ZONE BOARD OF REVIEW TRAINING Buddy Pylitt, NBOR Chair Lucinda McRoberts, Secretary & General Counsel September 15, 2017 BACKGROUND Why do we have Zone Boards of Review? Under the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, NGBs are required to
establish and maintain provisions for a prompt and equitable resolution of disputes involving any of its members. What is a Zone Board of Review? The Zone Board of Review is the independent and impartial judiciary for the Zone to hear and decide disputes, with the right to appeal to the National Board of Review.
Hearing Requirement of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act (1998) Procedural Section due process is required. 220522(a)(8) - before declaring any athlete, coach, trainer, manager, administrator, or official ineligible to participate in amateur
athletic competition, he/she must be provided a fair notice and an opportunity for a hearing. What powers does the Zone Board of Review have? The Zone Board of Review may conduct hearings, make decisions and orders with regard to any matter effecting the Zone or its constituent LSCs, the status as or conduct of an LSC or the administration of the sport of
swimming within the Zone boundaries which involves the following: Code of Conduct matters adjudicated by the Zone Board of Review: Only member(s) of that Zone; Matters arising in LSC, regional or zone competition; Matters within 304.3.11304.3.15 (e.g. fraud and recruiting) involving: One
or more member or participating nonmember of the Zone; and Not brought by USA Swimming. Code of Conduct: 304.3.11 188.8.131.52 .11 Any act of fraud, deception or dishonesty in connection with any USA Swimming-related activity. .12
Any non-consensual physical contact, obscene language or gesture, or other threatening language or conduct directed towards any meet official and which is related to any decision made by such official in connection with a USA Swimming sanctioned competition. .13 Action, other than through general advertising, by a coach, owner, officer, volunteer, representative, or employee of a swim club, or a USA Swimming or LSC employee, either through direct contact with an athlete or the encouragement of others, to recruit or otherwise encourage an athlete who is already a member of a USA Swimming member swim club to leave that club, unless the acting party receives prior written approval to recruit or encourage the athlete to change affiliation from the designated club representative of the athlete's existing USA Swimming-member swim club or contact is initiated by the athlete, the athlete's
parent or authorized representative. General advertising includes any information that is: A Distributed to an identifiable general population where there is a reasonable expectation that the majority of that population are not current members of USA Swimming, or B Placed in or on any item that is sold. In the event of a violation of this section, a sanction may be imposed against any coach, owner, officer, volunteer, representative or employee of a swim club, or against any such club, or any combination thereof, as appropriate. .14 Violation of any team misconduct rule as established by the USOC, USA Swimming, any Zone or LSC team authority.
.15 Any other material and intentional act, conduct or omission not provided for above, which is detrimental to the image or reputation of USA Swimming, a LSC or the sport of swimming. What disputes go to the National Board of Review and not the Zone? Exclusive Jurisdiction: any conflict that involves athletes or other USA-S members from different Zones; any conflict involving athletes or other USA-S
members that occurs at a national or international event; any complaint brought under Code of Conduct Sections 304.3.1 through 304.3.10. Note: Questions on whether issues within Zone BOR jurisdiction are resolved by the NBOR Chair (and are not appealable). Discretionary Statute of Limitations: The Board of Review need not [but may, if it so chooses] exercise its
jurisdiction with respect to a Petition the subject matter of which occurred more than 90 days prior to the date the Petition is received. How must the Board of Review exercise its authority and make decisions? Except for authority and power granted to the Board of Review Chair, the exercise of the
authority and powers of the Board of Review and the decision of matters which are the subject of a hearing are decided by a majority vote of the ZBOR hearing panel. The views of any dissenters must be included in the record of the proceeding if requested by the dissenters. Exercise of authority
(contd.) ZBOR must exercise its power in response to a timely filed Petition, subject, in appropriate circumstances, to the power and discretion of the ZBOR Chair to dismiss a Petition with permission to refile for a stated period. What types of penalties can the Zone Board of Review impose? The ZBOR, after conducting such hearings as it may determine to be necessary or
