If I were at the Town Hall Meeting in Illinois…

I won’t be attending the USA National Championships this coming weekend, so regrettably I will be missing out on and opportunity to catch up with old friends and talk about Handball issues with the Federation leadership. But, if I was attending Nationals, I certainly would have a few burning questions. A town hall meeting is scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 PM. Here are some suggested topics and questions for those who will be there:

1) Board of Director (Election/Selection): The Federation By-Laws that were approved at the first Board Meeting are not exactly clear as to the procedures for Electing/Selecting Board Members. Namely, the by-laws includes language (Section 5.2) concerning member rights to vote in elections, but the language (Section 7.6) for choosing Board Members only describes a selection process. As I read it, the Nomination and Governance Committee will be the sole decider as to who the new Board Members are. And the Board of Directors gets to decide who gets placed on the Nomination and Governance Committee. Thus creating a potential never-ending do-loop where only like-minded individuals can possibly get a seat at the table. With the exception, of course, of the two athlete representatives who must be elected.

Going back to the original applications submitted to the USOC, I noted that the lack of an election process was pretty undemocratic, but perhaps that was designed intentionally to save USA Handball from itself. The conflict in the by-laws suggests, however, that there might be some reconsideration of this. So, the simple question to ask is “Will the Federation membership ever get to vote on candidates for the Board of Directors?” and, “If no, Why not?”

2) Competition Committee: See my last post on this topic for more detail. The basic question to be asked is how will Nationals be set up next year?

3) Little has been said or written as to how the USA plans to field competitive National teams. Here’s some relevant questions:
– There were talent identification camps this year, but now there’s already talk of requiring the Men’s team to self fund their attendance at the PATHF Div 1 championship later this year. It looks like the USA is already resigned to not qualifying for the 2011 Men’s WC. Is the USA also throwing in the towel in regards to London 2012? When will the USA first attempt to seriously qualify for major competition?
– Is the USA considering establishing a resident National Team program? If so, when and where?
– Are their plans to more aggressively place USA players with foreign clubs?
– Is there a master plan that lays out what the goals are near term, mid term, long term? Can we see it?

4) German Bundesliga: I’ll say again that this partnership deal could be a major breakthrough for USA Team Handball. The key words are “could be.” The questions are, what are the concrete benefits of this partnership and when will start to see them?

Side note: The IHF President is attending the USA National Championships. It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan and you can guess how I feel about the implied endorsement USA Team Handball has given, by welcoming him less than a month prior to the upcoming election vote in Cairo. The President, however, is the representative of the IHF and should be treated with respect. That being said, the National Championship is an excellent opportunity for you to make it clear to the Board of Directors how you feel about the upcoming election. Some of the Board of Directors are total newcomers to the sport and most likely would be interested in getting feedback from the rank and file on a number of issues. USA Team Handball Board Members names and photos are here: http://www.usateamhandball.org/about/board/ If you spot them, go ahead and chat them up for a few minutes. I'm sure they will appreciate it.