May 24, 2010, 10:43 a.m. (ET)

     A statement to parents, coaches, and payers who have expressed concerns re:   the entry fee for the 2010 USA Badminton Junior National Tournament.


     As you read the following issues regarding the costs of this year’s tournament please take a variety of things into your thinking:


1)     USA Badminton is all of us working together. Although each of us can speak about how a given choice affects us personally - cost, location, dates, etc. please also consider how it affects all of the other people who are involved.

2)     The Junior Advisory Group works long and hard discussing, planning, deciding many issues each year.  All of their time is volunteer which is hundreds to thousands of hours of unpaid time.  If you have not previously read the minutes of the last three years of meetings, please go to US Junior Badminton Website (click Junior Committee, click minutes, see 2007, 2008, 2009).   Many of the issues people are raising have been raised, discussed, and published for all of you to read and understand.

3)     Speak with your Junior Committee representative. These are the people who represent you and participate in 15 to 20 hours of meetings at the Junior Nationals and countless times during the year in between.  Please give your representative a list of issues which you would like on the agenda for this years meeting.


     What goes into the costs of a Junior Nationals?


1)     Site – the badminton facility we play in must be paid for.  Sometimes this is a school gym (Boston) sometimes a private club (OCBC, Bay Badminton Club).  The entry fees do not cover the full cost of a facility.  Additional fundraising and sponsorships are always necessary.  Club owners do not expect to make a profit but we do not expect them to operate at a loss. Some people have asked why some weekend tournaments only cost $35 per event/$105 for three events (Boston Open), $60 for three events (Washington State), and $65 for three events (Li-Ning LA Open). This seems less. Junior Nationals takes a minimum of 6 days.  The facility must be available for all of those days.  Have you ever approached a hotel and said Hotel X charges $300 total for three days won’t you let me stay for six days in your hotel for the same rate $300.  Renting a facility for longer costs more. There are more players at Junior Nationals, but not proportionately more.

2)     Officials – many local tournaments are not officiated or only have the finals officiated.  The National Championships (Junior, Adult and Senior) are not just any other tournament. There are our highest profile tournaments. They prepare our young athletes to go out and play internationally where they must know how to play in officiated matches.  With 1200 to 1400 matches over the course of the tournament we will this year need some 24 to 28 officials.  The Bay Area has held several training sessions to produce more officials. Even with that, a core group will need to fly in from around the country. These are volunteers. A
small few appointed officials receive some transportation costs, shared
room, and maybe $25 per minimum 8 hour day. They take off from work and lose income or vacation days. And, for most they do not even have a child playing in the tournament.

3)     Medical – Over the last two to three years we have had a number of serious injuries and health issues arise at major tournaments. We had had a long stretch before that without any.  Although USAB carries a liability insurance for care which is needed later, the Junior Committee has had increasing worries about;

a)  how the decision is made about an athlete continuing to play,

b)  the need to screen an injury before taking the step of requiring transportation to a medical facility for care with attendant costs,

c)   the added difficulties for an athlete/parent from out of town getting to the best place for care.

Just as with insurance where we all pay some, even if we do not see the doctor this year, so that the money taken together can pay for care that is needed, the only way we can pay for a health care professional to be available is to share the cost ($10 per entrant) Each individual can say, I would rather not pay because my child has never been injured.  But, if your child is seriously injured and gets prompt on-site medical care for $10, you can say “What a Bargain”.

4)     Banquet – Over the years, one chance when all the players can come together, awards can be given, news can be shared and a celebration can occur has been felt to be a good thing. This year a contract has already been signed for the banquet, and is not renegotiable. If we poll all participants and a majority decides to vote against, this is a cost which could be dropped in future years.


Where does the money come from?

There is no money from USAB for the tournaments. Please go to the USAB website under Board of Directors and see the basic outline of the USAB budget. We are a small organization and pay for an office, staff, and a small amount for developing coaching programs, court official certification programs, and money which is restricted to our elite international athlete programs.  In fact, the organizing committee and site must pay a sanctioning fee to cover insurance and other office overhead.

a)      Entry Fees

b)      Sponsorships

c)      Donated time of Organizing Committee, Junior Committee. Tournament Desk Staff, Court Officials, and local volunteers

d)      Any suggestions from anyone in the Badminton Community for other sources of $ to help control costs would be welcome.


What can be done to control costs?


          We can decrease the size of the tournament so it is a weekend tournament.

1)     Cut out the U-9, U-11, U-22 age groups. The committee reviews this each year.  Some feel that the younger age groups have no place at a national tournament.  Others feel that it is a critical start to get players going on their careers.  This is one of those places where many people vote only their own interest.  If a person has a younger child they want them to be able to play. If not they do not care as much.

2)     Split the tournament into one weekend for U-13 and U-15, a second weekend for U-17 and U-19.  This is cheaper for the parent who has a child in one age group, and doubles the travel costs for parents with two children who fall into different tournaments.  It means officials need to travel twice. It means that coaches need to leave their clubs and travel twice. So it lowers some costs and raises others.

3)     Restrict entries to the tournament – either by rankings or be so many per region with a regional qualifier. With smaller tournaments, costs can be kept down. But, currently we get enormous criticism if rankings do not place a person in the right place in the draw. What if your child is told – this year you rank one spot too low too play in the tournament at all?  If we add a regional qualifier for all regions then a player will have to pay entry fees for two tournaments, likely a higher total cost than the one fee now.

4)     Drop the consolation bracket.  With the current feed-in consolation, every player plays at least two matches in each event and often has four or more matches per event. If we drop consolation, the tournament will be one match and out. If you live locally, this may not matter. But who will want to travel to another city and pay transportation costs, and hotel costs for what may turn out to be one match.



General Issues –

1)     The biggest cost to families is travel, hotel, and meals. The LA area has been advantaged by having 11 of the last fifteen Junior Nationals (others were Shreveport, Marblehead, Spokane, and Marblehead).   Other areas of the country always have to pay travel, hotel and away from home meal costs.  There has been discussion of some form of cost sharing pool to help equalize this greatest unfairness in cost, but it has not been supported.  I would hope everyone understands that for true Junior NATIONAL Championships, we must be open to all, and that costs are not fairly divided.

2)     The 2010 costs are set and cannot be changed due to contracts, size of tournament, court officials needed, number of days needed, and commitment to access to emergency health care.

3)     Everyone is urged to read ALL of the past discussions on the Junior Website.

4)     Everyone is urged to speak with their representative to the Junior Advisory Group about their feelings about fair pricing and what they want to cut if the price is lowered for future years.