helpful, may, among other remedies: dismiss the Petition, with or without permission to refile; censure place or fine the Respondent; the Respondent on probation for a definite period of time, meaning any further
violation of any rule will be dealt with more severely; Types of penalties (contd.) prohibit or mandate future actions, inaction or conduct of Respondent; deny, grant, suspend or restore membership in the Zone and USA-S for a definite or indefinite period of time, with or without terms of probation, or expel (i) any Group Member, or (ii) Individual Member of the Zone; or
assess any filing fee against the non-prevailing party or refund any filing fee paid by the prevailing party. *See Article 404.1.1 for additional remedies. PRE-HEARING MATTERS The Petition (406.1) A request for a hearing is started by a written Petition submitted to the Zone Board of Review Chair setting forth: a
description of the action, inaction or conduct that is believed to have been improper or incorrect; and name of the person or group believed to have acted improperly or the circumstances believed to require answers, explanations or clarifications. include any filing fee required by the Zone ByLaws. Is Formality Needed? Last weekend, at the XYZ meet, my underage son was swimming for the JK Barracudas and Coach Bates of the ABC swim club solicited him without
permission and I think he should be punished! Description of the action? Name of person or group charged? Review by ZBOR Chair The ZBOR Chair can review a Petition and dismiss or suggest revisions;
If Chair dismisses the Petition, it can be reviewed by a ZBOR panel. The Notice of Hearing Written notice must be given to each Respondent at his/her last known address (by express mail, Federal Express or personal delivery), as soon as practical but no later than 20 days after receipt
by the ZBOR Chair. The Notice (contd.) 406.4.1 requires the Notice to include: a statement in reasonable detail of the charges; a statement of Respondents right to counsel; a description of the type of hearing to be held (in-person, conference call, etc.); the date, time and location at which the hearing will be held (the hearing must be not less than 30 and no more than 60 days after the Notice is sent);
The Notice (contd.) a request for answer by Respondent, with directions as to whom and where the answer should be sent; and a statement of the right to appeal.
Respondents Response Respondent may answer the charges in writing delivered to the ZBOR Chair at least 14 days prior to the hearing, with a copy to the Petitioner(s), and counsel, and anyone else specified in the Notice. Reply by Petitioner The Petitioner may offer a reply to Respondents Response (due 7 days before the hearing).
Alternative Dispute Resolution Mediation by the ZBOR Chair or designee (who will not be part of the ZBOR panel hearing the case) is sometimes helpful where the parties really just want a chance to be heard and understood by the other party, or when neither party is acting like a grown-up. Alternative Dispute
Resolution In an emotional case, an informal conference with the parties may be productive. Whatever else works and is fair to everyone involved. Sometimes, parties just need someone to say: How can we make this go away?
Dont make the resolution more complicated than necessary. Pre-Hearing Investigations and Fact-Finding No ex parte communications BOR members and Petitioner and/or counsel; BOR members and Respondent and/or counsel; Copy everybody on everything.
Pre-Hearing Investigations and Fact-Finding BOR must be objective and unbiased: No independent fact-finding investigations; No independent visits; and No independent witness interviews. Pre-Hearing Investigations and Fact-Finding: The parties are masters of their own case (for
better or worse); The parties need to marshal evidence to support their respective cases, including arranging for its witnesses; The BOR is a hearing body, not an investigative body. Pre-Hearing Conferences
with Panel Chair Very good for complicated cases and multiple party cases; Good for cases in which lawyers involved; Use to streamline the hearing by: Framing the factual issues; Framing the legal issues; Resolving any witness availability issues; Considering motions, if any.
Pre-hearing matters may also be addressed through a Pre-Hearing Order. Pre-Hearing Conferences (contd.) For example, in a falsified times case, the factual issues might be: Whether meet results for the Winter Invitational Meet, hosted by BC Club, were modified to reflect times for BC Club athletes that were faster than those actually achieved?
Whether such modifications were made with the intent to defraud or deceive? If the times were so modified, whether Respondent committed the actual act(s) of modifying the meet results for the Winter Invitational Meet, or the acts were done by someone else at his express direction.
