Questions About the USASF Athlete Membership Requirement

On September 1, 2010 the USASF Board of Directors unanimously approved requiring all athletes to be USASF members to attend all sanctioned competitions beginning with the 2011 – 2012 season. As I am feeling like the lonely advocate for the gym owners, potential gym owners, parents, and kids, I would like to point out some major problems with this ruling and hope that my concerns are met by the USASF.

The first concern is that currently there are very few member gyms and athlete members. People join things in order to get something in return. I feel that if the exchange was worthwhile in the first place, we would have more members. Forcing the membership to only allow athletes to compete does not merit worth. What are the worthwhile benefits to the participant, parent, and gym owner that must do all of the work and collect all of the money?

This leaves the door wide open for non-USASF competition companies to pop up and have little or no requirements for the gym owner. I know many gym owners that would like to save money, not spend more. If a competition circuit pops up that allows gyms to compete without membership fees, gym fees, coaching credentialing fees, and meeting fees, I believe many, if not all, gyms in my area would choose that circuit. What is stopping these companies from popping up or even withdrawing from the USASF in order to cater to their market?

Finally, when was this voted on and approved by the USASF members or NACCC members? Why are coaches paying lots of money to get credentialed, to get the gyms credentialed, to get athlete credentialing done for their program, and spending extra time and money to do these things as well as to attend meetings when it seems as if they have little or no voice? Right now it seems as if the USASF is in an office making decisions with the board and telling the gym owners to pay the bill and do the work. I feel as if a leading organization or “Federation” should supply help, aid, and support to the gym owners and potential gym owners in order to expand the activity. In what ways are the USASF and this decision offering this much needed help to the gym owners that are on the ground floor of our activity?

I feel as if there are good reasons for this decision, I just do not think that they have been addressed, and as so, will be controversial. As I have stated before and I will state many times again, the gym owners, coaches, and potential gym owners and coaches are the driving force behind competitive cheerleading and dance. Without them, there are no kids and no profits for uniform, competition, equipment, camp, or media related companies. We have got to do a better job of helping them.

I had over 3000 people at regional competitions last season. Not one gym there besides mine had credentialed athletes or member athletes. I suppose that $75,000 could go a long way to help the USASF. I just hope it will also go to help the gyms and their coaches, kids, and parents. I am a supporter of the USASF, but I carry the flag for the coaches that recruit, train, and educate the kids for a living so that those kids can provide good livings to the rest of the industry. We must do the work on the ground level. I hope that these and many more questions will be answered so that they can prove to us that the mission remains the same.

If you would like to see the Board of Directors that made this and other decisions you can see it here Those gym owners that need to get more information about what this ruling means for you can also go to the USASF website and find your state and regional directors, but do not look for a phone number for too long. It will be a waste of your time.