Wednesday, November 29, 2017

An Evaluation of the Governance of US Olympic Sport Federations

Today at the Play the Game conference in Eindhoven, Netherlands I presented our preliminary rankings of the governance of US Olympic sports federations. This post provides a brief overview of our methods and results. You can find my slides here in PDF and also on Twitter. (UPDATE 12/2: Detailed rankings now available here.)

We have adopted the evaluation metrics developed for the 2015 Sports Governance Observer of Play the Game (here in PDF) and used them as the basis for evaluating US Olympic Sport Federations. Our work here would not be possible without the excellent foundational work of Play the Game in its project on Action for Good Governance in International Sports Organisations supported by the European Commission.

In the SGO evaluation framework there are 36 indicators, across 4 dimensions, which are equally weighted and distilled into a single index. Our preliminary rankings are for 22 of the 47 US summer and winter Olympic federations. In total in the US, there 39 summer, 8 winter and 25 Paralympic federations. Presently there is insufficient public information available to produce meaningful rankings of the 25 US Paralympic sports organizations.

Our results are preliminary. Our next steps will be to share the details of our rankings with the federations for their comment (and possibly, evolution of their governance in response) and completing the rankings for the remaining federations.

Of the rankings, which are expressed on a 100-point scale, the SGO states:
“It must be stressed that the SGO index reflects the presence of basic criteria of good governance. Medium-size federations should be expected to have an SGO index close to 75%, while large federations should achieve a score higher than 75%.”
So expressed as a classroom grade, a 75 is a solid "C". Below are our rankings, with grades provided:

1 Track and Field 79.1 C+
2 Weightlifting 67.8 D+
3 Curling 67.2 D+
4 Ski and Snowboard 66.1
5 Soccer 65.5
6 Hockey 64.7
7 Water Polo 64.5
8 Rugby 64.2
9 Boxing 63.4
10 Rowing 63.0 D-
11 Wrestling 62.1 D-
12 Gymnastics 62.0 D-
13 Baseball 61.4 D-
14 Volleyball 61.0 D-
15 Cycling 59.7 F
16 Triathlon 59.2 F
17 Diving 58.4 F
18 Speed Skating 58.1 F
19 Badminton 55.9 F
20 Swimming 55.6 F
21 Basketball 53.0 F
22 Sailing 50.0 F

Some conclusions:
  • In general US national sports governing bodies are better governed than their international counterparts;
  • Median score 62.0 (US) to 46.3 (international in 2015 SGO)
  • But don’t get too excited, a score of 62 is a D-
  • Only one US organization meets the SGO minimum criteria of 75% - USATF (USA Track & Field)
  • The US Paralympic organizations get a grade of "I" for "incomplete"
  • Much work remains to improve governance
You can find more details in my presentation here in PDF.

Finally, here is an image from the presentation showing the US and international rankings together (blue = US; yellow = international).

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