “new designation”. Micah and the USAC have good intentions here. But, I don’t think that USAC realizes as they make all these minor errors, it alienates another segment of their support. Micah said that the organization (USAC) needs to become more professional as it grows. This isn’t the way.

Maybe all the guys I was talking with would be appeased if USAC gave out a pair of socks with the $250 registration fee.

6 thoughts on “Domestic Elite BS

  1. Ted Lewandowski

    I bet if you speak with Bob Mionske at 866-835-6529 (bicyclelaw.com) he can tell you if this is legal or not.

    Nothing like filing a lawsuit to anyone’s attention!

     
  2. Rod Lake

    Well now at least we know what happened to your cars. Obviously stolen by a group of Cat 1’s trying to keep up with the ever-increasing cost to race their bikes.

     
  3. h luce

    from the USAC Articles of Incorporation (available at http://www.usacycling.org/news/user/story.php?id=172), in pertinent part:

    Article II:
    Section 3.
    The Corporation, principally through the activities of its Associations, shall:
    Part 1. Conduct, coordinate, and seek the advancement of competitive bicycle racing.

    Part 6. Act as the repository for all certified and approved records pertaining to the sport.

    ARTICLE III Corporate Powers

    Section 2.
    The Corporation shall have authority to do whatever is reasonably necessary to accomplish its purpose.

    Section 4.
    … the Corporation shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in Article II hereof.
    =========================
    From what I can see, you’d have an extremely difficult time getting a court to overturn what is essentially a contract between you and a corporation because you don’t like the fee schedule, or increases in fees.

    You’d have a better chance of obtaining a result by electing a Board of Directors which would do the things you want, rather than engage in expensive and most probably fruitless litigation. Again, I think any lawsuit would get tossed pretty quickly on a motion for summary judgment, and on top of which, it’s pretty likely that USAC’s cost of defending the lawsuit would be charged to the USAC membership.

    There’s also nothing stopping you from starting your own non-profit corp to do the same things as USAC, although they might engage in litigation to drain your resources and funds in an attempt to remain the sole group in charge of competitive cycling.

     
  4. Tommasini53

    If USAC wants to start a new race series, well wouldn’t a title sponsor cover the administrative costs??

    Over the years it seems like the distance between USCF/USAC and the average Joe Racer is increasing. I doubt this situation will change until USAC loses a large group of its membership to another organization.

     
  5. Just a reader

    Steve, interesting take. I forgot how many times I had to correct our NRC points last year. I also remember having to make sure they added all our riders points into the team tally. I think the database will help address that and also address the issue of “guest” riders and who gets credit for their points. Which team gets the points for a group of composites at a race like Utah? The team that provided them one jersey to wear for a week or the team they ride for the rest of the time? I think this does serve to address that critical issue. The fact that they are charging for $250 for this is another issue and I am not so sure about that one.

     

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