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Reform in NSW Baseball Three sequential stages are needed. Each is built on the previous one. It’s based on the existing Blueprint proposals, not a blank.

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Presentation on theme: "Reform in NSW Baseball Three sequential stages are needed. Each is built on the previous one. It’s based on the existing Blueprint proposals, not a blank."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reform in NSW Baseball Three sequential stages are needed. Each is built on the previous one. It’s based on the existing Blueprint proposals, not a blank canvas. Stage 1 - League Administration Stage 2 - RSO Structure Stage 3 - Addressing ML Concerns An Alternate Model

2 Stage 1: “League” Overview  The conceptual model is very simple...  Affiliation is via the RSO.  Participation is via Competitions run by Accredited League Administrators (ALAs).  Compliance with BNSW policies is via the relevant Standing Committee. The key concepts here are to separate Affiliation from Participation in competitions, and both from the duty of Compliance/Reporting.

3 The Blueprint Consider non-ML Seniors as a test case.  The Blueprint model … Has a relationship between a club and a Minor League. Has a relationship between a club’s Seniors VP and a Minor League. Has a Minor League Division at RSO level. Has AAA teams run by the Minor League Division.  The detail of these relationships is unclear.

4 Alternate League Model - ALAs  Allows free choice at team level as to where social teams play.  Simplifies BNSW admin & streamlines capitation. Captures everyone properly.  Can be applied state-wide. Fits with other areas: Women, Winter, Country, etc. Consider team-based participation instead. Players affiliate via RSOs but they play within Leagues Elegant and consistent management structure for competitions.

5 ALAs: Accreditation Process  Prospective ALAs {“bidders”} to submit tenders to BNSW from time to time:- say, biennually.  Those tenders will include pledges from individual teams, not clubs.  BNSW to decide minimum team numbers for viability.  BNSW is entitled to require other minimum criteria from bidders (financial strength, commitment to policy compliance, etc).  If a bidder can meet these tests, they ought to be granted ALA status as a presumptive right.  Presumptive rights should also exist for wholly internal competitions conducted by RSOs (eg: domestic club-based Juniors)

6 Can be applied anywhere

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9 Blueprint Principle #11 ?  Much of this is already in BNSW’s latest Principle #11 working paper.  The major points of difference are:- This ALA model is intended mainly for cross-RSO (inter- district) competitions.  The Junior Division of each RSO is special. It currently runs its own domestic competitions and should continue to do so. It effectively becomes a local ALA contained within that RSO. The idea of multiple ML clubs within a RSO is flawed. It doesn’t meet the test of “vertical alignment”. Stage 3 of this presentation addresses that issue. The concept of a Junior club affiliating within one RSO and then playing in a another is also flawed, for the same reason.  Individual Junior teams playing within other RSOs, by invitation and in special circumstances, is fine – Junior Associations have done this for years.  However, that should be negotiated between the RSOs, not a club and a RSO with which it is not affiliated.

10 Stage 1: Advantages  Resolves the issue of affiliation elegantly and consistently.  Separates affiliation from service delivery and from compliance. Relationships now become clearer. Consistent with Crawford’s Recommendation 2.2.  Provides competition among ALAs to allow a “best practice” model to evolve in the marketplace.  Capable of being applied to all inter-district competitions, not just Social Seniors.  Minimal resources required from BNSW. Micromanagement is done by the ALAs and RSOs. BNSW can focus on policy & outcomes. The RSO has longevity. ALAs can come & go without affecting the affiliation of clubs or players. Simplified MyClub admin.  Avoids duplication of effort by removing a layer of administration (ie: the Minor League Division).

11 Stage 1 concludes Questions?

12 Stage 2: Blueprint RSO Model Perceived Problems?  Too complex.  Too many extra people needed.  Clubs won’t be able to find seven directors.  Vague lines of responsibility.  A full-blown Women’s Division is premature.  Defining membership rights is difficult.  The cashflow from clubs  RSO  BNSW is obvious (capitation). The dividend from BNSW  clubs is not.  A separate AAA team is problematic.  More?

13 Alternate RSO Model Schematic

14 Alternate RSO Model Snapshot  Non-representative Board However, directors may hold other positions within the structure, and four have portfolio responsibilities.  Define a Division as an “underpinning operational division” as proposed in Principle #3 of the Blueprint.  Define a Unit as a supporting management element without line responsibilities:- Seniors Unit replaces Minor League Division.  AAA transferred to ML Division Control. Women’s Unit replaces Women’s Division.  Parent/subsidiary relationship between RSO & Divisions (ref Principle #7).  Divisions elect their own Executive Committees and operate largely autonomously, although under budgetary control.  Junior Associations & ML entities retain VA & incorporation status for now.  ML Division need not be incorporated (Licensed clubs can be involved)  Two direct reports to the Board:- Compliance Officer & Child Protection Officer.  Clubs use modified DSR “Model Rules” (only 3 Directors needed).

