USA Cricket’s eligible voting members have approved a proposed resolution put forward by the USA Cricket Board that temporarily waives certain eligibility provisions within its constitution. This was to address technical challenges that have arisen as a result of the impact of COVID-19 on already low levels of current membership in 2020.
At its meeting yesterday, the Board noted the results of the vote alongside independent legal advice that had been obtained from its expert legal counsel. Based on that advice, the Board agreed that the membership resolution had been approved in accordance with the applicable constitutional requirements.
However, the Board acknowledged that various concerns had been raised over the past few weeks about the process for becoming a member of USA Cricket and the upcoming Board elections.
USA Cricket Chief Executive, Iain Higgins, addressed these concerns, “In hindsight, we regret the timing of this resolution, as it appears to have led to some unfortunate speculation that its primary objective was to somehow influence the upcoming Board elections. This is simply not the case – the intent has always been to build USA Cricket in as inclusive a way as possible, especially in what has been an extremely challenging period for domestic cricket in this country.”
“We began 2020 working constructively with Leagues and Academies representing more than 15,000 individual players all over the country, and all of whom had formally committed earlier in the year to becoming members of USA Cricket. Unfortunately, the onset of COVID has destroyed the domestic season and interrupted that progress, and, for various unforeseen reasons, we have not yet been able to formally launch our new membership platform as we had planned. This has impacted our ability to finalize and publish the membership proposition itself, and provide clarity on the commencement and timeline around the upcoming elections. This is disappointing, but we ask the cricket community for their patience and support while the final parts of this important piece of work are put into place.”
In accordance with an earlier Board resolution, the already extended membership of all existing members will now expire on the date that the new membership portal is launched. All membership will need to be renewed thereafter.
Higgins added, “USA Cricket commits that, when launched, the membership program, the underlying membership portal and the elections that will take place thereafter will be guided by the following principles:
- to create as wide and inclusive a membership base as possible that does not improperly provide advantage or favor to any one or more organization or individual;
- to provide a fair and equal opportunity for, and support to, all those who are interested in joining and shaping the direction of USA Cricket;
- to provide a sufficient window for all interested parties to join USA Cricket, and clear and timely instructions and information about how to do so;
- to create a long-term sustainable membership platform that adds value to the entire cricket community.”
USA Cricket acknowledges the importance of getting this piece of work right in its efforts to support its strategic objective of building trust in the community. For that reason, it will take a short period of time to further reflect on the concerns of its stakeholders, fine-tune the technology that underpins the membership portal, reassess the proposed membership costs and benefits packages, and launch the membership program across three different phases.
Higgins further explained, “We currently have over 50 Leagues and Academies who, over the last four months, have committed to membership and provided between them thousands of player records. We are disappointed that the rollout of this project has been delayed, but we are nearly there now, and we fully expect the membership launch to commence in the first week of January:
- Phase One of our membership launch will therefore involve the verification and registration of the currently-held records as valid individual members.
- In Phase Two, we will create a window for all other leagues and clubs that have not yet fully committed to USAC membership and provided player records, and support the onboarding of those leagues and clubs
- And, finally, Phase Three will see the creation of a further window for all other interested individuals, including non-playing members, to become members directly.”
Only once the membership portal has been launched, will the recently appointed independent Nominating & Governance Committee (NGC) be in a position to fulfil its obligations and commence the upcoming Board election process. This is likely to mean a short delay in the rollout of those elections. To that end, the NGC will be announcing a proposed timetable and process in due course. This will include the identification of a date by which new membership registration must be concluded in order to be eligible to vote, with such date being identified and communicated in line with the guiding principles set out above.