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    USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

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    Judobrad

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    USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Judobrad on Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:17 pm

    Dear USA Judo Athletes, Coaches and Members,

    I am writing to you all today in hopes of raising awareness and furthering the support of our Olympic athletes. A very informative letter was recently written by Sensei James Pedro Sr., which detailed the lack of payment by USA Judo to three US Judo athletes. I found this letter to be informative and an eye opener for us all. In the process of reading this and discussing it with other members of USA Judo, it came to light that there is a fourth athlete, who has somehow slipped under the radar of the attention we should all be giving. Nick Delpopolo, ranked #6 in the world, is not fortunate enough to be four months behind on his stipend payment. The reason for this is because USA Judo has not included Nick in their stipend payouts.

    What does that mean? That means that Nick is responsible for all financial matters as it pertains to Judo. He must pay for his own airfare, hotel, car rental/taxis, food and entry fees. For those of you really in the dark, in order to make the 2016 Olympic Team, Nick must compete in International tournaments, securing points based on how well he places, and remaining in the top 22 in the world. If he is not financially able to make it to events, he will lose his place on the rankings and will not have enough points to reach the 2016 Olympics.

    The purpose of USA Judo is to represent the United States in Judo and supporting the athletes who can make an Olympic Team, therefore being able to represent the country in the sport of Judo in the Olympics. When we have an athlete ranked #6 in the world, who was the only one to win gold at the 2013 Pan-American Championships, who is the one we constantly see when we tune in to International events on Ippon.tv, not receiving any financial help from a group who is there to help and support our Olympic athletes, that is a problem. And Nick has served his punishment he received for the incident at the 2012 Olympics, so if a stipend is being withheld from him because of that, then what USA Judo is doing is illegal.

    So what can we do about it? The USOC, (United States Olympic Committee) has an Athlete Ombudsman who is responsible for many things, but part of those responsibilities being assisting in the development and implementation of policies to secure and support the rights of elite athletes. Nick needs our support. Please join me in writing to John Ruger, Athlete Ombudsman, and let him know that one of the most active and successful judo players for American Judo since the 2012 Olympics, is without financial support from an organization who’s primary purpose is to support our Olympic athletes. You may email him at john.ruger@usoc.org. Let him know that Nick is as deserving of a stipend as our other three Judo players.

    Sincerely,
    Brad
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    Judobrad

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Judobrad on Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:21 pm

    For the record, I have already sent John an email. Took me five minutes. If you guys can do the same, I feel confident that we can make some changes happen in USA Judo and get the athletes the support they need. We are so far behind other countries in the support our countries organization provides.
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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Tue Jul 30, 2013 9:12 am

    I'd be interested in hearing from some of the other elite athletes who represented us so well in London, and those who are getting ready for Rio - are they getting any support?

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Judo_Hannah63 on Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:14 am

    Sad


    Last edited by Judo_Hannah63 on Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:42 am; edited 2 times in total
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:28 am

    I am not trying to be cross, but it seems to me that one crucial tings is missing in this thread. The thread seems to be taking a course of why is Athlete X supported and get this amount of money and why does Athlete Y not get this ?

    However, it seems to me that the discussion should be simply:

    1. What are the exact criteria to receive what amount of money ?
    2. To what extent do athlete X and Y and Z meet the criteria established under #1 ?

    Deviating from a transparent and externally verifiable and justifiable model, the entire approach risks being governed by personal sympathy or antipathy, and the focus will simply move to others, since from the moment athlete Y and Z will be supported, athletes YY and ZZ will wonder why X, Y and Z are supported but not YY and ZZ.

    So maybe if someone could provide a link or verbal clarification about the actual criteria that exist to be eligible for sponsorship and ow these criteria are assessed. Are there appeal options ? If so, who hears or examines those appeals ?


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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:59 am

    transparency seems to be the major problem

    Hannah Martin is an A+ athlete ranked number 1 in the US, and #18 in the world. Nick is an A ranked, number 1 in the US and #5 in the world.

    I don't see much of a difference - they both need as much international experience as possible, and they both need our support. So do a lot of the other elite athletes with USA Judo.
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:04 am

    Stacey wrote:transparency seems to be the major problem

    Hannah Martin is an A+ athlete ranked number 1 in the US, and #18 in the world.  Nick is an A ranked, number 1 in the US and #5 in the world.

    I don't see much of a difference - they both need as much international experience as possible, and they both need our support.  So do a lot of the other elite athletes with USA Judo.

    I understand, but WHAT ARE the criteria for sponsorship currently in place ?

