COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -This is announcement regarding the details for the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Town Hall on Monday, July 20th at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Again, the purpose of this town hall will be to provide a transparent update with our membership on the collective NWBA leadership’s view on the upcoming 2020-21 NWBA season.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF), in the first half of 2020, has been working towards compliance with the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Athlete Classification Code. The IWBF recently released its first set of decisions for Phase 1 eligibility of the Reassessment Process. The IWBF, as an independent Federation from the IPC, has always had its own eligibility philosophy, classification regulations and policies until the mandated alignment with IPC early this year. Each organization has issued statements clarifying the onset of their discussions and the chronology, neither of which is the subject of this communication.
To date The National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) has followed the IWBF’s eligibility criteria for both domestic and international competition. The NWBA will continue to adhere to the existing IWBF eligibility criteria and classification procedures for the NWBA High Performance Programs (National Teams and Paralympic Teams) as the IWBF becomes compliant with the IPC Athlete Classification Code. The NWBA has been working with the pool of athletes in the NWBA High Performance Program on each phase of the IWBF’s Reassessment Process.
The NWBA will continue to monitor the progress of each phase of the IWBF Reassessment Process and support our athletes throughout. The completion date for all phases of the IWBF Reassessment Process have been delayed due to the impact of COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, the IWBF hopes to conclude this process by December 2020. This delayed timeline in establishing eligibility status with the IWBF, and the fact that the completion will occur mid-season, creates uncertainty for IWBF classified athletes (regardless of citizenship) competing in the NWBA.
Due to the unknown eligibility status of various athletes in the IWBF Reassessment Process, the NWBA will allow all athletes with a previous IWBF classification to compete in the 2020-2021 NWBA season under their current classification. This is a one-year extension of these athletes’ eligibility and classification status with the NWBA. NWBA leadership is committed to reviewing the organization’s classification policies in the coming months with an approach for the 2021-22 NWBA season and beyond.
The NWBA is an organization governed by its Membership, which means that NWBA Membership votes on Bylaws that define, among other items, eligibility standards to compete in our Association. By extending eligibility, we accomplish two very important outcomes: we allow the IWBF / IPC harmonization process to be fully completed and understood; and, we allow sufficient time for NWBA Membership to understand and evaluate options (AND VOTE) on how best to proceed, consistent with NWBA governance protocol.
Dear NWBA Members,
I hope that this message finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy. It is an understatement to say that we have never experienced times quite like these. NWBA Leadership (i.e. Board, National Office and Division Leadership) has been in frequent contact to think through what the upcoming season will entail. We’ve also taken an intentional approach to seeking input from Athletes and Members, including:
- Membership Survey
- Team Representative Survey
- Again, active dialogue with Division Leadership
The overwhelming feedback has been that there is a desire to return to play this season. Of course, the feedback has also consistently highlighted that Members want to do so in the safest way possible. Returning to play in the safest way possible, and respectful of local government guidelines, is of the utmost importance.
The Board of Directors has another meeting scheduled for July 13th, and our intent is to meet with Division Leadership and Athlete Advisory Council shortly thereafter. We know that there is a strong desire to hear the latest thinking on whether we will have a 2020 / 2021 season and what that will consist of.
We plan to host an NWBA Town Hall on July 20th at 8:30pm Eastern Time. The purpose will be to provide a transparent update with our Membership on the collective Leadership’s view on the season, and timing for when athletes, teams and other important members (e.g. officials and classifiers) can expect our “Return to Play” protocol. That protocol will highlight the necessary precautions for a safe return to play for our Members
Please save the date, and plan to attend this important Town Hall. We will solicit questions in advance of the session, so that we ensure we are addressing the questions and concerns that all of you have. We look forward to an engaging discussion, and thank you in advance for making the time.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is excited to launch the NWBA Webinar Series, an informational series focused on helping NWBA members build knowledge, skills and abilities on focused topics. Creating resources for NWBA members is critical to helping sustain and grow the sport. Webinar topics were selected based on feedback from membership and will be presented by NWBA members who are skilled in those particular areas.
The first webinar, Understanding and Securing Grants, will take place on Thursday, July 9th at 6:30 p.m. Mountain time. This session will be presented by Darlene Hunter and Cheryl Vines. You can expect a “How-To” guide to finding and applying for grants that are specific to sports programming for individuals and organizations/programs/teams. Both Darlene Hunter and Cheryl Vines bring a wealth of experience on Grants to this discussion. (See Bios Below)
The NWBA Webinar Series will be conducted virtually via GoToMeeting. All interested NWBA members are encouraged to participate in this first webinar segment by using the information below:
2020 NWBA Webinar Series Kickoff
Date: Thursday, Jul 9, 2020
Time: 6:30 PM Mountain Time
Please join from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (312) 757-3121
Access Code: 419-447-877
New to GoToMeeting? Get the app now and be ready when your first meeting starts:
Darlene Hunter – President of NWBA Women's Division
Darlene Hunter has been highly active in women's wheelchair basketball as an advocate and a player. She acquired a spinal cord injury at the age of four and got active in sports at the age of seven when she started competing in road racing. Darlene went to the University of Arizona for racing and then began playing on the women’s wheelchair basketball team. She moved to Texas and began working with Texas Regional Para Sport to help build opportunities for individuals throughout the state. She has written several grants to advance adaptive sports for community programming and camps. Darlene currently works at The University of Texas at Arlington as an Assistant Professor in Practice for Social Work. She is also on Team USA for Women’s Wheelchair Basketball. Darlene earned a Gold Medal in the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games in Women’s Wheelchair Basketball.
