As the season draws to a close for many of you, we have some things to go over regarding officials programs for next year. We have some big initiatives for the organization, and the officials play a large role in those.
New Rules for 2014
Relatively speaking, this is going to be a light year for rule changes. Whew, we needed a break! However, there are a few coming down the pike. I am not going to quote the new rules yet, as we have not fully written them, but what follows is a short version of the new rules and their intended effects. These go into force 1/1/14.
One-day licenses: As I alluded to in the last TD update, we are changing the nature of one-day licenses. The intent is for them to be used by cat 5 men or cat 4 women beginner riders, so they can try out the sport without fully committing to an annual license. They are not intended to be a loophole that allows higher category riders to ride open or mixed class races on a one-day. So, the new rule is going to specify that a one-day license may be purchased and used by a rider who holds category 5 for men or category 4 for women in road, track, and CX, or category 2 and 3 for MTB. No rider who has or had a category higher than that may use a one-day. Now, I admit there may be an enforcement issue there, and we have not fully thought out what the response will be when we find that someone who is a cat 2 won an open race on a one-day, but this rule will give the officials and the race directors and the local associations the tools they need to enforce this policy.
Professionals in Cat 1 events: for over a decade, there has been a rule that says any race open to cat 1 men may be ridden by a rider on a UCI continental team (tier 3). That rule is being scrapped. The new rule will say that for a professional rider to ride, the flyer and permit must call the race a pro/1, or a pro/1/2, etc. This will probably not have too many effects as many races do that anyway, but race directors have been asking, on occasion, for the right to have a race without the pros. This puts the decision in their hands. It also eliminates the unfortunate situation where an NCC race has the Pro/1 race and also a separate cat 1-2 race, and on occasion, the pros enter both and use the cat 1-2 race as a warm up and also take all the prizes. We also see that in NRC stage races where a pro gets eliminated by abandon or time cut and then hangs around riding the amateur events and taking all their prizes, making the amateurs very upset about it.
Cyclocross Upgrades: We are adding the same caveat to cat 1 CX upgrades that we have on the road side where only 10 points can come from master’s races.
Cat 5 men and Cat 4 women’s field limits: The field limits for cat 5 men is being raised to 75. The rule will be simpler now. Any road race or criterium that allows cat 5 men or cat 4 women in it, will have a field limit of 75. Going over that number will require a rule exception from the CEO.
Penalty for avoiding barriers in a CX: In the penalty section, chapter 8, a new one will state that avoiding a barrier in a CX race will result in relegation or disqualification.
Professionals in State Championships: Professionals (defined as riders on UCI registered teams) are not eligible for State Championships unless there is a category specifically for them alone.
Junior Age Groups: As of January, we are changing the age ranges for juniors, removing racing age 9 from the youth category and making it a junior category. At the same time, most of our national championship age groups are being updated so that now there will be a junior 9-10 followed by an 11-12, instead of the junior 10-12 class we had previously.
To better keep track of everyone attending our webinars, we've updated our officials clinic page to now include all of our archived webiniars as well as any of the new upcoming webinars. That being said, we've added 2 new webinars to the list.
SafeSport Training: Part of the new SafeSport initative is to educate and spread the word on what SafeSport is. This training is manadatory for any member that's required to do a background check.
2014 Rulebook: New Rules and General Overview:Shawn Farrell, Technical Director of USA Cycling, goes over what's new and important in the 2014 rendition of the USA Cycling rulebook.
We will be implementing our new official’s assignment tool in 2014. In fact we are building up the database for the 2014 championships, NRC, and NCC races now. Those of you used to getting a letter from me with a spreadsheet to fill out with availability will not be getting that this year. Instead assignment availability and decisions will be handled through your officials account with us. Of course, we will probably find some glitches as we go through this, but please stick with us as we shake these out early in the season.
The process will start with an official going into their account, which will look like the below in my case. Then I click on the officials red icon:
That will take me to the next screen, where I then click on “load the Assignment Tool”:
Once clicked, the next screen will show me races that have been loaded into the system for which I could apply. In our test here, only one race shows up, this year’s CX nationals. When I click on that I will see positions that I can apply for:
I will only see those positions I am qualified for, which in this case is all of them. But, if I were a level A official, I would not be able to select the Chief Referee or the Panel Member, but I would be able to select the other three positions. Hopefully this will be straight forward from your perspective.
The Local Associations that choose to use this system can manage officials’ assignments this way too, and you would see races pop up in your account that you can apply for. We are hoping the LA’s will use this system, as it will give us easy access to crew lists, which is very handy, and eventually this will store your resumes and your evaluations and have other cool bells and whistles.
So, stay tuned for letters from us announcing that new lists are available. The first one will be for our National Championships (all of them). Those are actually loaded now, but we have not activated the link pending a couple more programming tweaks. Then we will upload and open the NRC and NCC and International events. Later will be our other calendars, like CX and MTB.
National Commissaire Class
We have asked the UCI to host an Elite Road National Commissaire course in March of 2014, our typical timeframe for that. Their version of the Nat Comm course is pretty short, like 4 days, but it is road only, so we will tack on several days allowing for track and CX to also be taught and tested in. Our approved dates from the UCI are March 6-9, 2014. We will bring people in on March 2 if they are wanting to upgrade in track. Cyclocross day will be March 5th. The instructors for the course will be Wayne Pomario, UCI International Commissaire from Canada, and Randy Shafer, UCI International Commissaire from Colorado. At present we are aware of 9 Americans that have expressed interest. We are also offering the opportunity to Canadians, but we need 10 in order to hold the class, so if you are planning to apply but have not contacted us yet, please do so now. Thanks.
Background Checks (encore description in case you missed it)
Following on a mandate from the US Olympic Committee to develop the SafeSport program, including background checks, we will be beginning background checks on officials in 2014. We will be using NCSI and the system being developed should be fairly painless. The background checks will also be good for two years. For those not familiar with this type of program, what it means is that if you try to renew your official’s license, it will be pended until you have completed your background check. There will be a button to push on your My USA Cycling account that will take you to the site, and you will receive an email with the same info when you attempt to renew. Please be advised that NCSI can take some time to do a background check.
Please do not wait until Friday to renew your license if you have a race on Saturday, as you will not have a valid license on Saturday. You may not have a valid license for another 2-3 weeks. For anyone who has January races, please remember that as of December 1, 2013, you can purchase your 2014 license, and it would be a good idea to do so at that time so that the background check is out of the way in time for your January races.
For more information about what we look for in background checks, make sure to check out the USA Cycling Criminal Background Check Policy. Also, make sure to check out the Criminal Background Check Procedures page so you can fully understand the process. Please note that both of these pages are written for those constituency groups that need background checks for the 2013 season. These will be updated in the coming weeks for all the constituency groups that will have to go through the process in 2014.
Continuing Education (encore description in case you missed it)
This year we began expanding our continuing education program. This will likely be the most complicated piece of some changes to the licensing of officials. We are starting out slowly on the requirements, although we have given many opportunities to get CEU’s. While we shake out the reporting options, to renew in 2014 an official must have had a seminar on new rules within the last 12 months. If that is all you have done, then when you go to renew, you will either get an email or a pop up menu where you enter how you met that requirement. Other methods of completing CEU’s would include taking the webinars we have been offering, attending the officials summit, taking the Nat Comm class or level A class, or even attending the NASO summit. If you are one those people, then the system should already recognize that you have completed your CEU’s and not bother to hassle you for more info. In some case, such as attendance at the summit, you scored enough CEU’s to be good for two years.
Please see the following article for more on continuing education:
That is all for this one.