Some Loose Ends

Richard Hunkler, PhD.
Water Polo Planet
05/15/10

Was the USAWP Hiding in the Wood Pile During UC Davis's First Cry for Help?

I didn't want to rain on the water polo community's parade so in my last article I swallowed my tongue and didn't mention something that really bothered me. Why was the USAWP so conspicuously absent in the first three weeks of the battle to save UC Davis water polo? Come on Doc remember the old hackneyed saying, "It is better to be late than never". Unfortunately that saying is not always true. Especially when you are facing a five week deadline and the first three weeks the USAWP, the only USA Water Polo NGB in town, is missing from the early roll call for heavy weight supporters.

Why was the USAWP late with its support to UC Davis? There are several reasons as to why this might be true which are floating around in the water polo community and they are as follows: 1) The USAWP CEO was indecisive in the matter; 2) The Board of Directors would not give the CEO permission to overtly support the UC Davis water polo program; 3) The CEO and the Board of Directors finally decided it would be in the best intrest of the USAWP to support UC Davis; and 4) Several NCAA Collegiate coaches badgered the USAWP and the CEO into supporting this crucial cause. If I were a betting person then I would be betting on either of the last two reasons.

This is so ironic since saving another NCAA Men’s Collegiate team probably helped the USAWP as much, if not more, than it helped UC Davis. At the present time the feeder system for the US National Team players is the NCAA Collegiate Team players and this is true whether you like it or not. Just think what might have happened if the UC Davis water polo program would not have been saved? This would have been the second California water polo program that was cut in the last two seasons, Santa Cruz being the first. 

Human nature tells us that a second collegiate water polo program in a conference is easier to cut than is the first, and a third will most likely be easier to cut than the first or second program. This could continue until there were no NCAA Collegiate teams playing water polo. Unless the ODP has a time machine that can port us into the future several decades from now there would be no pool from which to select the US Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Thus at this point in time no NCAA water polo teams will simply translate into no US National Teams.

And don’t tell me that the survival of the NCAA water polo teams has nothing to do with the survival of the USAWP because if you do then I will have to insist that you tell me how you got to smoke what the Cheshire cat was smoking in Jim Burton’s new movie of Alice and Wonder Land. One of the greatest disappointments in this whole UC Davis affair was the USAWP's refusal to take an early stand to try and help save the UC Davis water polo program. Shame on the CEO and double shame on the Board of Directors. I heard they have changed the saying “Silence of the Lambs” to the “Silence of the USAWP". In the early stages of the “Save the UC Davis Water Polo Program” when it was critical for noted people in the water polo community to support the cause where the devil were the USAWP? Thank goodness the support of the USAWP leaders was not needed to save the UC Davis water polo program.

Hey, what if the help of the USAWP leaders was needed to save the UC Davis water polo program? What if UC Davis didn’t get the help they needed this time or some other NCAA water polo programs don’t get the USAWP’s help could that mean the end of NCAA water pool? I hope not because that could also mean the end of the US National Teams. CAN YOU THINK OF ANY MORE DISAPPOINTING PHOTOS THAN THE FOLLOWING:

US Men's Team US Women's Team
Thanks to the USAWP? Thanks to the USAWP?

Another Chance for the USAWP to be Proactive rather than Reactive

The USAWP including the CEO and Board of Directors has a chance to help save future NCAA water programs in trouble by creating a position that will act as a liaison person between a school wanting to drop its water polo program and the USAWP and between the NCAA and the USAWP. This person wouldn't wait until another school announces they are going to drop water polo. As soon as this person is hired he or she would start writing plans for how the water polo community could rally together to help save water polo programs that are being dropped or those that are in danger of being dropped.

The USAWP hired a person to create plans for an ODP. You might think of this as a plan to grow our own players for the pool from which US National players are selected. Whereas the plan created by the liaison person could be thought of as the plan to maintain the existing pipeline of collegiate players in the pool for selecting US National players. In years past before the gluttony of staff positions Dan Sharadin was given that very important position and he did an excellent job of saving collegiate water polo programs.