Cheryl Lady Vines, MS
Cheryl Lady Vines is the Director of Research and Education at Paralyzed Veterans of America. In that role she oversees the grant portfolios for the PVA Research Foundation and PVA Education Foundation as well as managing PVA’s research and education initiatives.
She began her work in grants management as an applicant, obtaining over $8.3 million in grants during her career. She has had many roles in grant reviews for the PVA initiatives as well as for the Craig H Neilsen Foundation, National institutes of Health, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program and other disability related organizations.
She began her career as a Recreation Therapist and is a strong proponent of recreation opportunities and leisure education for people with spinal cord disabilities. She has held numerous roles in the NWBA over the past 4 decades.
Ms. Vines holds a Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fresno and a Master of Science degree from the Florida State University.
She feels lucky to live on the Central Coast of California where she enjoys golf, boccia, beach walking and volunteering.
The NWBA would like to thank Darlene and Cheryl for making time to help other NWBA members build sustainable programs. Future topics in the Webinar Series and the timing of those sessions will be communicated soon. Additionally, the NWBA would like to thank Christina Schwab for her assistance in launching the NWBA Webinar Series. We appreciate Darlene, Cheryl and Christina giving back to the organization.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - The Junior Division Executive Committee is pleased to announce that the 2020 Junior Division Annual Meeting will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mountain time on Tuesday, July 28. All NWBA members are encouraged to attend the Junior Division Annual Meeting via Zoom, details to participate are below:
NWBA Junior Division Annual Meeting via Zoom
Date: Tuesday, July 28, 2020
Time: 7 p.m. Mountain time (9 p.m. Eastern, 8 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Pacific)
Join via Zoom App, Computer, Tablet https://wse.zoom.us/j/99247683969
Meeting ID: 992 4768 3969
Phone (One tap mobile)
+13017158592,,99247683969# US (Germantown)
+16465588656,,99247683969# US (New York) Add meeting to your calendar Click here for the iCal Feed
The meeting will consist of discussion on divisional business, elections for available Junior Division Executive Committee positions and voting for amendment proposals for the Junior Division. More information to be provided prior to the meeting, including the method for Junior Division delegates to submit votes for amendments and elections.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - Five members have been voted in by their peers to represent the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Athlete Advisory Council (AAC). The NWBA AAC is responsible for bringing the athlete voice to the Board and Committees, actively participating in strategic initiatives and regularly attending Board and / or Committee Meetings.
Newly elected, Gail Gaeng, AAC Chair, Andrea Woodson-Smith, AAC Vice Chair, will join previously elected Steve Serio, U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) AAC representative, in holding a position on the NWBA Board of Directors. Other AAC representatives, Eric Barber, Eve Hampton and Harsh Thakkar will foster two-way dialogue and also represent the Athlete perspective.
“We are excited to be at this point where we can more formally increase the athlete voice in the direction setting of the NWBA,” said Will Waller, NWBA CEO. “The environment we are living in now with a righteous focus on equality, athlete safety, eligibility and return to play illuminates the criticality of seeking and including the Athlete voice in our strategies and tactics. Personally, I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to work more closely with each of these talented individuals on this inaugural AAC. Individually and collectively, they will make the NWBA a stronger, more sustainable organization.”
*Note: The NWBA previously announced that we would be filling 6 roles, but we had one candidate remove himself from consideration. We will be communicating the process to fill the remaining role in the month of July.
NBCSN to Showcase Eight Hours of 2016 Paralympic Games Presented by Toyota in Primetime on June 24 & 25
2019 World Para Swimming and Track & Field Championships Featured for Two Consecutive Weeks on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, Beginning Monday, June 29
NBC Sports’ Mike Tirico and Ahmed Fareed to Co-Host 2016 Paralympic Games Coverage; Jimmy Roberts to Introduce Coverage for 2019 World Para Swimming and Track & Field Championships
All Paralympic Sports Coverage Televised and Streamed Across NBC Sports Platforms is Presented by Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA
STAMFORD, Conn. – June 18, 2020 – NBC Sports presents 58 hours of Paralympic programming over the next three weeks on NBCSN and Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, beginning next Wednesday, June 24. Coverage will look back at the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games and the 2019 World Para Championships in swimming and track & field.
Mike Tirico and Ahmed Fareed will co-host coverage of the 2016 Paralympic Games Presented by Toyota on NBCSN. The 2019 World Para Swimming Championships and 2019 World Para Track & Field Championships will be introduced by NBC Sports’ Jimmy Roberts.
