Update on USA Cycling Partnership with Local Associations
In September 2019, the Local Associations (LA) held a Summit at USA Cycling headquarters, where CEO Rob DeMartini announced planned changes to the relationships between LAs and USA Cycling to better serve our member community. These changes are part of an overall shift within USA Cycling to create a better experience for all members and more effectively serve the American cycling community.
The existing relationship between USA Cycling and the 34 LAs was established in 2003 and has remained nearly unchanged. The program was created to encourage each LA to work closely with riders and organizers in each region to develop grassroots participation. Our existing agreements with the LAs focus on outsourcing and funding three main tasks primarily focused on road, track, and cyclocross racing: approving event permits in LA regions, processing racer upgrades for lower categories, and assigning officials.
As part of a total organizational shift to improve member experience and implement better technology, we are going to simplify and streamline these tasks. For example, there is consensus that USA Cycling’s upgrade policy is overly complicated and difficult to understand. This has resulted in rider complaints to both USA Cycling and the LAs. Likewise, the aging event permit system is difficult to use and does not gather necessary information. We recognized a need to improve these areas and are taking action now.
At the September 2019 Summit, we led an open, extensive dialogue with the LAs on how to make these changes, decrease administrative workload on the LAs, and increase participation across all levels of the sport while supporting grassroots events. Dialogue continued following the Summit with individual LAs to adapt and improve the new plans for 2020. While funding, specific initiatives, staffing, and needs vary significantly by LA, the goal has been to develop a new agreement to best meet the needs of all LAs and American cyclists without impacting beneficial programs.
Under the new plan, USA Cycling will process all racer upgrades through HQ, manage much of the event permitting with the involvement of LAs, and leave assignment of officials with LAs for the near-term. Based on these changes, there will be an average of 25-30% decrease in funding to LAs, determined on a case-by-case basis, with the opportunity to increase funding based on demonstrated growth of the sport in their regions, such as increased racer days. The funding we retain will be put into supporting these tasks in-house while funding more event programming and marketing. We will continue to provide LAs with grants to subsidize grassroots and development programs.
The planned relationship between USA Cycling and LAs aims to decrease the time LAs spend on administrative tasks while enabling them to focus on the critical work of developing, supporting, and retaining racers and events across America. These relationships will also continue to evolve as needed to best meet the needs of our customers – the American cycling community. We are making these changes to better serve you and address the concerns we’ve heard from our community.