USOC Open Hearing on NGB Proposals

Team Handball News recorded the USOC’s Open Hearing that was conducted on 30 August to review proposals to become the National Governing Body (NGB) for Team Handball in the United States. A copy of that recording is available below. Be advised that the recording is 1 hour and 28 minutes long and the file size is 41 MB. Additionally, the quality of the audio is not the best as some individuals are hard to hear and there is background noise.
Right click to download; Left click to play

Here is a rough timeline of the hearing’s content with the key points made (as I saw it):

0:00 – 5:25 Introductory remarks from the USOC’s Eric Parthen
– The USOC made a point that while they decided to do a search for an NGB, they were not obligated to have done so.
5:25 – 19:10 UTHF Presentation
– Dennis Berkholtz indicated that he is participating in an advisory function and does not intend to be either an employee or board member
– Brad Krassner discussed how he and his business partner Dieter Esch would utilize their business experience and marketing connections to benefit USA Handball
– They would like to support the development of a professional league in 7-10 cities and increase the television exposure of the sport
– They have had positive discussion with 10-12 potential board members
– Amir Haskic would be the interim management staff for their organization
16:40 – 17:35 Inaudible
17:35 – 19:10 Amir Haskic discusses his involvement in the effort
19:10 -37:00 ATHA Presentation
– Christian Zaharia discussed the grassroots nature of the ATHA effort and how they had already strated programs in several cities
– Emphasized that it will take more than 4 years for the US to be competitive in international competitions
32:10 – 37:00 Bogdan Pasat spoke during this segment, but the audio quality is limited
37:00 – 38:45 Segway to Q&A
38:45 – 41:00 Matt Van Houten asked how the athlete board members were selected for the ATHA proposal. The answer, as I understood it, was that attempts were made to contact as many athletes as possible and that the athletes currently on the board are serving in interim capacity
41:00 – 43:15 Matt Van Houten asked the ATHA if they intended to involve the USOC Athlete’s Advisory Council (AAC) Representative (the position he currently has) in their organization. The answer is that they were open to AAC representative participation.
43:15 – 45:00 Bruce Mossberg asked both organizations if current USOC certified Referees would also be certified by the new NGBs. The answer from both organizations was yes.
45:00 – 47:40 Matt Van Houten asked the UTHF the rationale behind their proposal’s use of the name “USA Team Handball.” The answer, was that they want to keep the historical reference, but intend to formally change the name at a later date.
47:40 – 51:30 Matt Van Houten asked both organization what they anticipated in regards to their working relationship with the USOC. The UTHF responded that they were totally open and that involvement with the USOC was a blessing. Additionally, they emphasized that their organization had “no past baggage.” The ATHA responded by saying that the only way to make it work was to work together. But, they also stressed that they fully intend to stand on their own.
51:30 -54:50 The audio is not clear in this segment and I think that a USOC representative asked about each sides 501(c) filing status. The UTHF responded that they had filed as a Salt Lake incorporation, but that they would be doing a name change. The ATHA indicated that an application had been prepared and will be expedited so that it will be in place this Fall.
54:50 – 56:15 (Audio quality is poor)
0:56:15 – 1:08:00 Jay Warwick from the USOC pointed out that the projected revenues for both bids were ambitious and not in line with the USOC’s experience with other minor sports. Specifically he asked each organization what their confidence level was to meet their revenue projections. Brad Krasner from the UTHF responded by indicating that he and Dieter Esch would personally guarantee the $350,000 expected from the 7 board members and that attracting sponsor revenue is a major part of the current jobs. In terms of the regional board member funding he indicated they were less confident, but that they were fairly confident in terms of membership revenue projections.
1:00:00 – 1:02:00 The funding related to the Dekalb International Training Center (DITC) was discussed, but the audio is not very clear.
1:02:00 – 1:08:00 The ATHA indicated that their numbers were on the high end, but that they wanted to see what could be achieved. Additionally, it was noted that they had positive discussion concerning a National Team apparel deal and seemed to hint that the Polish National Team might be enticed to play a match in Chicago.
1:08:00 – 1:12:00 Matt Van Houten asked each organization how they will work the with the DITC. The ATHA very pointedly expressed their displeasure with the surprise and hush-hush nature of the USOC – DITC deal. Both organizations expressed their desire to work with the DITC, and Dennis Berkholtz indicated that it was understanding that the DITC would work with either NGB that was selected.
1:12:00 – 1:12:00 Matt Van Houten asked both organizations if either Mike Hurdle or Peter Siskind were associated with their effort. Both organizations indicated that the answer was no.
1:12:00 – 1:19:00 Eric Parthen from the USOC indicated that previous USOC decisions to grant NGB status were based on an organization’s proven track record. However, this situation was breaking new ground as neither organization had a track record and that they would have to have a lot of faith in the chosen organization’s plan. He also indicated that the USOC could also decide to not grant NGB status to either organization. He then asked each organization what would happen to their organization if they were not selected.
UTHF Response (Fred Krassner) “We would probably fold up our tent and not go any further. I mean (the members) involved on our side from a business standpoint have gotten revved up and are interested in this project right now, but they are all business people and they are all busy and they all do a lot of different things and if this come to fruition for us we would all probably just go on to another project.”

ATHA Response (Christian Zaharia): “We already have a grassroots program in place even though we are not (an) NGB and its our full intention to continue independent(ly) if we get NGB status or not. We already work with the communities, the Boards of Educations and we start already to enlarge this corporation in different states, different cities. So we know.. I dare to say.. In a little part of a year we already have a track (record), so I think we are still going to be here. That’s our passion and that’s what will be doing.” Mariusz Wartalowicz further stated that if the USOC decided that the ATHA was not ready, they would want to continue the conversation so that they could become ready in the future.

1:19:00 – 1:23:00 Jay Warwick asked each organization what they could bring to the other organization. The ATHA emphasized their grassroots strength and the UTHF emphasized their business experience and their ability to tap into sponsorship

1:24:00 -1:28:00 Closing comments from the USOC. The USOC indicated that they saw a lot of similarity in the two proposals in terms of mission and bylaws, but that there were also significant differences. They indicated that the UTHF proposals strengths in funding and business prospects were good. They complimented the ATHA on their strategic plan to develop a grassroots program, but expressed concern with the lack of an existing ATHA staff function to handle all of the day to day issues involved with running a national program. They then encouraged the two organizations to discuss their strengths and weaknesses and to consider the possibility of working together