In November, we updated the USA Gymnastics Bylaws and Board of Directors structure to align with the USOPC’s Bylaws and the Empowering Olympic, Paralympic and Amateur Athletes Act of 2020 – new federal legislation passed in October. These changes will allow us to provide athletes with a stronger voice in our governance, continue meeting current best practices for non-profit board composition and comply with federal law and USOPC rules.
Our Board of Directors will continue to have a majority of unaffiliated directors (8 of 15 directors), which is a widely recommended best practice for non-profit boards. However, the Board’s composition is changing to include greater athlete representation. As part of the new Empowering Amateur Athletes legislation and our updated Bylaws, one-third of the Board will be comprised of athlete directors. The total Board composition will now include 8 unaffiliated directors, 5 athlete directors, 1 national membership director and 1 director who represents affiliated organizations.
In addition, all committees of our Board – like the Ethics & Grievance Committee, Finance Committee and the Safe Sport Committee – will be comprised of at least one-third athlete representatives.
In order to facilitate participation by more athletes, the qualifications for athlete directors have also been relaxed. Of our 5 athlete directors, 3 of them must be considered "10 Year Athletes" as defined by the USOPC (meaning they have represented the US at a delegation event or certain other identified competitions within the last ten years). The remaining 2 athlete directors must have represented the US at a similar competition, but it doesn’t need to have been in the last 10 years (these are referred to as "10 Year+ Athletes"). The requirements for athletes serving on certain other committees have been relaxed even further.
For the 5 athlete Board directors:
Elections and Eligibility
Athlete directors will now be voted on by all eligible 10 Year Athletes (not directly by the Athletes’ Council) and will no longer have to be members of the Athlete’s Council to become directors.
The national membership director will continue to be elected from among the Programs Council members. Programs Council will choose a candidate from the discipline with the highest number of members and a candidate from the remaining disciplines to run for the position. Then, all active professional and non-athlete members will vote for the national membership director as between those two candidates (previously, only certain Programs Committee members could vote for the national membership director seats). This national membership director position will be elected after Programs Council positions have been filled.
Open Programs Council seats, for the men’s program representatives, are now being filled. Members eligible to vote on open or vacant seats will receive a separate email in the coming weeks to further explain election procedures.
Under the new Bylaws, committee structures will be streamlined and simplified. Details related to committee objectives, composition, and procedures will, in most cases, now be included in separate charters that will be approved by the Board. This will allow committees to more easily update governance documents.
Similarly, the grievance procedures (including the procedures for Safe Sport complaints) have been removed from the Bylaws. These procedures will instead live in separate policies, which will allow for further refinement to processes in the future.