On June 24-25 in primetime from 7-11 p.m. ET, NBCSN will present highlights from the 2016 Rio Paralympic Games, where over 4,000 athletes from 159 countries competed, including seven-time Team USA Paralympic gold medalist Tatyana McFadden, five-time Paralympic gold medalist Brad Snyder, two-time Paralympic medalist Chuck Aoki and two-time Paralympic gold medalist Roderick Townsend.
As part of 2019 World Championships Week, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will present 14 consecutive days of 2019 World Para Championships, starting on Monday, June 29. The first week will feature 25 hours of 2019 World Para Swimming Championships programming from London, England. 13-time Paralympic gold medalist Jessica Long, three-time Paralympic gold medalist Rebecca Meyers and three-time Paralympic gold medalist McKenzie Coan highlight the competition.
The 2019 World Para Track & Field Championships is featured the following week of 2019 World Championships Week on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA. Beginning on Monday, July 6, more than 20 hours of 2019 World Para Track & Field Championships programming from Dubai, United Arab Emirates will be presented. Roderick Townsend, two-time Paralympic gold medalist Deja Young and five-time Paralympic medalist Amanda McGrory spotlight the competition.
Below is the programming schedule for the 2016 Paralympic Games Presented by Toyota coverage on NBCSN:
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 24 & THURSDAY, JUNE 25: 2016 PARALYMPIC GAMES PRESENTED BY TOYOTA
|Wed., June 24||Women’s Wheelchair Basketball: Gold Medal Game||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Best of Swimming||8:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Men’s Wheelchair Basketball: Gold Medal Game||9:30 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Thurs., June 25||Women’s Sitting Volleyball: Gold Medal Match||7 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Best of Track & Field||8 p.m.||NBCSN|
|Wheelchair Rugby: Gold Medal Match||9 p.m.||NBCSN|
Below is the programming schedule for the 2019 World Para Swimming Championships coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA:
WEEK OF MONDAY, JUNE 29: WORLD PARA SWIMMING CHAMPIONSHIPS
|Mon., June 29||Day 1: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Tues., June 30||Day 2: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Wed., July 1||Day 3: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Thurs., July 2||Day 4: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Fri., July 3||Day 5: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Sat., July 4||Day 6: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Sun., July 5||Day 7: World Para Swimming Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
Below is the programming schedule for the 2019 World Para Track & Field Championships coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA:
WEEK OF MONDAY, JULY 6: WORLD PARA TRACK & FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
|Mon., July 6||Day 1: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Tues., July 7||Day 2: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Wed., July 8||Day 3: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Day 4: World Para Track & Field Championships||11 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Thurs., July 9||Day 5: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Fri., July 10||Day 6: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Sat., July 11||Day 7: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Day 8: World Para Track & Field Championships||11 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
|Sun., July 12||Day 9: World Para Track & Field Championships||8 p.m.||Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA|
All coverage on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA will stream on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app, in addition to NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. Coverage of Paralympic Sports on NBC Sports Group platforms is a presentation of Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA.
NWBA Family and Friends,
Our hearts ache for the families of the most recent victims of police brutality, including George Floyd. The video of his callous murder was grotesque and repugnant, sparking justifiable outrage. The protests taking place across cities in the United States and globally, however, are not the result of an isolated case. Instead, they are the cumulative effect of voices going unheard. The righteous exasperation is about other inequities, as well, which the COVID-19 pandemic has illuminated.
Like never before, African Americans are imploring other races to use their voice to demand change. I’m proud of how the NWBA family has reacted, many of whom have made their voices heard and actions seen. For others, this will be a subject that they are less comfortable talking about much less speaking out about.
As an organization, we have a couple of factors that allow us to play an active role in advancing an important discussion on race and discrimination. The obvious piece is that we are a sport organization, and we know that sport can be a uniting factor. Through a pursuit of common goals, we are more willing to let our guard down and build trusting relationships with people from often different backgrounds. My advice is that you take full advantage of the opportunity to better understand their perspective, so you can find and inform your voice.
Although much smaller in relation, being people with disabilities allows us a glimmer of what it means to be left out. Sometimes that is the result of physical barriers, but more often it is bias and perception that leads to exclusion of people with disabilities. That is in no way meant to create a false equivalence between racism and ableism: they are not the same. I only hope that by putting that into perspective, NWBA members and their friends and family can consider their own feelings when they or their loved ones are left out when forming a perspective on race in America.
If our members seek to understand and seek to make a difference, then we can have an impact greater than ourselves. I can’t help but recall a story about our Founder, Dr. Tim Nugent in the 1960s. When on one of his bus tours with his athletes spreading awareness of wheelchair basketball (and in so doing advancing rights for people with disabilities), they went to a diner to eat. The local establishment refused to serve the black athletes on the team. Instead of allowing his white and black athletes to be treated differently, Dr. Nugent refused to do business with that diner and left.
From the NWBA’s inception in 1949, Dr. Nugent was focused on advocating for people with disabilities - a group that was relegated to an existence that was less than. Advocating for equality is the essence of who we are, and we are the beneficiaries. That advocacy is just as critical now as it ever was. In addition to doing so for other people with disabilities, we must ensure that we are using our voice to support others who are treated as less than.