Pre-Hearing Conferences (contd.) If the hearing panel knows these are the questions that need be answered, a number of extraneous issues can likely be eliminated: The effect of these times; Who they involved; Other issues that could delay the actual fact-finding.
Pre-Hearing Conferences (contd.) Make the parties figure out what witnesses they are going to use and schedule a date when they must exchange witness lists (with a brief summary of the area of testimony for each). Encourage the avoidance of repetitive testimony from multiple witnesses. Have the parties exchange copies of any documents or other evidence they will use in advance of the hearing.
Establish reasonable time constraints for each side to present their respective cases. Pre-Hearing Conferences (contd.) Encourage the parties/counsel to prepare stipulations of any undisputed facts and legal issues, so the number of witnesses is reduced. Discuss the standard of proof and the
burden of proof in Board of Review cases. Explain that the judicial rules regarding the admissibility of evidence do not apply in BOR cases. More to come on this later. DUE PROCESS CONSIDERATIONS For the purposes of due process, what is USA Swimming?
An NGB under the Amateur Sports Act and a member of the USOC. USA Swimming is not a state actor. It does not operate under color of state or federal law. As a result, Constitutional Due Process is not required, just procedural due process. Basic Rudiments of Due Process: Were parties provided fair notice?
Were parties given an opportunity to be present? Were parties permitted to present their case? Was there a decision on the merits? Was there good faith by decision maker? Is the judge also the prosecutor or linked so closely to the prosecutor that it appears so? What are we balancing? A strict adherence to traditional judicial standards of evidence is too arduous and
might impair the efficiency of our process. vs. The procedure used cannot be a sham designed merely to give colorable propriety to an inadequate process. What is Reasonable? Allow parties the right to present their case: Dont needlessly limit questioning (but reasonable limits are acceptable); Dont needlessly complicate the process;
Dont deny parties the right to have witnesses testify on relevant issues. Dont hesitate to change your mind. Get parties to agree that you have been fair. Ask - what else do the parties want to say? The Burden of Proof The Petitioner has the burden of proving that Respondent committed the acts charged in the Complaint.
The Respondent does not have to prove that he/she did not commit the alleged acts. The Standard of Proof The standard of proof means how far the trier of fact must be convinced that the charges have been proven. There are 3 possible standards: Beyond a reasonable doubt (the standard in criminal cases); Clear and convincing evidence (in special civil cases,
such as termination of parental rights); and Preponderance of the evidence (in ZBOR cases and most civil cases). Preponderance of the Evidence means: Based upon all of the credible evidence, the allegations are more likely than not true. Prepare and Distribute a Hearing Agenda
Call the hearing to order (announce the name of case, the place, time and date of the hearing, the fact that the hearing is being recorded, and read the charges against Respondent as set forth in the Notice of Hearing or Petition). Record appearances ZBOR panel members (20% athlete representation on panel required for a hearing) Petitioner and counsel, if any Respondent and counsel, if any Witnesses and others present, if any (witnesses may only
be allowed to participate in hearing while they testify) Hearing Agenda (contd.) Brief opening statements - setting forth generally each party's view of the issues in dispute, the relief sought and what they hope to prove by their presentation of the evidence:
Petitioner Respondent Opening statements are not required - in simple case, may just go into evidence; Opening statements should be subject to a time limit, e.g., 5-10 minutes Hearing Agenda (contd.) Presentation of evidence and witnesses (swear in each witness)
As to each of Protestors witnesses, the following will occur: Protestor's direct examination Respondents cross examination Redirect examination by Petitioner Hearing Agenda (contd.) After all of Petitioners witnesses
have testified, then Respondent calls its witnesses: Respondents direct examination Petitioners cross examination Redirect examination by Respondent Rebuttal evidence, if any, by Petitioner Hearing Agenda (contd.) Questions from ZBOR panel members are
appropriate at any time during the hearing; Closing Statements (ask if there are any objections to the fairness of the hearing) Petitioner Respondent Adjournment of Hearing Closed Deliberations of Panel (not recorded) Rules of EvidenceArticle 406.4(d)(4)
Direct Testimony; In addition Hearsay, Letters, Affidavits, News media articles and reports, etc. As to each: Is Panel Chair satisfied as to the relevance and non-repetitive nature of the evidence?
