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Message Regarding Annual Assembly and 2017 NWBT

03/09/2017, 8:15pm CST
By Sarah Castle, NWBA President

From NWBA President Sarah Castle

Dear Membership:

As we approach the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament (NWBT) presented by ABC Medical, I wanted to take the time to outline some changes that have been made to the tournament this year, and also to provide an update on the changes we are making to the Annual Assembly Meeting, in response to the membership requests.

It is important to know that the decisions that we make as a Board are made with the goal to allow our Divisions to shape their direction, and to provide support from the National Office and Board of Directors. Most importantly, our organization has always been and will continue to be self-governed, to grow the sport of wheelchair basketball and our future.

One of the major changes to this year’s NWBT is the inclusion of three Adult Divisions (D-I, D-II, and D-III). This is a direct result of the Adult Division and, ultimately, Member feedback. Through the collective effort of the Adult Division; member input and recommendations; and the National Office; the concept of the D-II was revived and implemented. All divisions at the 2017 NWBT will have 16 teams and similar tournament structure. This, along with our Junior Division Championships, gives us an opportunity to showcase the many levels of our sport. We are thrilled to have this many teams and athletes competing in the 96-team tournament this year. This expanded tournament presents some logistical challenges, and the Divisions, National Office and Board of Directors have worked on an improved tournament structure and flow, since the conclusion of last year’s NWBT.

Thanks to input from the Junior and Adult Division Committees, we were able to address the different approaches to the tournament, and together decided that we would test the “Championship Sunday” format in 2017. We are excited about the opportunity for our juniors to watch some of the best basketball of our Adult Divisions offer, and for our adult participants to watch the future of our sport compete. Together, the Divisions, the Board and National office created the concept of “Championship Sunday” to bring our athletes closer and provide a motivational opportunity for everyone. The Divisions decided, and we agree, that this outweighs the downside of Sunday travel. Both Divisional Committees met earlier this week and confirmed again that “Championship Sunday” will remain as previously released.

I would like to inform you that the Annual Assembly Delegate Meeting has been changed back to its 6:30 p.m. start on March 29. We received Member feedback about the new Wednesday format. It is important to highlight that the primary reason for originally scheduling the Annual Assembly meeting was not to impact membership representation, but rather to open up a Wednesday evening for a fundraising event, expanding the NWBT experience for all. This event was to promote wheelchair basketball and the many benefits it has.

It was our hope to give our Membership the first opportunity to see and participate in the launch of this program. However, with the logistical challenges that are inherent to achieving all of the above, we had proposed some changes to the various Division meetings and the Annual Assembly meeting starting times. The point being, we would either need to do this, or schedule a completely different time and location for those meetings.

Because we value Membership feedback, we have decided to cancel the fundraising event in Louisville. This was a hard decision, because it was a prime opportunity for us to help provide financial support to a local team, raise awareness of our sport, and recognize our Men’s and Women’s Paralympic Gold Medal winning teams. With the cancellation of the new program, we have adjusted the time of our meetings, which are now as follows:

Wednesday, March 29

       

9 a.m.

12 p.m.

NWBT Early Registration

Crowne Plaza

Registration A & B

10 a.m.

11 a.m.

Junior Division Conference Commissioner Meeting

Crowne Plaza

Franklin

11 a.m.

6 p.m.

NWBA Delegate Registration

Crowne Plaza

Registration A

12 p.m.

8 p.m.

NWBT Team Practice

Kentucky Expo Ctr

6 courts

3 p.m.

10 p.m.

NWBT Registration

Crowne Plaza

Registration A & B

3:00 p.m.

4:30 p.m.

Junior Delegate Meeting

Crowne Plaza

Coronet A

4:30 p.m.

6 p.m.

Adult Division Meeting

Crowne Plaza

Coronet B

3 p.m.

6 p.m.

Collegiate Division Meeting

Crowne Plaza

Perry

6:30 p.m.

9 p.m.

NWBA Annual Assembly

Crowne Plaza

Crowne Ballroom

9:30 p.m.

10 p.m.

NWBT Team Reps and Coaches Meeting

Crowne Plaza

Coronet

We think this is the most balanced outcome that we can find, and we do feel it is important to take the feedback of our Members. If we want to continue to grow as an organization and find wins for our various constituents, we will need to develop a mindset and culture that is open to trying different approaches. This will require some sacrifice from all groups within our Association. The more we add to our event, the harder it is to accommodate every aspect of how we have always done things. In the future, we may need to prepare for an Annual Assembly meeting that is different than what we experience today.

None of us has all the answers, including your Board of Directors and Division Leadership. It is, however, incumbent upon us to make decisions with the information that we have. What I have outlined above is our plan for the 2017 NWBT. We will begin working our plans for 2018 shortly after the tournament, in concert with the Division Leadership, and feedback you provide to the National Office. Good luck to all the teams that will be competing at the 69th NWBT, and thanks to all of the other teams that competed hard but did not make it this year.

Best regards,

Sarah Castle

President

NWBA

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