15 Alternate RSO: ML Division  Executive elected by ML Division Members only.  ML Exec Director also sits on RSO Board.  One Exec Committee member also serves as the MLSC Delegate.  Duties to be fully documented.  AAA and AA teams (by whatever name) are run by this Division. This Division can either be incorporated or exist as an operating segment of a Licensed Club, bound by Deed to the RSO.

16 Alternate RSO: Juniors Division  Executive elected by Junior clubs only.  Exec Director also sits on RSO Board.  JLSC Delegate appointed, not elected.  Duties to be fully documented.  In Hills, six volunteer admin staff.  Manages all Junior Rep teams (ie: non-club) who play in the RSO strip. This Division runs the local inter-club competition, as the Junior Association does now. It is the ALA.

17 Alternate RSO: Women’s Unit  Women having “Divisional” status within the RSO is premature. It requires too much work and too many extra administrators.  Better to leave the WLSC (at SSO level) for this.  Accommodate girls within Juniors, elite within ML, and social women within Seniors.  However, we can still recognise the unique potential within the female base… The head of the Women’s Division is also a RSO Director. Empowerment Appoint a WLSC (NSWWBL?) Delegate at RSO level. Representation Exec Director runs the Women’s Unit. Management  All three positions may be held by one individual in smaller RSOs.  The Women’s Unit will co-ordinate inter-RSO activities involving females, liaise with BNSW and the ABF on Women’s programmes, and generally ensure that females are adequately acknowledged in the “heart & mind” of the RSO.  It will also deal with recruitment and retention strategies specifically for females.

18 Alternate RSO: Seniors’ Unit  The Seniors Unit replaces the proposed Minor League Division.  Control of AAA team(s) passes to ML Division instead.  Exec Director also sits on RSO Board.  Exec Director to co-ordinate any RSO-wide duties among Senior clubs.  At this point, we should reprise the structure in Stage 1 Teams play in Leagues run by ALAs, and their clubs send delegates to those Leagues. There is no need for a RSO-based “Senior Division” nor a RSO-level “Super-Delegate”. Passing the AAA team(s) to ML is efficient. ML already have a structure to deal with RSO teams, and the people to run it. Why re-invent the wheel?

19 Membership: The RSO “Incubator”  Reject the idea that a large club is always more viable than a small one.  Build an internal structure to contain small clubs, run directly by the RSO.  Clubs largely manage their own affairs, with guidance from the Management Committee if required.  RSO is fully responsible to BNSW for governance & viability.  Clubs enter and exit the Incubator as needed.  No voting rights for the Incubator nor its clubs.  Also a vehicle to seed new areas with new clubs, backed by full RSO support and resources. This addresses the current BNSW Working Paper at Blueprint Principle #14

20 ML Members at the AGM  Accept that ML should exercise greater voting power than others at the RSO’s Annual General Meeting: Allow voting for one Director (the Exec Director, ML Division) to come only from ML Members, and In all other AGM motions (including electing other Directors), The ML Division gets multiple votes:- the number to be determined within each RSO.  Create and maintain a ML Membership Register:- Voting is optional. Members declare their intention to vote ahead of the AGM. One vote to:-  Each current adult ML player from the previous summer,  Each family with junior ML players in the previous summer,  Each family with potential junior ML players next summer,  Any volunteer involved in ML and registered exclusively on MyClub as such.

21 Alternate RSO: The Membership  Six clearly defined membership classes Junior Clubs. Senior Clubs. Clubs who have both junior & senior teams. Major League individual members. The Incubator. Direct Affiliates (individuals without club affiliation).  Affiliation is achieved efficiently, backing up the concepts from Stage 1 Each individual is affiliated to one and only one RSO, once and once only via his/her MyClub record. Preserves BNSW voting integrity & simplifies insurance accounting. No double-counting, as might be the case if a Minor League or Women’s Divisions exist.

22 Alternate RSO: AGM Process  Seven Directors needed (Agrees with Principle #3) Four of these have portfolio responsibilities  The order of elections is important to allow candidates maximum opportunity to fill positions … Elect the President, Finance Director and Secretary first. Elect the four Executive Directors next. Elect the rest of the ML and Juniors Division Exec Committees last.

