Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Leadership Crisis- The UPA College Debacle


I think we might be the only sport that still lists executives/task forces and lists their years of playing experience. To roughly quote Mike Downey, CEO of Tennis Canada:

"When I bring in a candidate for an interview, and they tell me the reason they want to work for Tennis Canada is because they love playing tennis, I show them the door."

Now, Mr. Downey comes off sounding a little harsh. He's actually extremely jocular and very candid. However, he's been in sports long enough to know loving your sport doesn't make your leadership material in the sport. It doesn't prevent you, you just need something more.

There are many people more informed and more outspoken about the current crisis regarding the future of College Ultimate in the USA. To my knowledge, it seems like their was a power struggle between the UPA (which was the incumbent of providing college series service) and the UPA at one point felt the need to educate and discourage its membership to participate in the NCUA. It seems as thought the upstarts have relented and will be taking a backseat to the UPA in running college tourneys.

Scared $hitless, the UPA is now bringing forward a task force to make the championship series better for all involved. It's reactive management, but it might lead to a better product. Thank you cultimate.

I am sure there are many good people within the UPA brass. I hope they learn from this experience and try to make their relationship with colleges and other ultimate groups much tighter and resistant to competition. Much like the IOC lucked out when the owner of Helms Bread generously agreed to drop its rights to use the Olympic and USOC logos on its "Olympic Bread", The UPA has dodged a bullet. For more information on the bread incident, pick up a copy of Selling The Five Rings: The IOC and the Rise of Olympic Commercialism.

The fact that the college series incident got to the point that it did is a sign of poor organization and poor leadership. As the sport continues to become more exposed and more valuable, the UPA and other groups (including CUPA) will have to step up and clearly be the leaders of the sport.

How do you view the developments? Do you think groups like Cultimate should be able to easily come into the market and provide an alternative?


T1000 said...

On a related note, I was a little surprised that the application for CUPA's competition committee was dominated by lists of one's CEUUC, CUUC, CUC, and national team experience. Certainly, familiarity with the system is important in a candidate, but should it really be the sole criterion for comparison? As you insinuate, a great athlete shouldn't be expected to make a great administrator.

Sport Management Steven said...

I agree..

I wasn't part of the form making process. Hopefully CUPA can follow up with some different questions to final candidates, and the next form will be better.