By Denny Geiler, Governor at Large
This is a report regarding the committee and Board of Governor meetings I attended.
Russel Sheldon Award: A perpetual award was created to be given annually to the individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the USPA arena program. Peter Rizzo, the retiring executive director and guiding force of the Air Force Arena Polo team, was given that honor for 2015.
International Committee: Liz Wilborn presented a video of a women’s team visit to Manchuria and its polo club. Steve Armour is organizing a trip to India for a women’s team.
Women’s Committee: Erica Grandomar has been selected as the chairman of the committee as Sunny Hale has resigned so that she can concentrate on the WCT.
Discipline: The four members that were alleged to be the publishers of the illegal texts, emails and robo-phone calls in the 2013 and 2015 GAL elections were advised that their applications to renew their memberships in 2016 would be denied. They could be allowed to rejoin the association in subsequent years provided a majority of the Board of Governors agree.
Arena Committee: There are three rules changes starting in 2016:
Misexecution: In the event that the team fouled makes a misexecution while executing the foul shot (like crossing the line before the ball is hit), on a penalty 2, 3 and 4 the fouling team will get a hit from the spot. In the event it is a penalty 5a or 5b it will be a throw in.
Penalty 5a and 5b Execution: The opposing team may not position a player across the line within 16 yards of the hitter.
Delay of Game: If the player with the ball fails to advance the ball at a pace faster than a walk while being guarded the umpire shall blow a foul and there will be a throw in. The exception to the rule is if the player with the ball has to stop or slow down because an opposing player is blocking the way. A general rule of thumb but subject to the discretion of the umpire is that a player may not hold the ball for longer than 5 seconds without advancing. In a faster game the amount of time would be less.
Television: There was discussion about televising the US Arena Open or Townsend Cup. It was suggested that South Point in Las Vegas would be a good venue.
Marketing LLC: Scott Walker of the Pacific Circuit is the chairman of the Marketing LLC. The LLC will create marketing policy and strategy. The execution of those plans has been transferred to Properties, LLC, so that the marketing function and the licensing of the product line can work closer together. Polo on television has been successful and NBC wants to do more polo programing. Properties will be changing their name to Licensing to better represent their function. The other world economies are not enjoying as much success as the US economy so licensing income has been flat. Properties is working with the US licensee to encourage them to improve on the brand and create more free-standing stores in the US.
Board and Staff: Each year when a member renews their membership they execute an agreement to abide by the Rules of Conduct. Previously the rules were more directed toward conduct on the field. The Rules has been expanded to include conduct as a member with regard to the USPA, their club and fellow members both on and off the field. It is not designed to prohibit good faith comment and opinion. It is designed to discourage fallacious and mean-spirited statements we endured during the 2015 GAL election. The language was designed by the USPA attorney and modified by comments from the committees, governors and administration. A copy of the Rules that will take effect in January are attached.
Finance: The total assets of the association are now in excess of $100 million. The goal is to reach $200 million by 2021 at which point the income generated by the assets would cover all of the USPA operating and program costs presuming a 5% return. Sam Barnes, an investment banker from NYC, will be taking over as chairman of the committee. Meketa will be taking the place of Morgan, Stanley as the account manager. Meketa is more of an institutional adviser and as the asset size of the association has grown it now qualifies for the higher quality adviser. In addition, it will save about $400,000/year in fees.
Polo Skilz 2.0: The informational website Polo Skilz has been purchased by the USPA and is being revamped to include material developed from Team USPA, Certified Polo Instructors program and other materials. It has over 200 different instructional videos.
Certified Polo Instructor: The program is ready to be launched. Corky Linfoot, Megan Judge, Tom Goodspeed and Eric Wright form the Pacific Circuit have been contributors to the program. A 100 page booklet has been developed along with video material. It will be available for viewing on Polo Skilz 2.0.
Interscholastic/Intercollegiate: David Wenning is the new chairman of the I/I committee. He has been active in the I/I activities for the last 15 years with his kids who have now graduated. I spend some time with him as we both are directors of the Polo Development, LLC. He is a hard worker with a good sense of humor. The previous chairman, Duncan Huyler was hired as the executive director of the USPA taking Peter Rizzo’s place.
Officer Election: Joe Meyer was elected chairman. Joe is from Georgia and plays medium to high goal polo in Florida and the surrounding region.
Chip Campbell was elected president (usually next in line to be chairman). Chip is from Alabama and plays medium goal polo there and in Florida.
Sam Barnes was elected treasurer. He plays low and medium goal in the New York City area.
Tom Gose was elected secretary. Tom is a high goal player from Texas.
Steve Orthwein was appointed national handicap chairman. His family has a long history in polo. Steve plays medium and high goal in Florida, Alabama and other clubs.
Executive Committee: Besides the new officers, Tom Gose, Bob Jornayvaz, Melissa Ganzi, Mark Sedacca and yours truly were appointed to the Executive Committee.
We should all thank Dan Walker for the seven years of service to the USPA as Secretary and National Handicap Chairman. He did a great job during some very difficult times. I hope he stays involved in the USPA in some capacity.
- The Association has established the following Code of Conduct for all Member Clubs,
Individual Members and Lifetime Members:
1) Always respect the Association and the sport of polo.
2) Always respect your teammates, opponents, officials and fellow Members.
3) Always demonstrate good sportsmanship.
4) Always consider the welfare of the horses.
5) Always respect the Member Clubs and Club facilities.
6) Always compete without the use of drugs or alcohol.
7) Always compete to win.
8) Always adhere to and comport yourself in accordance with all USPA Rules, Bylaws,
Terms and Conditions of the Membership Application, Code of Conduct and
9) Always act in a manner that is in the best interest of the Association and the sport.
An Individual Member shall be deemed to have not acted in the best interest of the
Association and the sport where an Individual Member:
- Acts, or incites or permits any other to act, in a manner contrary to the
Association’s Rules, By-laws, Terms and Conditions of the Membership
Application, or Code of Conduct set forth in By-Law 4(b);
- Acts, or incites or permits any other to act, in a manner deemed to be
improper, unethical, dishonest, unsportsmanlike or intemperate, or
prejudicial to the best interests of the sport and/or the Association;
- Publishes, or incites or permits any other to publish, in social media or
elsewhere, statements, comments or remarks considered to be offensive
and/or made with the intent to defame or cast aspersions on the character
or integrity of the Association, an Individual Member, a Member Club or
an official of the sport;
- Discloses, or incites or permits any other to disclose, confidential internal
Association business or information to a third party not otherwise privy to
the business or information.
As a Member of the Association, and as a condition of your continued membership in the Association, you have a duty to behave appropriately. Be mindful that how you act in public reflects on the Association and the sport. This Code of Conduct shall apply to all Member Clubs,
Individual Members and Lifetime Members, at all times, both on and off the playing field.