U.S. Amateur Sports Act Protects DanceSport Officials as well as Athletes

From time to time I visit a variety of internet DanceSport sites.  There is presently a debate taking place on some of these sites regarding whether or not international and national organizations may restrict athletes and officials from full participation in the events of their choice.

In the U.S. participation in sport by athletes as well as officials, including judges, is protected by the U.S. Amateur Sports Act.  This is the piece of legislation that created the USOC and established the rules under which the USOC operates.  Under those rules American athletes and officials must have the right to full participation in the athletic events of their choice, and USA Dance, as the National Governing Body of DanceSport recognized by the USOC, must adhere to those rules.

However, the USOC is not empowered to direct the actions of the sport organizations of other nations, nor is the IOC empowered to mandate that individual nations change their laws to conform to IOC standards.  Conseqently, while American athletes and officials enjoy full rights to participate in sport, other nations may choose to abridge the rights of athletes and officials in a manner that is allowed under those nations’ laws.

For this reason, the World DanceSport Federation (WDSF), which is the international body recognized by the IOC to oversee DanceSport world-wide, leaves to each member federation the right to manage DanceSport according to the laws of that member’s nation.  In fact, the WDSF can do nothing else but that, since it, just like the IOC, cannot mandate that individual countries change their laws to suit the WDSF.

Unfortunately, there are some misguided individuals in the dance community who do not understand this point, but continue to argue that the USOC, IOC, USA Dance and WDSF police the entire DanceSport world and make it one where all dancers the world over have complete freedom to participate in all DanceSport events.  This is entirely unrealistic.

These same misguided individuals, while demanding full freedom for athletes, are quite happy to deny that same freedom to officials, including judges, and argue that judges, but not athletes, must adhere to whatever rules are in place in their national organization.  The fact is that there may be some restrictions placed on the participation of athletes as well as officials based on their nation and its laws.

As stated previously, in America both athletes and officials have freedom to participate in the athletic events of their choice under the U.S. Amateur Sports Act.  USA Dance adheres to the provisions of this Act.  Unfortunately some other dance organizations in America do not, and limit judges from judging events organized by USA Dance and the WDSF contrary to the U.S. Amateur Sports Act.  This is problematic and should be  investigated.