    There are, by the way, other ways to help athletes besides money. There are numerous people who through their professional life continuously travel and who accumulate millions of free airmiles. There exist charity programs with airlines where members of the public can donate airlines for charity courses. However, nothing prevents people to donate airmiles to these jûdôka. If really helping out jûdôka is the issue and not people for themselves trying to get some kind of tax advantage out of it, then this is as valid a way forward as any other. If you got 2 million airmiles in your account and know that often 50,000-80,000 mls may afford intercontinental travel then really is it such a self-sacrifice for someone to help out judoka in such a way ?  It doesn't even cost money.

    By, the way, don't underestimate the system. I remember once donating money to USA Judo to support the athletes. It was an absolute nightmare. I had to write several e-mails and make phone calls to them to ask them to please let me know how I could donate it. I remember seeing the E-mails from the administrative person to the treasurer, the latter who has the time moved with the swiftness of an anesthetized turtle. I thought seriously, guys get real, is it a wonder there is such a problem. You really expect sponsors to run after you begging to please accept their money ?


    Last edited by Cichorei Kano on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:31 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:29 am

    Grant writing, finding funding, finding sponsorship - those are nightmares in and of themselves. There are professional grant writers out there who have a hard time finding funding for programs that aren't seen by neighbors in the local ballpark every season (and their kid happens to play for them).

    No doubt there are other ways to get money. Most of the elite have paypal accounts, donation pages, t-shirts, and give of themselves by giving clinics. They have a hard enough job doing judo full time and putting in the wear and tear on the body that makes an elite athlete. Asking them to become grant writers on top of everything else is impossible. Asking them to come up with novel and unique ways of making money is also impossible (wonder who was the first judoka to do a Kickstart campaign? http://www.kickstarter.com/). Other judoka give freely, helping with t-shirt design and what they can. But, that does not excuse a lack of stipend.

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Wed Jul 31, 2013 10:31 am

    btw, your point re donation of airmiles is well taken. I hope those of you who fly a lot for business think about donating some miles to those on the national roster. How you go about doing that? I don't know. I haven't been on a plane in a long while.
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    Judobrad

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Judobrad on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:30 am

    Great to see some discussion involved in all of this. That was another point of my post, to raise discussion and awareness.

    CK-The criteria for the stipends is one of the big questions we need answered. When talking with John Ruger, USOC ombudsman, it appears this years stipends are for judo players were based on who "had the highest rankings at the time the decisions were made last year." That so far is the only "criteria" I have received. The issue with this criteria is that it runs concurrent for one year, so if a judo player decides they no longer want to compete in judo, they receive the stipend no matter what for the entire year. And if new players make a rise, they are essentially SOL til the next funding decision is made. Which brings another issue, so is it only the top 3 athletes? Travis Stevens has now fallen behind Kayla, Nick and Hannah, so will he be removed from the stipend group? Questions, questions, questions.

    Hannah-You are one of the players I brought up to John Ruger when discussion the lack of stipend. As of right now, you and Nick are representing the United States in Judo, both in activity and success. Yes, Kayla is still our Olympic champion, but with her being out with an injury, additional stipends should be rewarded to active and successful players like Nick and Hannah.

    As for the progress with Nick. I am told that the new stipend decisions will be made later this year, although I was under the impression that happened in February. And it will be based on athletes who have had good results this year. Funny enough, this information getting out about the US having a #5 world ranked athlete with no support from their NGB has spread further than I thought. I have been getting emails from International companies possibly looking at sponsoring Nick, because they are fans of judo and hate to see a player his level not being able to compete because USA Judo cannot afford it. How ironic would it be for a US Judo player to continue doing judo based off sponsorship from foreign countries? Thats where we are at with US Judo. banghead 
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:02 pm

    Glad to hear others are considering supporting Nick. Embarrassed that those sponsorships are outside the US.

    I thought Travis was also out with an injury, not just Kayla. For me, it shouldn't be so cut and dried, and an athlete should never be SOL because they rise on their own, and no athlete should be forced to choose between caring for an injury and maintaining their funding - talk about a really f***ed up situation.

    Some transparency would be nice. Nicer still would be funded athletes so that they can get the experience they need to succeed.
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    Judobrad

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Judobrad on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:14 pm

    I agree, an injury should not cause you to lose stipends, last thing we need is people training/competing through torn ACL's. I just cant imagine USA Judo being so low on the cash reserves that they cant institute "fill-in" stipends to pay other athletes who are currently competing, which may not fit their "criteria"(whatever that may be) or have funded their selves enough to jump up in rankings and deserving of a stipend.

    Its a catch-22. We can never afford to pay our athletes like countries like Russia or Germany do, because we do not have enough people competing in Judo. But if you get more superstars or medalists in judo, more people will compete and you can pay athletes more. And then when you do finally get a superstar from Judo(Ronda) you did to her what your doing to Nick now, so what reason do they have to support USA Judo when they leave?
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:22 pm

    Judobrad wrote:I agree, an injury should not cause you to lose stipends, last thing we need is people training/competing through torn ACL's. I just cant imagine USA Judo being so low on the cash reserves that they cant institute "fill-in" stipends to pay other athletes who are currently competing, which may not fit their "criteria"(whatever that may be) or have funded their selves enough to jump up in rankings and deserving of a stipend.