23 What of Blueprint Principle #7 ?  BNSW’s latest Principle #7 working paper addresses some of these issues.  The major points of difference are:- Page 2 illustrates a way of forming a RSO, using Hawks as an example.  No problem with the model if the Juniors and ML club involved agree on it.  However, there need not be one common model used across Sydney. Each RSO should be free to determine its own membership and voting structure. A Junior Association and a ML club need not “… merge and amalgamate finances …” to form a RSO at this stage. A new incorporated body should be created that has a de facto parent/subsidiary relationship to its Divisions.  A formal merger will require Constitutional change to resolve the Voting Affiliate status of existing members,  A formal merger is much harder {than a Deed or contractual relationship} to undo later if it fails to work properly, and  Properly managed, the RSO ought to be able to exercise the required control over its Divisions using a budgetary process. However, this can {and should} be with the explicit consent of those Divisions.

24 Stage 2: Upside for members  The Alternate RSO Model is more pragmatic. Redefining the Divisions of Women and Minors as “Units” cuts out a couple of layers of administration.  It also relaxes the need for clubs to restructure. Most of the volunteers needed are already in place.  Familiarity: Better tailored to existing practices. No need for volunteers to learn new structures. Little or no negative impact on players at any level.  Allows each RSO some internal latitude. Diversity among RSOs can breed innovation. Preserve it. No need to standardise domestic competitions among RSOs. Maintains volunteers’ ownership of their preferred segments.  Better transparency & governance. No grey or dotted lines. Easy to understand relationships. Improved connection between the RSO Board and the grass roots. The RSO Board has a balance between experience and vision.

25 Stage 2: Upside for BNSW Office  The Alternate RSO Model is more efficient Saves time and money: Less input to day-to-day operations.  Formal reporting replaces most ad-hoc compliance activities.  The Incubator allows RSOs to manage their own small clubs. The current Blueprint has many “dotted line” relationships that need to be explained and justified to members. Hard work. No need for Constitutional change to implement it. Yet. Common structural “look & feel” across all segments of the sport.  Low-impact implementation = greater support now This addresses many member concerns with the original model. It should therefore gather support for adoption now, while still providing a framework that future administrators can develop. This won’t weaken the reform process – just the opposite.  Improved clarity This plan is on the table now. “Here’s one I cooked earlier” Hard to allege a hidden agenda. The agenda is there already.

26 Stage 2: Upside for both  Branding This model still provides the structure needed for a strong state- wide brand. Consistent RSO identities created: “Hills Baseball”, “Sharks Baseball”, “Hawks Baseball” etc. “Cradle to the grave” identity for the RSO.  Sponsorship potential The model supports both SSO and RSO sponsors. Juniors can leverage the prestige and exposure of the ML Division. ML can leverage the numbers in Juniors & Social Seniors. Everyone can leverage the emphasis on Women’s baseball. Aligns well with NSO sponsors and ABL objectives.  Grass-roots flow-through The membership’s focus is baseball: BNSW’s focus is business. Clubs will be able to demand support from BNSW in recruitment, development, funding etc. Armed with “a product” BNSW will have the tools to deliver this support, whereas it probably can’t do so now.

27 Stage 2 concludes Questions?

28 Stage 3: ML Concerns  The Major League community appears to have concerns… They do not want to force a reduction in clubs. Some clubs don’t have a current junior base, or “farm system”, which is a key plank of the original Blueprint. The junior talent pool available to each club will be unbalanced if Juniors and ML are tied together in regions as they exist today. There are some urban myths out there, too.  These need to be hosed down real soon. Examples: $25K ML Franchise Fee set in stone, BNSW Centralised ground leases, Westpac banking deal, etc Note:- In this section I sometimes use the term “club” for familiarity among the audience. Mostly, the technically correct term would be “The ML Division of the RSO”

29 Addressing ML Concerns  Two limbs to this exercise … Stage “3A”: Allow some clubs to exist outside the RSO model.  They won’t have a Junior base, but some don’t now either. Stage “3B”: A Transfer Fee  This compensates a RSO if one of their players chooses to play for a different RSO after turning 16.

30 Stage 3A: Standalone ML Clubs  First Step … Allow three ML clubs to exist outside the RSO structure, for now. Agree a timeline (years) to migrate to a full RSO-based model. The number and identity of ML clubs has changed over time – just allow this evolution to continue. Trying to impose artificial alignments of ML and Juniors will damage both more than it will help either.

