Several recent news reports on the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) have elements of interest for Handball followers in the U.S.
The USOC has hired a search firm to find a new CEO. The firm will also work closely with a 9 member committee which includes former national team goalie, Matt Van Houten.
Colorado Springs Independent: Good USOC news, finally: http://www.csindy.com/colorado/good-usoc-news-finally/Content?oid=1498367
NBC Chairman Dick Ebersol, however thinks that they don’t need to spend money on a search firm: http://www.portfolio.com/industry-news/sports/2009/11/17/nbc-universal-sports-chief-dick-ebersol-mad-at-usoc/
In a related article, 1984 Handball Olympian and former USOC VP Mike Lenard, also had a few choice words on the current state of the USOC:
"The USOC's international standing is not only abysmally low, but now engulfed in crisis,"
"We have squandered our opportunities over the last decade to take farsighted leadership positions on initiatives that would be important to many national Olympic committees," Lenard said. "Instead, we have steadfastly maintained our 'U.S. exceptionalism.'"
Associated Press: 100 days from Vancouver, USOC looks for a leader: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gmPIzDo4lVn02w9ga9G9XB6QtLkwD9BO8QF00
Comcast and NBC Universal are engaged in merger talks which by default could resolve the controversy surrounding the launch of the U.S. Olympic Network (USON). This past summer plans for the USON were put on indefinite hold to quell IOC complaints concerning devaluing TV rights. Not coincidentally, NBC was not pleased with the USOC partnering with Comcast at the expense of the NBC universal platform. A merger would put them on the same team.
ESPN: Merger would unite USOC network rivals: http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/news/story?id=4661427
Finally, the USOC has selected Paul Tagiabue to lead an independent panel that will examine whether the USOC Board of Directors should change its governance structure. In 2003, a similar panel made the recommendation for the board to be smaller and for it to have more independent members. The new panel will assess if perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in that direction and that more board members should have Olympic sports experience. To USA Handball devotees that followed the By-Law controversy that led to the decertification of the old federation and the birth of a new one this argument will seem familiar as the governance documentation for USA Team Handball mirrors the USOC governance. It will be interesting to see if the pendulum also swings back for USA Team Handball to add board members with a background in Handball.
NY Times: Paul Tagliabue, Former N.F.L. Commissioner, Selected to Lead U.S.O.C. Panel: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/13/sports/olympics/13usoc.html