CALLOUS ALERT: US Fencing Plans to Institute Cuts in Y12 and Y14 at Summer Nationals 2020


On February 15, 2019 during JOs in Denver, the US Fencing Tournament Committee discussed Y14/Y12 event formats at Summer Nationals.

According to the minutes of that meeting “the committee discussed recommendations for either tightening the qualification paths for Y12/Y14 or instituting a cut after pools at Summer Nationals 2020. A 20% cut will be put into place for Y12/Y14 for Summer Nationals 2020.”

According to the same minutes, the Tournament Committee agreed that:

“ A 20% cut will be put into place for Y12/Y14 for Summer Nationals 2020. “

You can find the relevant minutes at Appendix C of Minutes Special Meeting of the USA Fencing Board of Directors February 19, 2019 in Denver, CO

We are shocked and aghast at such a callous decision put in place for operational convenience.

If we read between the lines, the decision to institute a cut looks like a move to maximize the collection of registration fees without the corresponding obligation to provide the larger number of referees required to handle the DE rounds.

Tightening the qualifications paths would reduce the number of fencers eligible to compete at Summer Nationals. But this reduction would also truncate the flow of registration fees into US Fencing;s pockets

Anyone with kids knows that between the ages of 9 and 14 (the typical age range for Y12 and Y14 events), most kids are just starting to build their sense of self and their self confidence. It is also a crucial age at which they “make or break” with fencing as a sport.

The decision to institute a cut as opposed to instituting tighter qualification requirements is terrible for several reasons:

  • the Tournament Committee failed to take into account the potential psychological impact on a young fencer excited and proud to qualify for Summer Nationals, and yet under the rule changes, a certain percentage of those fencers would never even get a chance to fence a single DE because of the callous cut.

    There is an acceptable and appropriate time to institute a cut at an older age, but age 9, 10, 11 , 12, 13 and 14 is too early and the impact could permanently turn these kids off fencing.

  • the Tournament Committee failed to consult parents as to which option would be preferable in assisting US Fencing control numbers at national tournaments.

    It is a decision that is highly disrespectful of parents and how their money is spent in support of their fencers’ quest to improve and build up their tournament skills.

  • the decision to institute a cut appears to be motivated by money. A tightening of qualification requirements would be kinder and more sensible.

    The Tournament Committee and US Fencing are setting up a structure at the youth level to take money from parents in registration fees, while providing minimal value in return.

    Which right minded parent would fly their 11 year old fencer at substantial expense to Summer Nationals, only to have their fencer compete in pools before calling it a day. $2,000 for 2 hours of fencing? Who is not thinking straight here? Is US Fencing serious about promoting fencing as a sport?

The decision to institute a cut at the youth level at Summer Nationals, an event that many young fencers work so hard to qualify for and are excited to attend, seems very cruel.

It is also incongruent with US Fencing’s desire to build interest among young fencers in the sport.

The Tournament Committee members who made this terrible decision on Fenruary 15, 2019 are:

Members Present: Brandon Rochelle, Chair, David Blake, Meredith Delgado, Maggie Dull, Alan Geller ,Andrey Geva, Cody Mattern, Laurie Schiller, Brenda Waddoups Members Absent: Nikki Franke Liaisons: Donald Alperstein on behalf of Jeff Salmon - board liaison, and on behalf of Anne Crocket - RC liaison Staff Liaison: Christine Simmons Guests: Dan Mott Kate Reisinger

Fencing Parents thanks the concerned and rightly irate parent who alerted us to this rule change.

Please share this article with parents of youth fencers, they need to know what’s in store for them

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