The USATT Motion and Grievance
NGB - National Governing Body
NCTTA - National Collegiate Table Tennis Association
USATT - USA Table Tennis
USOPC - United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
USOC - United States Olympic Committee
USATT's Motion - Among other changes, removes the National Org Director (until now, was seated by NCTTA). This proposal will close on Feb 17th.
The USATT/NCTTA Relationship History
The National Collegiate Table Tennis Association (NCTTA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of College Table Tennis. NCTTA's core belief is to support and promote table tennis through service and volunteerism.
NCTTA has always believed that a good relationship with USATT, our sport’s National Governing Body (NGB), is paramount. In 2008 NCTTA got a chance to strengthen the relationship with USATT by being placed on a new board. New bylaws allowed for NCTTA to apply formally to be a National Organization Representative. Our request was granted by USOPC’s Chris Vadala (known as 'USOC' at that time) and approved by the USATT Nominating and Governance committee.
This relationship didn’t happen overnight. There have been thousands of people involved since the 1990’s in nurturing and growing this relationship with USA Table Tennis.
In 2020, the relationship between NCTTA and USATT hit some bumps. Communication was strained. At first, we thought that there were no targeted efforts against us. Problem was, certain things started to happen.
First, NCTTA was removed from the USATT website as a "partner" (click here to see the website as it was in early 2020, and now click here to see the website in its current form). Why? We actively promoted our USATT club membership to our college table tennis clubs via a USATT website that is now erased (click here for how it was and click here to see that the link does not exist anymore. We received no explanation other than there was a website update. We interpret NCTTA’s erasure from USATT’s website to be the start of the end of what was once a productive and mutually beneficial relationship.
Second, there was a USOPC media intern at the same time who was also an NCTTA media person. They were let go (terminated) in May because of their affiliation with NCTTA. This was verified by former USATT staff. This intern was an unnecessary victim caught in USATT’s hostility toward NCTTA that is now becoming increasingly apparent.
Moreover, an interview from USATT’s Mark Thompson with NCTTA President Willy Leparulo, was recorded for their video segment known as “Pong Positive”. USATT CEO, Virginia Sung contacted Leparulo and said, “Willy, We would like to do an interview with you, and to share your experience during this uncertain time and how that has impacted NCTTA’s events, and what kind of suggestions you have for us to build strength within our table tennis community collectively.” Though recorded and presumably ready-to-go, it was cut from publication at the last minute for unremarked reasons.
As the summer continued, NCTTA was stonewalled by USATT’s legal counsel (forbidden to speak to anyone in USATT directly), and consistently ignored by five new board members. Somehow, despite the lack of communication (or any effort at communication), there was a “determination” made by the USATT (in a meeting no one knew about) to strip NCTTA of its National Organization Director, which, as noted previously, was awarded legitimately in 2007/2008. In addition, there were no official meeting minutes documenting any discussion about the “determination”, nor any notice of the meeting as required by USATT bylaws.
USATT therefore removed NCTTA from its board in violation of its own rules, which one might say was an innocent mistake made by new members - however, given the escalating maliciousness USATT displayed as 2020 unfolded, any reasonable person would find this difficult to believe.
Now, there is a motion on the floor made by the USA Table Tennis Board of Directors that removes the chance of the National Organization member position from being filled without it being a bylaw controversy while the remainder of our relationship lies in broken pieces.
After 8 months of attempts at mediation from our end, we decided to stand up for ourselves. Yes, NCTTA put in a grievance against the USA Table Tennis last September (2020), hoping that they would stop bullying our organization and to ultimately salvage the relationship between USATT and NCTTA. Rather than responding to the grievance for what it was, this motion appears to be their response.
Currently proposed motion:
This bylaw proposed by the USA Table Tennis Board of Directors removes NCTTA from a position that was awarded legitimately - this time by eliminating the position. NCTTA has been silent about this for almost a year out of respect for what we thought was a relationship that could be saved. Perhaps we were too naive.
USATT’s Current bylaws state that there can only be 9 board members, USOPC, however, is requiring ⅓ to be athlete reps (i.e. 3 athlete reps). This motion says 10 board members are allowed but in the same breath also says that only 3 athlete reps are allowed. Adding this 10th board member is both legal and illegal per the bylaws: 'If you add a 10th board member, then you MUST add a 4th athlete rep in order to be compliant with [Section 7.5] but this is also not possible, as the bylaws only permit 3 athlete reps. '
The strategy by USATT here is nakedly obvious:
- hope no one reads the proposed changes closely enough,
- then “discover” the inconsistency in the rules,
- and decide not to add NCTTA to the board because it wouldn’t be explicitly against the rules to deny them the seat.
This motion says ultimately that we, passionate volunteers, “don’t matter”.
To everyone reading this including the board of directors at USA Table Tennis, ask why they are investing all of this effort to remove a small organization filled with USATT members - members who volunteer their time for the benefit of college table tennis and the general table tennis community! Ask why it is in USATT’s best interest to divide the sport and create a problem where none previously existed.
We have forged connections and relationships with the community at large in USA Table Tennis and it isn't to make a political statement to you here, it is because this is what we do. Look at the USA Table Tennis board for example where we have relationships with 4 out of the 8 board members:
- Yijun "Tom" Feng was the NCTTA Athlete of the year and wrote a riveting testimonial supporting NCTTA.
- Dan Reynolds served as the NCTTA South Region Director and South Texas Division Director and umpired many of our tournaments including the USATT 5 star sanctioned National Championships
- Thomas Hu co-founded what later became NCTTA in the early 1990’s.
- Will Shortz has been an avid and passionate supporter of table tennis and has been a supporter of NCTTA for many years.
We have, in NCTTA, a tradition of service and volunteerism to our sport: NCTTA is an integral and passionate part of the USATT landscape and pipeline.
USA Table Tennis Pipeline:
Junior→College→Lifetime sport participant, elite athlete, or both!
To push us out destroys and divides the community, and creates ill will where it is completely unnecessary and distracting from our broader shared mission of promoting our sport.
We want to continue to grow the sport, not just collegiately, but to the broader public - as we have been for the past 13 years in true partnership with USATT.
In their words: "The USATT Board of Directors seeks member comment on proposed amendments to the Bylaws" - and is due Feb 17th.
We hope you will lend us your support.
NCTTA Board of Directors