The following is an excerpt from USA Volleyball’s, State of the Game Report. I believe USA Volleyball too often gets vilified for roles others believe USA Volleyball plays or doesn’t play, money directed to certain areas within USA Volleyball, and the delicate balancing act USA Volleyball has to play. I think this excerpt provides some insight into how well USA Volleyball performs it’s roles.
What is USA Volleyball? What exactly are the priorities, and what is our role? The answers to these questions can vary greatly depending on your role and function, both from within or from outside the sport.
USA Volleyball constantly needs to remember and evaluate who we are, what we do, who we represent and how we are evaluated by various entities and constituent populations. In reality, USA Volleyball may actually be considered three distinct and somewhat separate organizations. Those identifications are 1) a National Governing Body (NGB); 2) a National Federation (NF); and 3) a National Sport Association.
As a NGB, USA Volleyball is responsible to the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and the Ted Stevens Amateur Sport Act bylaws. In this role, our priorities center on Elite Athletes in all disciplines and assisting them in performing at the highest level of international competitions as successfully as possible. Simply put, we are focused on winning medals at the Olympic Games and other top international competitions to meet the “High Performance Plan” markers established in cooperation with the USOC.
As a National Federation, USA Volleyball is a member of the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) as part of that organization’s structure as an International Sport Federation sanctioned and recognized by the IOC. In turn, USA Volleyball is also a member of and responsible to the North, Central America and Caribbean Volleyball Confederation (NORCECA), which is one of five international confederations under the structure established by the FIVB. We must remain in good standing with our International Federation (IF) and follow the constitutions of the FIVB and NORCECA to maintain our status as the NF for volleyball in the United States.
Our priorities as a National Federation start with full participation in the range of international and regional events in all the volleyball disciplines. USA Volleyball is also counted on to host our share of international competitions at the world and regional levels, as well as providing leadership to the governance at both the FIVB and NORCECA levels. As part of our National Federation status, we are committed to contributing to the growth of the sport on a global basis, not just in the United States.
As a National Sport Association, USA Volleyball is accountable to our membership (approaching 300,000), our 40 Regional Volleyball Associations (RVAs) and more than 35 national affiliate organizations. In this role, USA Volleyball’s priorities revolve around opportunities to participate at all levels from youth to adult in all disciplines, seasons and genders. We are judged as a National Sport Association by our customer service skills, quality and quantity of programs we produce, competence we exhibit and demonstrate across a broad range of sport specific technical areas and the demonstrative value gained by collating the entire country under a single organization’s banner.
The overriding issue for USA Volleyball is how these three, sometimes conflicting, roles and responsibilities can be effectively blended and balanced. As I see it, the heart of the USA Volleyball Board of Director’s role in our new governance model is to partner with staff to find a balance where all three can co-exist in harmony. We could easily devote 100 percent of our resources to any one area and be very effective at it, if we elected to do so. However, this scenario is not possible under the organizational circumstances outlined above.
Our self-evident and overriding goal is to “Grow the Game” through all three major responsibilities of our organization. The balancing act to meet our duties, mission and obligations under three separate governing entities is the on-going challenge.
Further, USA Volleyball is certainly in a highly competitive and increasingly crowded sports/business world. We are competing with other NGBs, sports associations, professional leagues and even the USOC on occasion for the discretionary dollars, sponsors and broadcast opportunities we need and want to help us grow as an organization and to “grow the game.” We are also competing in an ever expanding and increasingly saturated sport and entertainment marketplace, one that is morphing ever faster with new media, social media and ever-changing communication methods and technology.
USAV has proven to be very competent at event creation, production and management (particularly with respect to our large national championships); producing successful elite teams both indoor and beach, at the youth through senior levels; at operating in a fiscally responsible manner; and at dramatically expanding program offerings across the nation – from grassroots to elite levels across all of our disciplines.
USAV has been more challenged in achieving a position of prominence for our sport in the mainstream media (both print and broadcast); connecting to a wide range of national retail brands for sponsor partnerships; establishing viable professional leagues; and helping make volleyball an attractive and widespread spectator sport, or commercially successful enterprise. Taking into account all of our considerable strengths and acknowledged areas where improvement needs to occur, the following Strategic Plan represents the operational framework as well as the
staff vision of where we should direct our energies as we enter into the 2013-2016 quadrennial and beyond.