All That’s Wrong with the 2022-2023 NAC Schedule: in Four Maps

On July 19, 2022, USA Fencing announced the National Schedule for the upcoming 2022-2023 season. Allow me to begin this post with two acknowledgments:

  1. The contracts for these venues were likely locked in long before the Supreme Court issued the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Decision
  2. NAC locations are determined based on which metropolitan hubs are going to give the organization the best price

With that out of the way, let’s discuss what’s wrong with the NAC schedule as spelled out in four maps:

Map #1: 5/7 NAC’s Will be Held in States where Abortion is Illegal or Likely to Become Illegal

NAC’s In States Based on Abortion Legality

In the organization’s mission statement, USA Fencing claims to promote “anti-discrimination on the grounds of race, disability status, gender, gender identity, color, ethnicity, religion, political opinions, family status or other innate attribute is respected.”

With the recent Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decision overturning Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey decisions, a number of states have seized the opportunity to immediately ban a woman’s right to an abortion, including 5/7 states we intend to hold NAC’s in 2022-2023.

Suppose, at the March NAC a pregnant coach/competitor/parent/referee/volunteer suffers an ectopic pregnancy and requires an emergency abortion in order to live. In Texas, they’re out of luck. In Utah, Kentucky, Missouri, and Arizona, they’re also in trouble.

A consideration for the National Office in the future: are we really living our anti-discrimination policy if we intend to hold events in States with regressive policies that see women as no more than baby producers where the State holds dominion over their bodies? Answer: no.

Map #2 and #3: We’re Holding NAC’s in States with Regressive LGBTQ Policies

NAC States by LGBTQ Equality

The Movement Advancement Project (MAP) tracks all 50 states’ legislatures for “policies that shape LGBTQ people’s lives,” namely laws that promote “Relationship & Parental Recognition, Nondiscrimination, Religious Exemptions, LGBTQ Youth, Health Care, Criminal Justice, and Identity Documents.”

In a map that bears shocking resemblance to the abortion map (shocking absolutely no one), policy tallies for Kentucky, Missouri, Texas, and Arizona were rated as poor.

By other metrics, rated states based on a number of variables including non-discrimination laws, conversion therapy laws, hate crime laws, transgender health care, and other variables. Arizona and Texas were among their worst rated states with Arizona receiving a 17.1/100 rating, and Texas receiving a 13.9/100 rating.

Additionally, we are holding NAC’s in four states in which transgender youth athletes are banned from participating in youth sports:

NAC’s by States with Bans on Transgender Athlete Participation in Youth Sports

In future scheduling, it’s important we factor in the safety and guaranteed participation for all athletes and groups identified by the organization’s anti-discrimination policy.

Map #4: No Events in Regions 3 and 6, Areas that Account for 50% of Membership

Regions Map by % of Membership

I will first tip my hat to USA Fencing for not scheduling any events in “Region Whatevz.” Let’s face it though: the data shows that 50% of USA Fencing’s competitive membership resides in Regions 3 and 6. After holding recent events in Virginia Beach, Richmond, Baltimore, and Philadelphia, it seems odd to completely omit events from Region 3 and 6 where a good number of the Northeast States are in drivable distance of fencing epicenters.

The real oddity here though is the decision to hold three events in region 4. Though Region 4 accounts for 22% of membership, the state of Arizona holds 174 competitive members (.89% of USA Fencing’s Competitive Members), Utah has 89 members (.45% of USA Fencing’s Competitive Members), and 429 in Colorado (2.2% of USA Fencing’s competitive members).

Close to none of these locations (sans Phoenix from SoCal) are driving distance from any fencing hubs, and Salt Lake City only has 90 hubs in the world that offers direct flights (that’s very low).

Call to Action

As USA Fencing already begins preliminary planning to consider events for the 2023-2024 season, I urge the organization to consider our anti-discrimination policy for states they consider for hosting, so that both pregnant persons and LGBTQ members are considered as part of the criteria for evaluation.

Further, while of course every event can’t be on the East Coast, I’d urge USA Fencing to be more cognizant of travel considerations for the regions that encompass 50%+ of the organization’s membership.

4 thoughts on “All That’s Wrong with the 2022-2023 NAC Schedule: in Four Maps

  1. Fencing and US Fencing should stay out of politics. You appear very well versed on fencing issues, I would suggest you keep your commentary to fencing and stay away from trying to drag fencing into your views on national politics and constitutional rights.

    As to your position on Abortion. The Dobbs case does nor bar abortion it simply acknowledges that there is no enumerated right to abortion in the constitution. Even Justice Ginsberg acknowledged that there was no such enumerated right. So a state restricting access to abortion is not a violation of anyone “rights.” Saying hat the limitation of access to abortion somehow goes contrary to the USFA anti discrimination policies is a stretch at best.

    If political issues are to be used in the selection process, who decides which ones to use? What about second amendment right restrictions? What about income or education disparity? What about poverty level?

    Using your logic the events should be in the places with the fewest fencers because those places have youth and adults who have been denied access to quality fencing….

  2. This is incredibly illl-informed and shows the political echo-chamber you’re living in. There is no state in the country where a woman with an ectopic pregnancy cannot receive the medical care needed. Ectopics are never viable and would not be covered under any abortion “ban”. I love your site and have learned a ton from you as my son is growing in the fencing world. It would be wonderful if we could all compete and live in the wonderful fencing community instead of looking to split in in half because of political opinions completely unrelated to the sport.

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