They are not human beings, but they are persons (individuals) under the law. They have rights and responsibilities just like other persons. Have I just made it more confusing?
The pay for officiating at the U.S. Open is $115 to $250 per day. The umpires are suing the United States Tennis Federation, charging unfair labor practices for not paying overtime for officiating at delayed matches. The USTF's position is that these umpires and judges are not "employees" but rather "independent contractors," so they are not protected under federal labor laws.
I think it it next to impossible to overcome more than a century of tradition that figure skating is at heart an amateur enterprise run largely by unpaid volunteers.Originally Posted by gkelly
Is one tradition sacred and the other meaningless? What in the world do you really mean here
Tennis has changed with the times and adopted state of the art technology. The umpires are close to being ceremonial now and don't decide the close calls anymore.
The players are making so much money there are few arguments. Everybody is happy because the sport is booming.
ETA: Your use of the term "amateur" got me thinking.
Tennis used to be an amateur sport - and the Opens were closed to professionals who had there own circuit.
When the TV money came in Tennis - like Skating - and most other sports changed and experienced real growth.
Why have so many sports been able to adapt with the times and sustain their growth and success?
What happened to skating?
It's seems hard to deny the management of skating - ISU - has failed not just the fans but the skaters too.
When a sport or team has a failure like the SLC scandal, a terrible losing season, or loss of major TV revenues what happens?
Does a team fire all the players or is it typically managment that pays the price by being changed?
Last edited by janetfan; 10-12-2012 at 12:11 PM.
Last edited by Bluebonnet; 10-12-2012 at 02:07 PM.
I think to some extent this happens even with people who are within the system themselves to some extent. Members of skating clubs might look at club policies as coming from club leaders imposing rules on the rank-and-file members, rather than getting involved in club decision making themselves.
Even club presidents might resent policies coming down from federation headquarters. And federation officials might feel the same way about ISU decisions.
But for those who see only the elite skating on TV and read about the top-down decisions in print/internet coverage of the sport, the whole volunteer structure is invisible.
I am soooooooooo glad I don't have to get all dressed up to run in and get a couple of things at the store... jeans and a tshirt work just fine for me.
How much do you know about other sports?
Just about everyone knows the term "soccer mom." For every skater and skating club with it volunteers there are hundreds of thousands more who particpate in other sports.
Community organizations and clubs for sports played by kids like soccer, little league baseball and football depend on volunteers for everything from the coaching to the refs. They organize fundraisers and depend on sponsors to help pay for uniforms and equipment.
To think you have some special and unique knowledge of the volunteering spirit in American sports culture or that it only exists in skating is mind-boggling.
You mention TV fans of elite skating frequently and with a dismissive tone at times.
How much interest do members here have about the latest news from your local skating club compared with elite events?
If you see that as a problem care to tell us why?
And why do you suppose US Skating tries to make sure Natls is televised? Why is it they show the elite skaters rather than covering novice, juniors or adult skating?
Should that be changed? If so, how would it help?
Last edited by janetfan; 10-12-2012 at 09:06 AM.
But...United States culture hss a strong current of egalitarianism. For better or for worse, we tend to celebrate what is most common in the common man.
Figure skating runs the risk of being regarded as a hoity-toity sport for rich kids. Our big heros in the sport are people like Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill. They were not born princesses, but rather girls-next-door who won their tiaras by old-fashioned values like hard work, dedication, talent, etc., etc., while never losing their down-to-earth charm.
I never said anything about volunteering spirit in American sports culture.
My point is that elite-level skating events such as senior nationals and international competitions are run primarily by volunteers and are part of the same structures that sustain purely amateur participation, even at the highest levels. Any changes proposed need to take that into account and not assume that skating could easily model itself on the way professional for-profit sports are run. There's a much bigger disconnect between professional football leagues (in either the American or worldwide meaning of "football") and amateur teams than there is between elite skating and amateur skating.
A handful of the very elite earn more money from skating than they spend on training some years, but those skaters are competing in the very same competitions (e.g., national championships, ISU championships, senior Bs) against skaters who will never earn a dime from competition, or from skating at all unless they coach or join an ice show.
Since skating championships are large amateur events relying on expert volunteer labor, professionalizing those experts would add to the costs long before it would add to the income stream.
Amateur sports can sell broadcast rights and bring in money to offset the costs of running events. For skating events, the largest costs are ice time and travel/accommodations for the officials (and the competitors and coaches for some international events). Paying salaries would require a whole other level of income.
If you want to propose an actual change to how skating is run, try giving some specifics of what you propose based on how things actually work now. If you want to separate off an elite level that's entirely professional, explain where and how you would make the cutoff point.
There are a few members of my local skating club who are international judges. We feel honored when they find time in their schedules to judge at local competitions and test sessions. If they were "professional" judges, would they still be able to volunteer that time?
Who wrote this:
"the whole volunteer structure is invisible". (gkelly - post #52)
Again the use of the term "amateur" which mathman also used is disturbing.
It is hard to discuss something when the premise is based on a falsehood.
Some think skaters like Alissa and even Plushenko are "amateurs."
I can't buy that. They are receiving money from their federations, they skate in professional shows and also can earn money from appearing in commercials.
I mentioned that Tennis before the TV era was primarily an amateur sport. Through very good management Tennis changed and adapted with the times.
Serena made 2 million dollars for winning the US Open.
What did Ashley make winning the US Figure skating championship? Or what will she make if she wins Skate America this season?
By simply asking the last two questions basically proves skaters at the elite level are not amateurs
To deny - or worse ignore - the difference in the quality of the management between Tennis and skating is simply incredible.
Last edited by janetfan; 10-12-2012 at 10:13 AM.
I said nothing about the volunteer spirit in skating or any other sport. You're reading things into my posts that aren't there.
Maybe I'm doing the same to you and we're talking at cross-purposes.
As I said, the top skaters at US Nationals get enough funding from the federation, and in some cases prize money at international competitions, to make a profit over the cost of their training expenses.
But they have to compete at Nationals to earn the right to receive that money and get those international assignments.
MOST of the senior ladies at Nationals earn no prize money, will be lucky if they get any senior B or JGP assignment the next year, and will receive only token amounts of funding, if any. They are amateurs.
And sometimes some of them can beat Alissa Czisny. Look at 2010.
To put it another way, since you're a janetfan, Janet Lynn was a strict amateur during the time she was competing, according to the rules of the time.
USFSA sold broadcast rights to show Nationals on TV even then.
Last edited by gkelly; 10-12-2012 at 10:25 AM.
You seem to defend ISU like your life depends on it - and I see a series of major blunders made by this organization that has truly hurt skating in USA.
It doesn't take a genius to interpret the key demographic that 70% of skating fans in USA are women.
The destruction of Pro skating in USA was not accidental. It was a choice and engineered by ISU.
Isn't it nice to hear how many fans like the Japan Open? As if a Pro Am event it was actually a Japanese idea.
Are you aware of the fact that the most successful sports can't make major changes without the approval of the participating athletes?
Tennis players are the most powerful group when it comes to determining the future of Tennis. It's similar in baseball, football and basketball.
In skating it is a bunch of old men with outdated ideas and no real vison for the future of the sport who are calling the shots.
Recently they changed the established governing rules of the sport to REMAIN IN POWER.
Why do you suppose they did that? For the love of volunteering their time?
Last edited by janetfan; 10-12-2012 at 10:42 AM.