    Its a catch-22. We can never afford to pay our athletes like countries like Russia or Germany do, because we do not have enough people competing in Judo. But if you get more superstars or medalists in judo, more people will compete and you can pay athletes more. And then when you do finally get a superstar from Judo(Ronda) you did to her what your doing to Nick now, so what reason do they have to support USA Judo when they leave?

    Yeah, I'm so glad Ronda has come out for the athletes. I'm so glad she's finally earning what she's worth. I'm just very sad it's not in judo (not that I mind watching her snap those fail to tap idiots ....). The idea that a judoka of her calibre had to work a check-in desk at a gym during third shift so that she could train and make ends meet is foul!

    If there's money, get it to those who need it. If there's no money, why? What do we need to do to get money from the USOC to our elite judoka? If there was money, where did it go?

    Let some aspiring judoka know what it takes to get a stipend, and let that kid work towards a stipend. Be transparent. It's hard to aim at the Olympics or the World Team or number 1 ranking enough without the calculus they use atm.

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    Judobrad

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Judobrad on Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:11 pm

    I agree 100%. Theres not enough transparency to allow others to help find out what the problem is and how to resolve it.(Although I think thats actually what those with paid positions in USA Judos responsibility to do.) Which then leads me to ask, if they cannot find a way to have more than three athletes funded by a stipend, maybe they should be replaced with a group who is better at being transparent to their members and finding ways to bring in more funds for athletes.
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by BillC on Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:42 pm

    Where's Dennis R. Scheib when we need him!


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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Fri Aug 02, 2013 11:11 am

    Without wanting to distract from the problem the athletes mentioned above are suffering, I also would like to draw attention to people such as our forum friend HeikoJr, who is one of the best and most dedicated kata performers in the US with numerous national and Pan-American gold medals, and who as far as I am aware, does not get even a penny for his achievements and has to pay every travel and anything else out of his own pocket. The entire problem therefore requires a holistic approach and these people should not be forgotten. When I visit important championships I always seen CEO, President and a whole lot of other people who are not necessary there. They don't fight or do judo, they are tourists. Instead of the federation spending money on their plane tickets and hotel stays (and they don't stay at Motel 6) why isn't this money instead directed to the jûdô shiai athletes and kata performers ?


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    Referees and Technical Officials Too

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Sat Aug 03, 2013 2:50 am

    Cichorei Kano wrote:Without wanting to distract from the problem the athletes mentioned above are suffering, I also would like to draw attention to people such as our forum friend HeikoJr, who is one of the best and most dedicated kata performers in the US with numerous national and Pan-American gold medals, and who as far as I am aware, does not get even a penny for his achievements and has to pay every travel and anything else out of his own pocket. The entire problem therefore requires a holistic approach and these people should not be forgotten. When I visit important championships I always seen CEO, President and a whole lot of other people who are not necessary there. They don't fight or do judo, they are tourists. Instead of the federation spending money on their plane tickets and hotel stays (and they don't stay at Motel 6) why isn't this money instead directed to the jûdô shiai athletes and kata performers ?


    Your question is age-old and has been ever since I have been doing Judo in the USA.

    As far as I know, most of the referees are volunteer at say US Nationals, what used to be the US Open, et al. I was a technical official, and I paid my own way to every event I attended (to work). Same for refereeing at collegiate nationals, scholastics, etc.

    It's all about the perks for the higher up officials. Overhead if you will. Before USA Judo reorganized, it was not nearly as bad as it is now.

    Financial support for kata ? LOL! NGB (USA at least) are all about making money for the USOC and getting some of it back to fund themselves.



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    Jonesy

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Jonesy on Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:21 am

    This is not unique to judo. For every sport, in every country and any NGB an official/administrator's snout can be found in the trough.


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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Sat Aug 03, 2013 8:44 am

    I just don't get it; if you're an official and your bit is paid for by USA Judo but you know that none of the US athletes are fully paid for the exact same event - what's the point? Can you really live with yourself? Yeah, sure, USA refs have to get their experience in, but beyond that, what's the point? Further, if you can't field US athletes at that event, then what good is your experience anyway?

    You know, maybe I'm just jealous; Iowa doesn't pay me for travel to get to court or visit my clients when I'm on the State dole. When I'm on the state dole, I get paid a helluva lot less than when I'm paid privately. I could ask to stay in a hotel, and maybe get a stipend if the court is far enough away from my house, but they'll laugh at anything but a pre-approved Motel 6. If I want to stay someplace better, I pay for the whole thing, and don't get credit for the Motel 6.

