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USA Fencing Board Approves New Strategic Plan, Adds Membership Category, Reaffirms t.109 Exception

12/20/2023, 12:45pm CST
By Bryan Wendell

The Board approved the 2024-28 Strategic Plan, reaffirmed the exception to “strip coaching” rule t.109 and authorized the creation of a new membership category for parents and families.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Setting the stage for a transformative period in American fencing over the next four years, the USA Fencing Board of Directors on Saturday approved the 2024-2028 Strategic Plan — a move that promises to elevate the sport to new heights.

The Board also reaffirmed the “American exception” to rule t.109, which allows strip coaching that isn’t disruptive to the bout, authorized the creation of a new membership category for parents and families, and approved the ballot of candidates for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2025.

Before we get into the motion-by-motion recap, let us take a moment to thank our Board members — a group of individuals who volunteer their time and expertise to guide the sport's development and growth. Their discussions and resolutions reflect not only their own insights but also the valuable feedback from the wider fencing community. 

Dec. 16, 2023 Meeting — What Passed, What Didn’t

  • Motion 1 (Strategic Plan): Passed 

    • The board unanimously approved the 2024-28 Strategic Plan, which focuses on brand awareness and revenue growth, sport excellence, parafencing advancement, sport growth and organizational effectiveness.

    • Read the full Strategic Plan (it’s only 10 pages long and easy to digest) at the link above — or stay tuned after the first of the year for a deeper dive into the plan

  • Motion 2 (Logo Revision Proposal): Not Passed 

    • A proposal to merge the USA Fencing and USA Parafencing shields into one logo was discussed but ultimately defeated by voice vote. USA Fencing will continue to use the USA Fencing and USA Parafencing logos side by side in most material as we strive to elevate parafencing in this country.

  • Motion 3 (Parent and Family Membership): Passed 

    • The Board approved the creation of a dedicated parent and family membership category, aiming to enhance communication and engagement with fencing families. Next, the National Office will work to define the benefits of this plan and develop a strategy to debut this new membership tier and communicate it to current and future members.  

  • Motion 4 (Rule t.20.2 Amendment): Withdrawn 

    • Initially proposed to enhance safety standards during competition lessons, this motion to require additional gear during fencing practice/lessons was withdrawn after further consideration.

  • Motion 5 (t.109 or “Strip Coaching” Exception Reaffirmation): Passed 

    • The Board reaffirmed the “American exception” for rule t.109, meaning coaches are allowed to give advice during competitions.

    • The rule will continue to read: “In USA Fencing competitions, coaches and spectators are allowed to give advice to fencers…in all situations, coaches and spectators must not disturb the order of the bout.”

  • Motion 6 (Referees' Commission Bylaws Amendment): Passed 

    • Amendments to the Referees' Commission bylaws were approved, aiming to improve the election process and structural efficiency.

  • Motion 7 (U.S. Fencing Foundation Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation): Tabled 

    • The motion to approve revised bylaws and articles for the Foundation was tabled for further discussion and review. The Board is hoping to complete an email vote for the business covered in Motion 7 and Motion 8 and have that resolved before the new year.

  • Motion 8 (Articles of Incorporation Revision): Not Seconded 

    • The motion to approve revised Articles of Incorporation for the U.S. Fencing Foundation did not move forward due to a lack of seconding. The Board is hoping to complete an email vote for the business covered in Motion 7 and Motion 8 and have that resolved before the new year.

  • Motion 9 (Hall of Fame Nominees): Passed 

    • The list of nominees for the Class of 2025 Hall of Fame inductees was approved, following a move to executive session. The election will be held in the spring of 2024 and open to eligible USA Fencing members. Those nominees are:

    • Athletes

      • James Carpenter

      • Jane Hall Carter

      • Steve Kaplan

      • Tom Loszoncy

      • Phil Reilly

    • Legacy

      • Dick Pew

      • Dan Magay

    • Veteran

      • Patricia Bedrosian

      • Julie Seal

    • Coach

      • Gil Pezza

      • Amgad Khazbak

      • Semyon Pinkasov

      • Kornel Udvarhelyi

    • Contributor

      • Gerri Baumgart (Deceased)

      • Ruby Watson (Deceased)

      • Jon Moss

      • Andy Shaw

      • Jeff Bukantz

      • Peter Harmer

  • Motion 10 (Referees' Commission Nominating Committee Appointment): Passed 

    • Damien Lehfeldt was appointed as the Board Representative to the Referees' Commission Nominating Committee for the 2024 election.

What’s Next?

While the Board may conduct some business by email in the interim, the next official Board meeting will be held in person (with Zoom option available for remote attendees) at the Junior Olympics in Charlotte, N.C.

Next Board meeting: Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024 at 8 p.m. E.T.

Tag(s): Updates