31 Stage 3B: The Transfer Fee  Such a fee is already canvassed in the Blueprint. I support the concept, perhaps leading to a limited Player Draft down the track.  Details: A farm system? Keep things in perspective. The “Aligning Juniors & ML” problem only affects half a team each year: the young half of the U/18 squad. Let’s address that specifically rather than doing the baby & bathwater thing. Assume that kids are tied to the RSO in which they played their final season of Juniors, for their first 3 years of ML service SUBJECT TO the next few slides. Bear with me …

32 Stage 3B: The Transfer Fee  What happens now with U/18s? Kids aged <15 generally play in Juniors. Kids turning 16+ simply show up at trials for their preferred ML club. No restrictions.  Preserve this concept. Let them trial where they like:-  The good players will be selected by their Home RSO anyway, and  Those who get cut are free to trial elsewhere.  Encourage RSOs to market themselves to all prospects. Redefine this as “not poaching” Direct approaches should go through the MLSC.

33 Stage 3B: The Transfer Fee  A Transfer Fee is payable to the Home RSO (the one where a Junior played his last year of Juniors) ONLY if that player is selected by a different RSO for ML service. No fee for selections after a player has been cut by his Home RSO. No fee for players in the AAA team or lower. No fee for players more than 3 years out of Juniors.  Underpins the idea of a Player Draft in future.

34 Stage 3B: The Transfer Fee  This is the key to making the concept of “tied players” work. It can’t be slavery, nor can it work as it does in professional sports. There still should be some compensation to a RSO whose ML Division has put work into developing a junior, if he chooses to play elsewhere. Let’s say it needs to be money.  Suggestion = $500 flat. We should only “count” the extra input from a local RSO ML Division to that RSO’s junior players. The Junior Division already makes its own decisions on development, and that won’t change. Assume that each ML Division puts 120 man-hours per year into junior development. Cost that at $20/hour = $2,400pa. It wants about six players per year coming out of Juniors into the ML Division. That says each junior player is “worth” $400. Add something for irritation value and let’s call it $500.

35 Stage 3: Moving forward  For Stage 3A to progress, the Board must accept the concept of Standalone ML clubs, perhaps for a transitional period, despite the conflict with the Blueprint as proposed. That’s not fatal, although it is inelegant.  For Stage 3B to progress, the ML community needs to accept that a Transfer Fee reconciles concerns about equalising the junior talent pool feeding into ML service, both for RSO-based ML Divisions and Standalone ML clubs. It preserves the existing concept that players can go wherever they like. We’re just putting a formal structure around it, and introducing a Transfer Fee to compensate RSO-based ML Divisions for the work they’ll do with their own kids.

36 Stage 3 concludes Questions?

37 Conclusion The overarching goal of this approach was: To identify what works now and preserve it, and To identify what doesn’t and fix it,  Most importantly, to judge on the basis of facts or first-hand evidence, not myths or assertions.

38 Conclusion What works:  The ML competition. Will it keep working alongside the ABL in summer?  Junior domestic competitions. Mostly.  Elite development. Or is it too soon after closing the NSWIS program to say this?  Social Seniors.  Country? Are there any structural problems here?  Winter League  Coach accreditation programmes?  What else?

39 Conclusion What doesn’t:  Junior recruitment overall.  Junior retention, especially from U/8  U/12. Also, keeping ex-juniors in social seniors after 17.  Inter-district Juniors? This probably has more to do with scheduling conflicts than anything else.  Umpire recruitment & retention  Secondary finance avenues (ie: not from capitation fees) Loss of Olympic funding. No worthwhile sponsorship in NSW.  Some Senior Leagues are still unaffiliated. Their unaffiliated status is the problem, not that they don’t run well.  Compliance. Gaps in VA and club compliance with policy.  Internal communication, both at strategic and operational levels.  What else?

40 Conclusion Is there a pattern here?  Is it fair to say that we do baseball “stuff” pretty well, but that we don’t relate to the outside world as we should?  Is it even more poignant if we define single-season young juniors and unaffiliated seniors as part of the outside world instead of part of baseball?

41 Finally I’ll leave you with this thought …  Perhaps we should be concentrating on the public profile of the sport? That aligns perfectly with the ABL’s goals. Can we put anything that doesn’t address this on the back-burner?  Otherwise, we spend the next few months trying to fix things that aren’t broken and risk not dealing with things that are. You can download the final version of this presentation after April 15 th from:-


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