    Without the elite athlete, what do we need USA Judo for? If they can't support the elite athletes, then what exactly are they doing?
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by BillC on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:05 am

    Stacey wrote:I just don't get it; if you're an official and your bit is paid for by USA Judo but you know that none of the US athletes are  fully paid for the exact same event - what's the point?  Can you really live with yourself?  Yeah, sure, USA refs have to get their experience in, but beyond that, what's the point?  Further, if you can't field US athletes at that event, then what good is your experience anyway?

    You know, maybe I'm just jealous; Iowa doesn't pay me for travel to get to court or visit my clients when I'm on the State dole.  When I'm on the state dole, I get paid a helluva lot less than when I'm paid privately.  I could ask to stay in a hotel, and maybe get a stipend if the court is far enough away from my house, but they'll laugh at anything but a pre-approved Motel 6. If I want to stay someplace better, I pay for the whole thing, and don't get credit for the Motel 6.  

    Without the elite athlete, what do we need USA Judo for?  If they can't support the elite athletes, then what exactly are they doing?

    Stacey, my dear friend, the answer is the same as the punch line of a joke you tell about your dog ... because they can.

    It's not a religion, it's not a public agency. This is all private money, in service of a sports entertainment business. The people benefiting are paid professionals, not monks or public servants. Their job is to extract value from athletes at minimum cost while they try to maximize donations, grants and endorsement revenue ... all within the appropriate tax laws. None of those are evil things by the way. Seriously, you are a logical woman, what do you expect?


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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:10 am

    BillC wrote:

    Stacey, my dear friend, the answer is the same as the punch line of a joke you tell about your dog ... because they can.

    It's not a religion, it's not a public agency.  This is all private money, in service of a sports entertainment business.  The people benefiting are paid professionals, not monks or public servants.  Their job is to extract value from athletes at minimum cost while they try to maximize donations, grants and endorsement revenue ... all within the appropriate tax laws.  None of those are evil things by the way.  Seriously, you are a logical woman, what do you expect?

    What can I say? I'm delusional. I expect people to put the needs of others ahead of themselves, especially when they are marketing a sport. Could you imagine Major League Baseball if the umpires and commissioners made more than the players? (hm, maybe they do and I just chose the wrong career path and should have stuck with umpiring.... eeeek!)

    I also think that those who are trying to make the most off of it for themselves would at least put forth a thin layer of "support" for our athletes to justify their existence, and the number of cookies they are keeping for themselves.
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by BillC on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:53 am

    Stacey wrote:What can I say?  I'm delusional.  I expect people to put the needs of others ahead of themselves, especially when they are marketing a sport.  Could you imagine Major League Baseball if the umpires and commissioners made more than the players? (hm, maybe they do and I just chose the wrong career path and should have stuck with umpiring....  eeeek!)

    I also think that those who are trying to make the most off of it for themselves would at least put forth a thin layer of "support" for our athletes to justify their existence, and the number of cookies they are keeping for themselves.

    Again ... apply the same MLB analogy ... would a better umpire put butts on seats?  Would it inspire cable company bidding wars ... and media blackouts for home games?  No.  If the Padres sign A-Rod at a magical discount ... considering what they normally spend ... after he gets done cutting a deal to get out of his latest legal issues ... will I have difficulty getting good seats at Petco Park?  For a while probably, and either way the Padres will still have some of the best profit margins in baseball.

    I don't want to assume anything because of what I read on line ... pro or con ... on this subject.  But why should people work for less than what they are worth?  For what they can?

    Don't get me wrong ... US judoka often work incredibly hard to achieve what they do ... considering especially the poor level of funding and incomplete (at best) coaching competence in US Judo.  It's not about their sacrifice, not about their athletic excellence.  Their poverty is very much like the young guy channeling Adrian Belew in some kind of King Crimson timewarp flashback on the sidewalk in Santa Monica a few weeks back ... life's not about fair.

    Supply and demand ... crack that dusty old ECON 101 book again.  Scarcity versus abundance.  Demand for goods at various prices.  In the case of Olympic sports in the US for sure review the choice between guns and butter.


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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Sat Aug 03, 2013 9:59 am

    so if we demand better athlete funding, transparency with the books and the like, we might get better funding to our athletes?
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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by BillC on Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:06 am

    Stacey wrote:so if we demand better athlete funding, transparency with the books and the like, we might get better funding to our athletes?

    Maybe ... suggest maybe by pulling up their form 990 ... got a few minutes to do so?


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    Stacey

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    Re: USA Judo Stipend Support-Nick Delpopolo

    Post by Stacey on Sat Aug 03, 2013 10:07 am

    BillC wrote:

    Maybe ... suggest maybe by pulling up their form 990 ... got a few minutes to do so?

    That might could be done........

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