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Document Type

Notes

Abstract

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) is a uniquely situated nonprofit corporation. As a federally incorporated nonprofit corporation, the USOPC’s vast powers derive from an act of Congress. The USOPC possesses exclusive jurisdiction over Olympic and Paralympic representation within the United States, has the sole power to recognize National Governing Bodies (NGBs), which in turn control individual athletes within each sport, and must develop interest within the United States for physical activity. Despite this sweeping scope, there has been to date little accountability for the USOPC board of directors (USOPC Board). Fiduciary duties bind all nonprofit directors. When directors breach these fiduciary duties, law and public policy demand that directors be held responsible. This Note examines three recent decisions of the USOPC Board through a fiduciary duty lens: (1) amending its Bylaws to replace the American Arbitration Association with an arbitral organization of its choosing; (2) altering its mission statement to narrow the definition of athletes it considers itself responsible for; and (3) dispersing grants to NGBs based on a “results oriented resource allocation process.” This Note concludes not only that the USOPC Board breached its fiduciary duties to the United States, NGBs, and amateur athletes, but also that the U.S. Attorney General should enforce these duties and swiftly move to hold the USOPC Board accountable.

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