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Athlete Advisory Council

The Obligations of NGB Board Members

Over the last several

months, I have had the privi- lege of collaborating with a joint working group com- posed of members of the United States Olympic Com- mittee Athletes’ Advisory Council and the National Governing Bodies’ Council (NGBC), United States Olym- pic Committee staff, and governance consultant Kae Rader. This working group drafted guidelines for board members of National Gov- erning Bodies (NGB), such as USA Shooting. The goal of the working group was to formulate best practices for board members with an eye towards improving the per- formance of NGB boards. The guidelines contain rec- ommendations regarding the obligations of NGB board members and a framework under which NGBs can ad- dress situations where a board member might not be meeting those obligations. Athlete representatives

are a critical part of any NGB board of directors, in part because the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act requires that at least 20 percent of an NGB’s board be comprised of athletes who are actively competing in their sport or who have represented the United States in an international amateur athletic competi- tion within the preceding 10 years. To that end, several

Current USAS Board Athlete Representatives: (clockwise, from top left) Mary Weeks, Jason Turner, Janet Raab and Josh Richmond.

of the guidelines developed by the working group dealt specifi cally with athletes and their concerns with serv- ing on those boards. For example, NGBs are encour- aged to cover travel costs for athletes to attend board meetings—a practice USA Shooting follows. Many ath- letes simply do not have the fi nancial resources to fund travel costs to board meet- ings, and having the NGB pay those costs for the ath- letes helps to ensure athlete participation. Likewise, in a situation where an athlete board member must be re- moved from a board, the guidelines recommend that the athlete be replaced ex- peditiously so that the NGB

maintains 20 percent ath- lete representation on its board at all times. The working group also recognized that board mem- bers may occasionally have viewpoints that differ from those shared by the major- ity. I think this may be par- ticularly true for athletes, who represent a constitu- ent group that often has a different perspective than a typical non-profi t board member. The guidelines are clear that no board mem- ber—including any athlete board member—shall be removed from a board or suffer any adverse conse- quence due to expressing these differing viewpoints during board debate or in

board meetings. The guide- lines also endorse a number of procedural protections for board members who might be subject to removal from a board. For example, any board member subject to a removal vote must be given written notice specifying the grounds for proposed removal in advance of the meeting where the vote will occur, and the board mem- ber must also be given an opportunity to be heard on the issue. Removal of any board member would also require a two-thirds vote of the entire board rather than a simple majority. These guidelines have

gained widespread sup- port—they were approved by the NGBC at their October 2014 meeting and were also approved by the AAC at our January 2015 meeting. The United States Olympic Com- mittee Board of Directors has also passed a resolution endorsing the guidelines, and a number of individual NGBs have also adopted or implemented the guidelines in some manner. If you are interested in

looking at the guidelines, a copy can be found at the following link: http:// Learn more about your

Athlete Representatives on the USA Shooting Board of Directors here: http://bit. ly/1O5WOOU.

May 2015 | USA Shooting News 9

By Mary Weeks AAC Representative

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