For those of you interested in the goings-on at USARS, they have posted there meeting minutes here. Some highlights of interest:
*Proposal to hold the 2013 and possibly the 2015 USA National Championships in Albuquerque, NM. Final approval depends on financial negotiations with the city. I am sort of excited by this prospect, and the details in the proposal look like it could be a great host city. Every year spent dealing with metered parking in Lincoln makes me that much more excited by the prospect of “parking structure.” The proposal to have a practice rink inside the actual convention center facility also sounds rather swanky. It would be much easier for coaches to attend to the needs of all of their skaters, and it would keep more skaters in the building, and in the stands.
*Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, NE may no longer be available to host events (like the national championships) after 2014. It has long been rumored that the city either wants to demolish and rebuild, or build a new auditorium farther from the center of downtown, which could more easily facilitate large events. In either case, this could put a damper on the USARS attempts to host a World Championships in the US at any point in the near future.
*The artistic committee is discussing alternative methods of choosing the world team members. Up to this point, world team members have been chosen by placement at the national championships. However, the committee is looking to add provisions for naming ill or injured skaters to the team, or to prevent skaters from being named to the team who they consider non-competitive at the world level. They are taking into consideration how the world team choices are made both in ice figure skating, and in other countries.
*USARS is trying to create a rulebook for roller derby. Its popularity has skyrocketed over the past few years, and USARS wants to give the sport a more structured foundation. There are talks about organizing regional and national level championships, as well as involving FIRS to perhaps get derby up to the world level.
*The much discussed removal of “C” level events from the national championships has been given a stay. While the artistic committee feels that it would be beneficial to the sport, the USARS office wants approval from the finance committee before committing to this change. It appears that C level events will continue to the nationals in 2012, and beyond that it remains up to the financial department.
*USARS members under the age of 4 will be given free membership.
*Proposal that once a medal is given to an athlete, that placement is irreversible. They must check with the USOC to see if this is an acceptable rule. I think this could be problematic, since often times the score sheets are not available until after the medal ceremony, at which point it is too late to reverse any mistakes.
*Discussion about creating a bronze-level pairs RSA test program and grassroots instructional information for coaches.
*Skaters placing in the combined figure/loop events but not in the individual loop or figure events do not have to move out of those figure events.
*The Junior/JrWC events will not be split for this season.
*Request for judges committee to discuss appropriate method for dealing with an interruption of a two-person flight where skaters are scored in a set order.
*CIPA figure events will be conducted as at the world championships with the referee signaling the skater to start.
*Skaters placing 1-2-3 in Primary at the national championships must move up to the A level in that event when moving up by age.
*The Jr/JrWC event will have the jump requirements as determined by CIPA (ie, single, double or triple is allowed for the axel and the toe-assisted jump).
*There still seems to be discussion over combining the Freshman/Sophomore age levels for the girl events, since this has worked well for the boys events. Personally, I do not think this is a wise move. Honestly, I feel it ignores the 12-18 age bracket. That is the age when the rest of life becomes more appealing, and in a sport where numbers have been dropping, it seems a bit heavy handed to remove a division from an age group that is already wavering between staying and going. If skaters have nothing to look forward or advance to, they will find something else to focus their time and energy on. This, coupled with the current rule that only first place at nationals is required to move out of the division will be discouraging to many of the skaters in that event.
Overall it looks like there was quite a bit being discussed at this meeting. It seems like events at the 2011 nationals gave them much to talk about. Should be interesting to see how the board rules on the proposed changes in the coming years. And, personally, I would be excited to see nationals in Albuquerque in the coming years.