Dear UMCA Government and others,
The way I see the current UMCA-RAAM partnership, it is similar to conflicts of
interest practiced by other organizations in the recent past which resulted in
disaster or near disaster. As an observer from outside the UMCA leadership,
it’s clear to some UMCA members that UMCA-RAAM is traveling down a similarly risky path.
Here are lessons from other organizations that I put together based on my interviews with fellow UMCA members discussing the stability of UMCA’s long term future:
1) In the early 1980s, the American Motorcyclist Association split with several
Supercross event promoters over how the sport would be sanctioned and officiated as well as who would profit (AMA or promoters). The result was loss of major sponsorships which almost killed the sport. Today, Clear Channel is basically the sole producer of Supercross in the country, with AMA sanctioning and officiating.
2) In the middle 1970s, the American Bicycle Association was created shortly after the founding of the National Bicycle League to sanction and officiate BMX racing in the US. Despite at least one attempt by the NBL (which is part of USA Cycling) to buy out the ABA, the divisions between both bodies have kept many major sponsors out of this sport, which, despite its introduction into this year’s Olympic Summer Games in Beijing, continues at about the same level of participation it reached in the 1980s.
3) Open-wheel auto racing fractured in the 1990s after CART split from USAC (US Auto Club), followed by the further splitting and founding of the Indy Racing League in the mid-1990s. It is interesting to note that one of the reasons for CART's creation were complaints by drivers and teams about USAC's poor event management and media coverage. The IRL and Champ Cars (and CART) recently merged after years of mutual suffering and losses of sponsorships and race-car fans. Though IRL is a sanctioning and officiating body that also owns its own racing series and premier event (the Indianapolis 500), it is regulated by checks and balances between the IRL, rules, venues, drivers and team owners which have their own respective groups or committees.
Of course, there are other sports where small groups of people control almost
everything (such as Formula One) with an iron grip, but at least there's progress and everybody benefits. And there are other sports that have suffered as a result
of inbreeding and shortsightedness.
Which is UMCA? Since 99% of the e-mails I have received from the other side of the canyon in the past eight months were personal attacking, personal questioning, and lawsuit threatening, I am convinced that UMCA is suffering from inbreeding and shortsightedness. The other 1% were created by only one person talking about trying to move forward with new things. But I know (not think) this won’t work with the serious federal law violation problems remaining unsolved.
We could start up a new organization, but isn’t that similar to what happened to other organizations in the examples above? We know that if we split, it’s not the greatest thing. We are humbled by the arrogance of the UMCA management ignoring its members’ private suggestions for four years. Only when UMCA members such as myself start publicizing our complaints does the UMCA finally begin doing a couple of things about the election -- which UMCA members were regularly suggesting since 2003! These few things were, however, not solving the federal law violations yet.
Apparently, only when UMCA listens and acts on these serious things, will we then be a healthier organization again.Because UMCA and RAAM’s unhealthy partnership -- as it is known to the public -- is so identifiable in the examples I have presented, something needs to be done quickly. Or ultracycling as we know it will devolve into a swamp of confusion, and the sport we all love (or think we love) will limp along and eventually die.
Somewhere along the line, a lot of money is going to be spent. It could go to lawsuits, lawyers and court costs, or it could go to negotiating a positive result. Negotiating a positive result couldn’t be done perfectly, but it's better than the alternative.
Happy never-ending cycling,
Just wanted to acknowledge receipt. The board is aware of your concerns.
Thanks, Rick. I however hope the Board realizes it's not me alone. Don't forgot about 1/2 of the members from last year, who already left. I will appreicate it if the Board remembers this.