Rules of Evidence (cont.) Claims of privilege will not be entertained by the ZBOR, except in extraordinary circumstances. But you must recognize: attorney-client privilege; other privileges under federal law such as the privilege against self-incrimination; other privileges under state law, such as husband/wife; religious
person/parishioner. ATHLETE REPRESENTATIO N Athlete Representation USA-S Rules and the Amateur Sports Act require that the ZBOR hearing panels have at least 20% athlete representation.
The hearing may not start until the 20% athlete representation requirement has been met, i.e., the athlete is in attendance/ participating. Athlete Representation Required On appeal to the NBOR, the NBOR Chair will summarily vacate the ZBOR Decision if it is determined that the athlete representation requirement
was not satisfied. THE ZONE BOARD OF REVIEW WRITTEN DECISION Decision Requirements May be rendered at the time of the hearing or subsequently; in either event it must be reduced to writing and delivered within 14
days of hearing. Requirements for the Decision (contd.) The decision must include: Findings of facts; A conclusion as to whether and what rule/code section was/was not violated; A statement of remedies ordered or penalties imposed; and
A statement of the right to appeal. Requirements for the Decision (contd.) Make the punishment fit the crime. Be reasonable and fair!
Assess filing fees rarely. The Bottom Line Your role is to impartially decide if Petitioner, by a preponderance of the evidence, proved that the allegations against Respondent are true; Whether
those facts constitute a violation of the USA Swimming Rules; You do not decide if the Respondent is a saint, jerk, good coach or bad coach. Stay Orders (406.4.3) The Zone Board of Review has the power and discretion, but not the duty, to stay the Decision of the
ZBOR during the period within which an appeal may be filed. Stay Orders (cont.) Dont make Stay Request overly formal; Have the requesting party contact the ZBOR Chair in
writing; State factual reason for stay and any hardship that will result without stay. Stay Orders (cont.) Make sure other parties know of request;
Allow other side to file a written response to the stay request; Decide quickly. APPEALS TO THE NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW (NBOR)
Appeals from Zone Board of Review Decisions Must be a real party in interest to appeal. May appeal any ZBOR decision to the NBOR. File appeal with the Chief Executive Officer of USA-S within 30 days after the ZBOR Decision is entered.
Include filing fee of $250. Attach all available documentation. NBOR Chair has the authority to deny or reject an appeal he/she deems to be without merit. Review on Appeal NBOR can hear appeals in two ways: De
novo hearing - a completely new hearing of the case. This rarely occurs; Would only take place if there was a major gaffe in the process; or If the hearing involved a unique question of law, not fact. As an appeal based only on the
record and briefs. The Standard of Review on Appeal When the NBOR hears an appeal: It is decided on the record; Thus, NBOR looks at the documents/exhibits at the ZBOR hearing and the recorded testimony of witnesses; NBOR sits in panels of 3, which
includes one athlete. The Standard of Review on Appeal (contd.) As a result The findings of fact of the ZBOR must be accepted on review, unless they are so clearly erroneous as not to have support in the Record on Appeal. This is a pretty high standard. The Standard of Review on
Appeal (contd.) This standard of review recognizes: ZBORs presence during the presentation of testimonial & other evidence. Provides unparalleled opportunity to determine the credibility of the witnesses and the weight to be afforded the evidence. The Standard of Review on
Appeal (contd.) The National Board of Review has complete discretion to overturn, modify or affirm conclusions of law of the ZBOR, e.g., whether a set of facts constitutes a Code of Conduct violation or how to interpret the language of the Code of Conduct. Further Review NBOR
decisions can be appealed to the USA Swimming Board of Directors. Follows earlier rules. Questions? Lucinda McRoberts [email protected] (719) 866-3591
Committee Application: https://fs22.formsite.com/usaswimming/form3/index.ht ml Convention Exit Survey:
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