By Peter Huston
The Editor recently asked US Sailing President Jim Capron to comment on the Farrah Hall – Nancy Rios Windsurfing Trials last year. Capron stated he will not answer any questions because of on going litigation. The Ed asked me to investigate.
I found two possible explanations to Capron’s provocative statement. Hall’s legal team filed an Article VIII complaint with the US Olympic Committee against US Sailing. An Article VIII complaint relates to the denial of an athlete’s rights, and is a very serious matter for a national governing body that the USOC takes with grave concern. Unlike arbitration, the USOC does not have to act on an Article VIII complaint unless they feel it has merit. What is interesting is that this action was commenced on the 4th of February 2008. This means Hall’s Article VIII filing had to pass the necessary statutory review and threshold in order to even be scheduled for a hearing, so the complaint must have been procedurally proper, and had some level of merit to it, otherwise, it never would have reached a hearing status. The Article VIII hearing took place on the 23rd of June 2008. This link will take you to the USOC site which is just a notice of hearing. That there has been no dismissal five months after the hearing suggests the matter is getting appropriate attention within the USOC.