COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The Board of Directors for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) has approved the recommendations regarding athlete eligibility policies from the Eligibility Task Force.
The work of the Eligibility Task Force is in response to the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) beginning its own work towards compliance with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete Classification Code. The NWBA has followed the IWBF’s eligibility criteria for both domestic and international competition. The NWBA will continue to adhere to the previously used IWBF eligibility criteria (non-compliant with IPC ACC at this time) for the 2020-21 NWBA season.
As previously shared with members in July, the membership voice (and vote if applicable) would be requested and included in the process for determining the NWBA’s approach to this matter. Thus, the creation of the Eligibility Task Force was developed ensuring representation of all applicable membership roles (athlete, coach, team representative, classifier), multiple voices from each viewpoint, all regions, and divisions.*
The following are the BOD approved recommendations from the Eligibility Task Force:
1. Allow all athletes with a previous IWBF classification (i.e. prior to 2020) to compete in the 2021-22 NWBA season under their current IWBF classification.
2. For the 2021-22 NWBA season, continue use of the current NWBA athlete eligibility criteria as outlined in the NWBA Policies and Procedures and Article One - Field of Play and Section One - Player Eligibility.
3. Task Force will reconvene following IWBF/Loughborough University Research Project Regarding New Minimum Impairment Criteria (MIC) for Wheelchair Basketball (tentatively in July 2021) and IWBF establishing MIC standards compliant with IPC Athlete Code(TBD).
a. Further review, discussions and action may be required at this time.
The following is the rationale for the recommendations from the Eligibility Task Force:
1. Alignment with the IWBF/IPC policies are important considerations; unknown state of compliance timeline creates need to extend time to obtain policies.
2. We should utilize the new information of others and experts as we devise an approach on the NWBA’s approach to the matter. “Start from Scratch” Model not preferred.
3. Provide proper notice of athlete’s eligibility status for the 2021-22 NWBA season.
For more information on player eligibility we would encourage you to read the NWBA Bylaws Article 4.2 Eligibility (pages 4-5: https://www.nwba.org/bylaws) and NWBA Policies and Procedures and Article One - Field of Play and Section One - Player Eligibility (page 2: https://www.nwba.org/policiesprocedures). * NWBA Bylaws Article 8, Section 1 Designation B: The President of the NWBA shall name ad hoc committees and task forces as deemed necessary.