USA Judo, as the National Governing Body recognized by the USOC for the Olympic Sport of judo in the United States, is the only organization authorized to sanction the participation by U.S. amateur athletes in international amateur athletic competition. This authority is mandated through the Olympic and Amateur Sport Act passed by Congress. The same authorization is reinforced in Article 15 of the Bylaws of USA Judo. The Bylaws are well distributed and posted on our Web site, www.usjudo.org.
On May 30, the USA Judo Board of Directors voted to suspend the United States Judo Association (USJA) as a Group A member of USA Judo, with a right to a hearing if USJA so requests one, prior to this suspension becoming a termination of membership.
This decision was made after the Board evaluated information and documents which showed that USJA leadership actively sought, organized and supported a trip by junior athletes to an international competition in Dominican Republic within the last 90 days without applying to USA Judo for a sanction to do so. Further, one of the coaches traveling with the athletes was under a two-year suspension by USA Judo and, according to the Triad Agreement which exists between USA Judo, the U.S. Judo Federation and USJA, this coach was to have been under suspension by all three organizations.
Another possible breach of the Olympic and Amateur Sport Act and USA Judo Bylaws included potential sanctioning of international competitions within the United States, which is also subject to the requirement for a sanction from USA Judo as the National Governing Body.
The leadership of USJA was given an opportunity to address these matters through certified mail on May 5 and again on May 21. Regrettably, there was no response.
The decision to suspend USJA was made by a unanimous vote of the Board of Director by those who participated in the Board meeting, with eight members taking part in the meeting.
USA Judo did not make this decision lightly. Moving forward USA Judo will continue to make whatever hard decisions we will need to as it relates to this matter.
The action of USJA will not affect in any way the athlete members of this organization as it relates to participation in the sport. USA Judo shall continue to honor the Open Tournament Agreement throughout the rest of the year, or until a final determination is made on this matter.