Sunday, August 28, 2011

USAC-ACA the "summary"

The immediate hue & Cry about the potential ACA-USAC reconciliation has died down a bit finally. With that, I've tried to break down the costs and proposed benefits of he ACA rejoining USAC as a Local Association (LA) into a small (ish) package. And with that, will add a poll for a few weeks.

Here is my take, starting with probably what is most important, what it costs us stiffs just to get a license and race. Just the PAPERS to race, not little things like bikes, entry fees, and those other little things.

Stay ACA only, yearly cost:
$45 base license - Practical for Road & Cross only
$12 for ACA timing chip ($35/year, good for 3 years)
$57 a year

Your Club ACA membership per year $100 (Renewal, $125 to start)

Some of us "non-sponsored" teams need to come up with this each year...)

ACA as a Local Association under USAC, Yearly Cost:
$60 base license (Road/cross or MTB/Cross)
$25 for ACA LA membership
$12 For ACA timing Chip (have to assume that program will continue... makes sense)
$97 a year

Your Club USAC membership per year $150

This one has to go to the ACA. Easily a 40% increase for a "local only" rider to get licensed with USAC. This of course is assuming you are NOT one of the 23% of ACA riders who also hold a USAC card, then your cost would go down $20 a year. It also assumes you would buy the "extra" ACA LA membership. The ACA will likely bribe you by making Cross cup/BAR available ONLY to ACA members. Your Club will also pay more with USAC.

Notes & assumptions
- The ACA would only get $10/year from USAC per year per rider. My guess at a "L.A. Version" ACA dues cost assumes the ACA sells "add on" L.A. memberships to make up the revenue. $25 a year just seems a guess, but could easily range up to $35 a year to "make up" the full delta in "lost" ACA revenue. This was also the rough cost ratio when BRAC was the USCF State association.
- USAC also allows the Local Associations to levy a $1-2 race fee add on.
- To race MTB AND road under USAC, add in ANOTHER $30 a year for the add on license
- AND should you ever want to race outside the US... $150 for that international license.

The arguments and benefits from the USAC note (The "so why Join USA Cycling" section), and my take on them:

Online registration - So what? there are MANY online registration outfits, and a LOT of riders like race day registration. Ever heard of

Save Money - Well only for about 1/4 of the current ACA membership.....

National Results and Rankings - again, so what? Ever heard of and I've seen nothing but complaints about USAC online results. **IF** you are a national championship contender in Cross, well, yea you care. I'd LIKE to help our crop of hard men, but not sure I want to pay for it.

Grassroots Investment - Well, that $2.8 Million dollar number going back to Local racing since 2003 SOUNDS good, but wait...... 35,000 USAC licenses sold per year, $10 from each back to the Local Association is $350K a year. 8 years from 2003 to 2011, $350K x 8 years is... you guessed it. $2.8 Million. maybe not all that generous to the grassroots after all.

Junior development - Sure all the young pros come from the USAC program. how else would they get to the national team? USAC = $600,000 per year in funding. $600,000 per year divided by the 33 Local Associations in the country is.... About $18,000 per LA per year. ACA had $45 K in their Jr. fund. Outside of that, I can't really say, neither group is getting kids out in droves.

Professional development of coaches, Officials & Race Directors - Not sure it matters, a good portion of the ACA officials are also USAC officials. They are all pretty good. How many Beer-drinking-dads hire coaches?

Local Association annual summit - OK, sure, a good thing. Learn from other areas.

Anti Doping - I'll just refer to one "event"...... Sure, a good thing.

Attracting Riders From surrounding states - Yep, would be easier if we were USAC, but hey, BOTH have one-day licenses for the lower catagories.

Experience the excitement of regional bike racing - see "one day license".....

Brand-new, modern governance model - Whee. Both organizations have a history of near criminal mis-management. Now both are better. At least now your money might have less chance of just being outright stolen.

The arguments and benefits from the ACA position paper, and my take on them:

Not terribly well defined. Lots of questions and discussion of lost revenue for ACA in the position paper, not a lot of "sales points". The table helps a lot, but is rather involved (Use the ACA and "ACA Local Association columns...). I'll try and paraphrase here:

Keeps local Control and paid, local staff (one full time) - How many of you KNEW the ACA had a full time employee? How many of you call the ACA office?

More money stays in Colorado - Always good

Better Junior & grassroots programs - Well, maybe

Keeps ACA funding at current levels - Not sure that matters to most of us.

Now for my own take. I'll put it in bullet form, based on "lets Rejoin USAC". I would keep it in mind that as the USAC noted, and with the same organization "running" local racing in Colorado, VERY little would change for racers at the local level and events.

- a 40% Higher yearly license cost for "recreational" racers
- ACA revenue decreases
- Maybe loose some or all the paid ACA staff. (Chris & Yvonne do a GREAT job...)
- Somewhat less "local Control" of some issues.
- Less local funding for Colorado programs
- Rule Changes and policy gets harder to change (Probably would not have gotten the call-up count moved back to 40 as fast as I did if we were USAC....)
- Less Grassroots emphasis

- ACA would loose some overhead management (Licenses, Insurance....)
- ONE Licence, especially for "serious" riders , and portability across the country
- Regain better National & Elite participation & upgrade path (get the Pros back in ACA races...)
- Participation in national rankings for CX call-ups at nationals

So, what to do?

I do NOT believe that the USAC really gives a crap about "recreational" racers or grassroots development, outside of harvesting our cash. The USAC CEO, Steve Johnson is quoted in a Cyclocross Magazine interview (issue 7) saying "That's the key for all our cycling disciplines to succeed is to have these professional capstone opportunities" and in the USAC sales pitch his #2 question of what people ask themselves about taking up a sport being "can I make a living at it?" shows pretty much the attitude of the USAC. They really are focused on the elites, and the elites only. ACA is at least a bit more responsive to us hacks. I't going to cost us more to fund that national & elite focus. After the Strange, rambling, and borderline condescending missive from Mr. johnson, I'm even LESS impressed with their "vision" for my participation in this sport.

It DOES make sense to have ONE organization to administer the sport. Having Colorado doing our own thing really does not make sense. With the USA Pro Cycling Challenge now gaining SUCH wide and popular response, it's going to look even sillier to try and justify 2 sanctioning bodies. You might even be able to understand a UCI/USGP race flyer if we merged.

IN the end, I'm not sure I can justify the added cost for the "fuzzy" benifits of those going to nationals and the common sense aspects. It really seems to come down to how you feel about "grassroots" support versus "elite" support.

Click away on the poll at the upper right, easy yes or no. Like to hear what you all think.

1 comment:

  1. Great Analysis, except don't forget the 30 to 40% of members that hold both liscenses and for clubs that have to register in both the ACA and USAC.

    Also, I don't remember paying a Local Org. Fee in other parts of the country. Is the $25 Local Org. Fee Something new?

    --Kevin Anderberg