Waiting for problems to happen is being reactive; however, anticipating problems that might happen is being proactive. Don't let the USAWP be a Johnny or Jainey come lately organization but rather let it be like the organization that sends astronauts and/or aquanauts out to the space and water polo frontiers. After the UC Davis victory Jim Hicks posted a lists of things we should have learned from this experience on the message board. Here is a link to that to that post: http://www.waterpoloplanet.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=6045 This explanation could easily be the stepping stones to the plan we want a USAWP liaison person to create.

With a staff of 28 certainly you can find someone to work as a liaison person between the NCAA and the USAWP. Doesn’t the USAWP know how to do anything other than to spend money and hire staff which resigns? Don't tell me we can't afford to hire such a person at the USAWP when the USAWP CEO receives a yearly salary of $290,000. This is the third highest salary of the NGB CEO's listed below. The Total Revenue raise by the USAWP is $5,000,000 which is eleventh out of eighteenth NGB's. For that much salary we should be getting more bangs for our bucks. Study the two tables below which display information that was found in the public domain and come to your own conclusions.

Sorted by CEO Salary
 
NGB Total Revenue CEO Salary
USA Soccer $48,484,983 $534,340
USA Gymnastics $20,425,491 $340,471
USA Water Polo $5,000,000 $290,000
USA Ice Hockey $26,858,159 $261,000
USA Boxing $3,478,210 $245,266
USA Basketball $8,467,739 $236,981
USA Cycling $9,290,370 $225,733
USA Volleyball $13,204,755 $206,163
USA Ski & Snowboard $34,099,745 $190,000
USA Field Hockey $6,698,041 $163,000
USA Baseball $3,347,832 $162,222
USA Diving $3,129,618 $157,000
USA Rowing $5,292,863 $145,015
USA Bobsled & Skeleten $2,097,034 $131,000
USA Synchro $1,614,000 $128,000
USA Track & Field $16,494,000 $122,000
USA Winter Biathalon $1,875,136 $100,000
USA Weightlifting $1,474,377 $87,610
Sorted by Total Revenue
 
NGB Total Revenue CEO Salary
USA Soccer $48,484,983 $534,340
USA Ski & Snowboard $34,099,745 $190,000
USA Ice Hockey $26,858,159 $261,000
USA Gymnastics $20,425,491 $340,471
USA Track & Field $16,494,000 $122,000
USA Volleyball $13,204,755 $206,163
USA Cycling $9,290,370 $225,733
USA Basketball $8,467,739 $236,981
USA Field Hockey $6,698,041 $163,000
USA Rowing $5,292,863 $145,015
USA Water Polo $5,000,000 $290,000
USA Boxing $3,478,210 $245,266
USA Baseball $3,347,832 $162,222
USA Diving $3,129,618 $157,000
USA Bobsled & Skeleten $2,097,034 $131,000
USA Winter Biathalon $1,875,136 $100,000
USA Synchro $1,614,000 $128,000
USA Weightlifting $1,474,377 $87,610

Don't get me wrong because I don't begrudge the CEO for asking for that much money, but I do begrudge the Board of Directors for giving him that much money. In my opinion for that much money you could have gotten a CEO who is more proactive and a true leader and two excellent liaison people to boot. Do you really think the Board of Directors can read the above figures and look the members of the USAWP in the eye and tell them they can't afford to hire a person to do what I have outlined is the article. With men's collegiate water polo on the razors edge of exsitence how can the USAWP not hire some one.

While talking about money and before leaving with a plea to the Board of Directors let me ask you a question, "Since The USAWP, the USA's Water Polo NGB, outsourced all of its printing to Vistaprint, a company from the Netherlands, do you think the Netherlands' Water Polo NGB is going to hire a USA company to do all its printing?" In my opinion money raised in the USA for USA water polo should stay in the USA!

Board of Directors the USAWP and its members deserve a CEO who is a leader not a manager and the difference in the two positions is explained in Fortune Magazine quite well: