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PRESIDENT’S REPORT - July 2007

 

The Year in Review:

Meetings attended this past year include the USAG Congress (open meeting and presentation, August 2006), USAG Board of Director’s Meeting (Nov. 2006), National Judges Cup, JO/WTC and WAC meeting (May, 2007), and NACGC/W (May 2007). In addition, Sheila Ragle and I met with a representative of HPI in Atlanta in October.

INSURANCE ISSUES
We continue to carry both liability insurance for all members, and Director and Operator’s Insurance for all elected national, regional, state directors and state board members. Once again, a substantial savings in our policies has been negotiated. As in the past, financial statements, yearly nonprofit tax returns, our operating code and constitution and directors information are required. It is imperative that all duties carried out by our directors are stated in our operating code. It is also of utmost importance that in the function of their offices, the director’s are only carrying out those duties listed in our constitution and operating code. We also need to be conscious of documented and written word (newsletters and emails which are sent on by on or behalf of judging directors by state board members). It is a mandate that all procedures are followed as written, particularly those involving financial items.

ELECTIONS
I will leave the summary of the elections on the odd numbered regions to our VP to report upon. It has been an active year. Once again, I would ask the constitution committee to look at avenues to enlarge our pool of eligible members to serve, particularly on the NGB. We continue to receive questions regarding our election guidelines from SJD’s which mean they do not understand our constitution or they wish a change.

COMPENSATION PROPOSAL
A committee was formed to formulate a proposal submitted to USAG for an increase in judge’s fees to begin on August 1, 2008. The proposal was submitted in a timely manner in March to Steve Penny, Kathy Kelly, Tom Koll, Kathy Ostberg, Cheryl Hamilton and Connie Maloney. NAWGJ is in hopes that the proposal will move forward and that we will be informed shortly about the acceptance of our request. I represented NAWGJ at the May meeting with the members of the WTC, JO Committee and WAC. The final decision rests with Steve Penny and Kathy Kelly. Both have been out of the office the past week and a half.

NATIONAL JUDGES CUP
The National Judges Cup was held January 5, 6, 7, 2007 in Indianapolis. There were 99 judges representing 27 states and 1200 gymnasts from 17 states. The Level 7 State Team Competition was incredible with the State of Texas taking the championship. Competition was held in three separate gyms and NAWGJ particularly wishes to thank not only all of our judges members that volunteered but additionally, numerous staff from the USAG office contributed many hours and much energy. The 2008 Cup will be held January 4-6 in San Diego. Patty Shipman continues to serve as our Judges Cup Director.

USAG – JUDGES ACCREDITATION
According to our reported information, our organization has offered 172 exams, up from the previous year by approximately fifty exams. NAWGJ continues to communicate the new CPE program requirements to our member judges through newsletters and web information.
Member Background Screening: USA Gymnastics has announced a partnership with National Center for Safety Initiatives through which they will engage in a comprehensive background-screening program for our professional members. They have taken an important step to ensure the highest level of safety within our programs - for the youth athletes, the coaches, teachers, and judges. One of these steps is the implementation of a standardized approach to background screening for professional members. This includes a comprehensive background screening process using the Center’s Check it Twice™ product and a simple “Red Light/Green Light” clearance report issued in accordance with the Recommended Guidelines® published by the National Council of Youth Sports. This is part of an ongoing national movement towards the standardization of safety programs for youth-serving organizations in this country. USAG has worked with the National Center for Safety Initiatives to ensure that this process is convenient, secure and confidential.


NCAA/NACGC/W
Once again, the NCAA voted to mandate the use of the JAS for all collegiate competitions that will use the scores as qualification to NCAA Regionals for the 2008 season. This was again a huge show of support for NAWGJ by both the NCAA and the NACGC/W. All 85 of the participating NCAA programs and the conferences continue to use the JAS. NAWGJ secured the services of twelve assigners across the country and one assigner for the Division III competitions in the State of Wisconsin, plus the National Assigner to handle the assignment of judges across the USA. This past season we devised a way for the individual judge to receive an email directly from the JAS when assigned. We also were able to send a broadcast email to all the judges from the system. I believe that I have gotten this project off the ground and believe it is healthy for the system to have someone new at the helm. Hence, the 2008 season will be my last season as the National Assigner and I will be replaced by one of the college assigners.

The JAS Committee will meet this weekend to determine which assigners will be drawn out of the pool. An email will be sent from me to all judges in the JAS and also put on the NAWGJ website soliciting three new applicants for the openings.

The 13 assigners completed most of their respective judge assignments within a six-week period beginning their assignments the first week of October 2006 and completing by mid November. The feedback this season was that the judging was much more consistent across the country. I contracted the conference competitions with input from the assigners. In addition, I have assigned the collegiate invitational in Cancun for the past two years (no judge has been duplicated.) and Division III Nationals , held at University of WI- Whitewater. USAG continues to make the selection for the USAG National Invitational meet, with a lengthy list of recommendations from NAWGJ. The meet was held at Seattle-Pacific this March past. There are also some isolated concerns regarding the enforcement of affiliation. The judges are asked to list their affiliation on the JAS site and some are not doing so (or do not understand it).

NAWGJ produced a collegiate PowerPoint on the college rules that was put on the NAWGJ website. This was also part of a lecture at USAG Congress. At the request of NAWGJ, the NACGC/W has given NAWGJ support in the form of a grant as seed money for a NCAA Rules Symposium to be held in the center of the country this fall. The focus of this educational seminar, which will be on consistency in scoring, excellence in execution, and professionalism. It will be held at a university. A committee of coaches has been formulated for organization of the symposium. I will be requesting that each state that has funds in their treasury consider sending two officials to the symposium. In addition, a USAG sanction request will be submitted and continuing professional education hours will be requested. As soon as the date and location are finalized the information will be available on the NAWGJ.org website and an email will be sent to all judges who are listed in the JAS.

New collegiate judges will now be required to either attend a symposium on the collegiate modifications, practice judge all four events at a college meet, or practice judge at a collegiate intersquad with an experienced collegiate official before they can be assigned their first collegiate competition. It is the hope of NAWGJ and the NACGC/W that in the year following this first seminar some presentations can be made at regional congresses. We would then offer an additional opportunity at the 2009 NAWGJ National Symposium.


The NACGC/W has completed a study of scoring over the last 7-8 seasons and has shown that the scoring has been more consistent across the country, when teams travel home and away. The spread of scores of the teams has been greater over the past three seasons since the JAS began in 2005.


The site for the NCAA Nationals 2008 is The University of Georgia. One to two collegiate competitions continue to use the podium each season. It is used by the SEC conference and it will be used in 2008 at NCAA Nationals.