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Board of Directors Update - April 2021

by USA Racquetball

Greetings to all, and Happy Spring!


We’re excited about the coming Festival in St. Louis -- please see the update article elsewhere in this newsletter, and we are looking forward to seeing everyone there as the Racquetball Family gathers once again. Of course, just three months later, the UnitedHealthcare US OPEN will be in full swing. Exciting times coming!



SafeSport Message to Our USAR Members


With recent announcements regarding SafeSport requirements, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide information and a perspective on recent changes. 


To enhance athlete safety and to comply with the requirements of SafeSport as determined by the U.S. Center for SafeSport and the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and as mandated by United States Congress, members who anticipate having regular contact (four or more interactions including but not limited to matches, tournaments, leagues, clinics, refereeing, practices) with an athlete under 18 years of age in a 12-month period must complete SafeSport education/training. This is an annual requirement with the longer version of the education/training (90 minutes) taking place every four years. 


Knowing that the majority of adult players do not compete against or otherwise participate with minors, USA Racquetball successfully arranged with the U.S. Center for SafeSport to allow adult members to self-identify their expected level of interaction with minors. In this category of regular contact with minors, rather than all adult members being initially required to undergo SafeSport training/education, only those who anticipate (or subsequently have) regular contact with minors on four or more occasions in a 12-month period must immediately complete SafeSport training/education.


A specific question has arisen about the category of “parent coaches.” Certainly parents who coach only their own child(ren) are not required to complete SafeSport education/training, although parents may be particularly motivated to take advantage of the knowledge afforded. However, when parent coaches are working with their own children in competition and training, whether locally or at national/international events, they often have regular contact with other children, e.g., doubles partners or pitching in to help coach other junior matches. In such cases where parents are coaching children other than their own, SafeSport education/training is required. 

Note: This policy relative to U.S. Junior Team parent coaches has been in effect for four years. 


To leave you with some facts:

  • Since their doors opened in 2017, the U.S. Center for SafeSport has trained more than 1.6 million individuals. 
  • Thousands of cases from a wide array of sports have been brought to the Center, with over 850 violations found.
  • Almost 300 individuals have been declared permanently ineligible to participate in sport of any kind.
  • Nearly 500 USA Racquetball members are already educated and trained.

The purpose of SafeSport education is to train individuals on becoming more aware of signs of misconduct, including abuse...and that enhanced awareness could ultimately make a significant difference in the course of someone’s life. We hope this will ultimately outweigh the minor inconvenience felt by some. 


USA Racquetball recommends that all individuals complete SafeSport education/training to gain a greater understanding of the subject matter. This will help build a USAR community where participants can work and learn together free of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and misconduct.


Thank you for your teamwork!




The Board met for its monthly meeting (generally the last Monday of each month) on March 29th via Zoom, and following are some points of interest.


Thirteen Board members and Executive Director Mike Wedel were in attendance. 


Executive Director Update

Mike Wedel provided information on the following topics:

  • SafeSport education/training and background checks
    1. A new vendor, Player’s Health, is creating a centralized website with all of the background check and SafeSport links in one place to simplify the process, with projected completion by May 1. Additionally, a self-identifying function will be used, i.e., players will declare whether they anticipate having regular contact (four or more interactions including but not limited to matches, tournaments, leagues, clinics, refereeing, practices) with athletes under 18 years of age in the next 12 months. If the answer is yes, SafeSport education/training will be required.
  • 2021 Racquetball Festival Progress Report 
    1. Information covered included hotels, Athlete Village (restaurants, entertainment), team qualifying divisions, # of clubs (3 with a total of 22 courts), early registration discount, junior and collegiate discounts, transportation, operations, COVID practices, celebration schedule (Hall of Fame/Awards, Junior Awards), marketing, PR, and social media. 
  • Members have reached out to say that they are not receiving Serving Up the News, Festival announcements, etc. This was due in part to members opting out of communication in the past and then finding it challenging to opt back in.   
    1. In response to the feedback, new options are being explored to facilitate greater reach using the USAR email distribution list. 
    2. For email blasts from within the USAR system, members can go to their profiles and ensure they have “opted in” to receive informational updates. 

Financial Update 

Financial performance through February is generally on track with the budget, although revenues are significantly down from last year’s pre-COVID numbers. Revenues are primarily down in the areas of membership, sanction fees, and championship entry fees. On a positive note, membership revenue in February was 10% above budget. The resumption of a modest number of sanctioned events as well as membership auto-renewals have helped in the membership area.


USAR has worked diligently to maximize assistance from a variety of sources made available due to impacts from the pandemic. The Association has obtained two separate Small Business Association Payroll Protection Program loans, which are expected to be forgiven and become grants in the next few months. USAR also obtained a grant from El Paso County, funded by CARES Act funds, as well as grant support from El Pomar Foundation, a Colorado private foundation.


Additionally, due to the significant financial impacts and uncertainty created by the pandemic, and to ensure long-term liquidity, USAR obtained low-interest loans made available through CARES Act funding and by a local non-profit organization. As a result of many cost saving measures and valued charitable contributions, there are no plans to utilize these borrowed funds. At this time, due to the ongoing uncertainty with return-to-play protocols around the country, the Finance Committee has recommended to the Board that repayment of loan funds be delayed until the financial outlook is more certain.


Next Meeting: April 26, 2021




The makeup of the USAR Board of Directors is robust, including four state association presidents, two pro tour commissioners, the NMRA president, several business owners, and three elite racquetball athletes. They bring a wide range of attributes brought from multiple areas of business, education, and racquetball experience. 


Visit to view Board members’ photos and profiles. Just click on each photo to see the profile, and click on the name to send an email!

We hope you are finding this newsletter feature interesting, and we always welcome suggestions and/or questions for future articles. Please contact Stewart Solomon (VP) or Cheryl Kirk (Secretary).


If you have questions about the Staff’s activities, please contact Mike Wedel.


Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

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