Column #476 It is time to turn talk into ACTION!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Column 476
It is time to turn talk into ACTION!

It is time to turn talk into ACTION and enable the American Darts Organization (ADO) to become the organization the players – all players – should expect and deserve.

Much has been written about the organization’s failings and the need for leadership to lead. If you’re unfamiliar with the issues…

  • Gross lack of financial accountability (the last time a financial statement was released was in 2002);
  • The revocation by the IRS of the ADO’s status (and the status of the Memorial Fund) in 2011 and 2010 respectively) for failure for many years to file legally required documents;
  • Rumors of large amounts of missing money – well over $100,000;
  • Rampant rumors of lawsuits by and against players;
  • Archaic by-laws that “disqualify” eminently qualified people from running for election while ensuring that unqualified people can run and be elected by a vote of a mere dozen people;
  • The continued funding of an expensive and unresponsive west coast office;
  • Failure to publish meeting minutes (and a refusal to account for how important votes were cast);
  • Preferential treatment of certain board members who have profited from board decisions, and;
  • Much, much more, then…

…search the past couple of months of Dartoid’s World columns or scroll through the discussion at Facebook’s Dart Discussion Group. It’s all there.

In recent weeks, discussion has ramped up. Top players and recreational darters alike have been engaged offline in a dialog to explore solutions.  With but few exceptions the consensus is universal – the action described below is widely embraced as reasonable, fair and, quite possibly, one which may result in the kind of change that is so desperately needed.

Sharon Butler and yours truly have teamed up to lead this effort. We don’t always agree – in fact, we’re a couple of people with whom many don’t always agree.  Perhaps more to the point, some people just don’t like us.  We can’t change that.

But we can and do believe that a reasonable solution to the perennial problems that have plagued the ADO can, should, and will be supported by players with whom, despite some differences, we have everything in common – a passion for the sport of darts and a desire to see a governing body that will lead steel-tip back from the brink to a position of respectability and put the sport on a growth path for all players for the future.

We believe ADO president David Hascup and some of those around him are well-intentioned but hamstrung in their efforts to get the job done. What we are proposing and encouraging your support of is NOT a plan to boycott the ADO or destroy it (as a few have already charged).  Quite to the contrary the plan is to enable the leaders to lead by forcing action through the ADO’s pocketbook.

Yesterday, the letter below was sent to all directors of ADO-sanctioned tournaments still planned for 2014. Please read it closely.  Support it.  If you are not a tournament director but know a tournament director contact them and encourage them to support it.

Dear ___________,

Without a doubt you are as passionate and dedicated to the sport of darts as we are.  That’s why we are writing to you today… 

…to ask that you help force the American Darts Organization (ADO) to comply with their legally mandated requirement to share their financial status and statements with their members.

There have been numerous requests for this information sent to the ADO’s president, general secretary and chief financial officer – all which have gone unanswered. 

Surely we agree that darts needs a governing body in the United States but the ADO has failed players at all skill levels.  While many factors have contributed to the decline of darts in this country we believe failures of the ADO, particularly financial, top the list.  Before calling on players to refuse to pay the sanctioning fees we respectfully request you to consider the doing the following:

  • Continue to collect the ADO sanctioning fees, as usual;
  • Continue to report the results of singles events so that the players wanting to receive points do, as usual;
  • Do NOT send the sanctioning fee money to the ADO;
  • Hold the funds collected in your account in escrow; and  
  • Acknowledge that your event indeed owes the ADO the money and that all funds owed will be sent when the ADO meets their legal obligations as a non-profit organization.      

If enough tournaments agree to take this action, the ADO will be forced to comply with their legal obligations.  It seems clear at this point the only thing that is going to motivate the ADO to do what is right is a serious hit to the finances. 

If the ADO’s revenue stream is cut off they will have no option but to replace their arrogance with responsibility.  This will benefit all players and help bring darts back to respectability in America. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Your reply is appreciated. 

Respectfully,

The American Darts Organization Reform Committee

Today or tomorrow, another letter will be sent to all ADO-sanctioned leagues. It will encourage similar action – that dues be held in escrow until the ADO at least rights its financial ship.  If you’re are a league officer consider it carefully.  If you are a player in an ADO-sanctioned league contact your board members and encourage them to support it.

Again, with Hascup at the helm there is hope for the ADO to survive and thrive. But for Hascup to truly have a chance at success – for the ADO to have a legitimate chance to shine and represent its members the way its members should expect and deserve – key systemic changes are critical.  And proper financial accounting is the essential first step.

Some of those who have been blocking David Hascup’s efforts (and who reportedly blocked the efforts of other recent ADO presidents) seem committed to continuing to impede progress. The “election” of Joe Hogan as the ADO’s new vice president is testament to this.

We are convinced the actions suggested above are reasonable and fair and will make a difference.

If they do not further steps will be taken.  The sport of darts and all players deserve better.

Sharon’s and my contact information is in the public domain (or e-mail us at reformtheado@gmail.com). Do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions of concerns.

From the Field,

Dartoid

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Dartoid
Author of the column that since 1995 has been featured by Bull’s Eye News, the American Darts Organization’s (ADO) Double Eagle and numerous other darts publications and websites around the globe.

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