Resolution of Disputes

Resolution Process of Olympic-Related Sports Disputes for Athletes

3 Step Grievance Process - for disputes regarding the denial of the opportunity to participate

  1. File a Complaint with your NGB
    • Your NGB's Bylaws will detail the procedures you must follow to file a complaint, as the law requires the NGB to have a procedure to resolve the disputes of their members.
    • You have the right to a hearing by an NGB appointed panel.
  2. File a Section 9 Complaint with the USOC
    • Section 9 comes from the USOC Bylaws, which can be found here. The Bylaws details the procedure for submitting the claim, so make sure to follow them exactly. You must fill out the Section 9 Complaint Form.
    • The USOC does not hold a hearing at this stage, the USOC will only investigate and mediate the claim.
  3. File a demand for Arbitration with the American Arbitration Association (AAA)
    • Visit the AAA website for more detailed instructions on how to file your demand.
    • There is an $850 filing fee plus some portion (from none to all) of the arbitrator's fees and expenses.The arbitrator ultimately decides who owes what the conclusion of the case, but a deposit will be required.
    • There is no need to exhaust remedies to file with the AAA but a Section 9 complaint must be filed with the USOC.
    • AAA decisions are binding on all parties.
    • You can contact Jennifer Nilmeier at or toll free at 877.528.0880 after you file the demand for AAA.

The Athlete Ombudsman can guide you through this entire process should you have questions. You are encouraged to contact John Ruger or Sara Clark for assistance and advice.

Past Cases
Arbitration decisions from past cases can be found here