Wednesday, November 29, 2006

CRCA - I've Been Remiss!

Somehow I missed taking a look at the 8/28/06 CRCA Board of Directors conference call minutes. Now that I've read them, I found two things quite interesting. First is this report:

There was some discussion that non-NCAA Women’s Teams be allowed to join the CRCA (lightweights). This met with Board approval with the understanding that these coaches could not serve as Directors on the Board of the CRCA.
Huh? Lightweight teams aren't members of the organization whose stated mission is "to unify collegiate women’s rowing coaches, to act as a collective voice, and to inform collegiate women’s rowing coaches on issues related to rowing?" An organization that serves "as the primary adviser on collegiate women's rowing issues to the United States Rowing Association?" Oh, don't worry, as long as no lightweight coaches defile the board, they can join. Look, either the CRCA "exists to unify collegiate women’s rowing coaches" or it exists to unify heavyweight women's rowing coaches. This is why they lack credibility. If this is a heavyweight only organization, fine, say so. If not, why make lightweights second class citizens? Just be honest.

Second is the update on lightweight issues from the head of the lightweight committee, Cecile Tucker.
The major point of discussion was whether the CRCA would provide awards to Lightweight Athletes and Lightweight Coaches. She agreed to determine how many colleges sponsored 'varsity' lightweight programs and would provide that information back to the board.
Obviously I think this is an excellent step and one on which I've posted before. This idea of determining the number of "varsity" lightweight programs is particularly interesting. There are a couple of ways of looking at it. First, is undoubtedly the board's way - we need to know how many programs there are to determine if an award would be meaningful. OK, that seems reasonable. A cynic, however, might say that it's a question asked because given the fluid nature of women's lightweight rowing, there are several very different but still "correct," answers. A look back at my own attempt to answer this question will show you what I mean. There are all sorts of definitional problems here. Let's take Bucknell. Is Bucknell a varsity lightweight program? It's a varsity program all right, but it only races lightweights at IRAs (and perhaps one other race during the season). Is it a varsity lightweight program? I can answer that with a yes while the CRCA board can answer that with a no. Another point here is that we could accept that there are enough programs (there were 12 good boats entered at IRAs last year plus a few more at Dad Vails) and use the awards to promote lightweight rowing and help it to grow. Before reading anything more into this, let's just see where it goes.

One quick note on the lightweight committee. That group has a thankless task working within the structure of the CRCA for the betterment of lightweight rowing. It's easy to sit outside and take shots (as I do), but much more difficult to be inside trying to make it work. The CRCA is the group that lightweights have to work with and the committee does the best it can within the constraints it is given. I've never heard, directly or indirectly, any member criticize the CRCA.

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