USA Cricket inaugural elections postponed

USA project manager Eric Parthen has a chat with USA high performance manager Tom Evans Peter Della Penna

The inaugural elections for USA Cricket, the national governing body seeking to replace the expelled USA Cricket Association as the ICC's member board in America, have been postponed to May 29. According to ICC Americas USA project manager Eric Parthen, the decision was made primarily to allow the nominating and governance committee to properly vet eligible candidates.

"We communicated internally with all the members, so they're aware, but we've just slowed it down for a couple different reasons," Parthen told ESPNcricinfo. "We don't need a run-off [originally scheduled for June 1-8 in case of a tie]. We've got an election model that will allow us to just run one election and ensure that we're able to meet the maximum threshold.

"That bought us an extra week on the back end and we're using that to vet all the candidates. We had an excellent response as far as board candidates and it's taking a bit more time to appropriately vet them. So the nominating committee is spending a bit more time doing that and we'll move forward with the election after that."

The list of eligible candidates was supposed to be announced on May 13 ahead of the original May 18 election start date. However, the four-person nomination and governance committee - which includes ICC chief executive David Richardson - is not expected to be finished reviewing applications of candidates until early next week, with the finalised list of candidates announced on either May 22 or 23.

According to Parthen, a total of 26 nominees have filled out applications to stand in elections for the seven constituent positions on the USA Cricket board: three individual member director slots, one club director, one league director, and representatives for male and female elite athletes. After the election ends on June 8 and results are announced on June 11, the final three positions to make up the 10-member board will be filled by independent directors appointed by the nominating and governance committee.

Parthen said another reason for delays in the election process was to review a number of challenges or protests submitted after the initial list of voting eligible members, clubs and leagues was published by USA Cricket last week. Several glitches in the process resulted in multiple clubs or individuals erroneously being omitted from USA Cricket's voter eligible list despite having registered.

An example of this was the Houston Cricket League, which initially was identified by USA Cricket as not having registered any clubs to be eligible to vote. Upon further inspection, two clubs in the league met the threshold of 12 members to qualify as a voting club, though the 31-team league did not meet the minimum of three registered clubs to qualify for a league vote.

However, other protests may have been lodged to dispute initial evaluations made by USA Cricket to declare leagues eligible to vote when in reality they might not qualify. One such example is the California Cricket Academy (CCA). Headed by former USACA board member Hemant Buch and based out of Cupertino, California, CCA was a regular topic of disputes during its time as a USACA member due to its voting league status, despite USACA constitution guidelines stating academies should not be considered as a hardball league member eligible to vote.

Similarly, USA Cricket governance guidelines clearly state that academies, schools and university teams are not eligible to vote, yet CCA was listed as a voter eligible league with four clubs in the list published by USA Cricket. Each of the four clubs under CCA are listed in different age categories - U10, U12, U15, U17 - that would not compete against each other within a CCA league structure, compared to a youth league that has three U10 teams or three U17 teams in a regular competition.

"We're still vetting all of these and the peer review process is ongoing but at least initially they met the definition of a club and a league," Parthen said when specifically asked about CCA's eligibility. "But none of these lists are final and that will be finalised at the end of our peer-review process. The whole list is still under review and we're continuing to vet all of those clubs and leagues and there will be changes made over the course of the next week or so to make sure it is as accurate and reflective as possible of the cricket community that applied."

"This has come up a couple different times. I would say we are applying the constitution uniformly across everybody. There may be some unintended consequences across leagues and clubs and we're certainly aware of those but we're applying the definition equally. If there are a collection of at least three teams playing cricket at least once in a year, then they qualify to be a league. We'll continue to apply that same definition. Over time that may be something we decide to tweak."

The election timeline to conclude for June 8 will allow for the inaugural USA Cricket board to be settled in time to be presented before the ICC board of directors on July 1 at the ICC annual conference in Dublin, Ireland. The new USA Cricket board is then expected to be approved as the ICC's Associate Member board representing the USA after USACA was expelled in June 2017.