TN Division Referee Compensation Plan Proposal

TO: Executive Committee of the Tennessee Division of the United States Fencing Association

FROM: William Curtis, Referee Organizer

SUBJECT: Revised Minimum Compensation Plan for Tournament Officials

DATE: 23 June 2017


The purpose of the this proposal, is to ensure that all individuals who have taken the time to complete the seminars and observations in order to become certified officials by the United States of America Fencing Association (USA Fencing) receive fair compensation for the work requested of them by clubs hosting sanctioned events.

The people who work bout committee and the referees who run pools and keep the event running smoothly are required to go through yearly seminars, maintain professional membership status, and devote their time and energy staying up to date on rule changes and improve their abilities as officials.

As an official, I have had the experience of being pulled aside from coaching to referee pools and direct elimination bouts and been asked to self-referee a pool in which I am competing. Upon the completion of these events, I have noticed that occasionally; bout committee did not compensate the referees for their time committed to officiating bouts and also did not have their tournament entry fees refunded. Should the division be serious about increasing both the quantity and quality of officials in the division, I am of the opinion, that a minimum compensation plan be adopted and adhered to especially as US Fencing works toward mandatory hiring of certified officials starting 1 August 2017.


The creation of a minimum compensation plan to be utilized at all division sanctioned events based on size, number of events, and official qualifications. In keeping with the USFA, I would like to propose that our division mandate a minimum honorarium of $75 per full day of service and $40 for a half day of service for Division events for referees with ratings of 10-6 and $100 per full day or $55 per half day of service. Events in this category would include but not be limited to Divisional Qualifiers for Summer Nationals, Division Qualifiers for Junior Olympics, and Tennessee State Championship events (the State Championships and High School Championships)

I would also like to recommend a standard table of pay for events* sanctioned by the Division but are hosted and staffed by the respective division clubs. My proposed breakdown would be tied to the rating the referee has received for that weapon as a minimum and allow the clubs to increase the number due to referee quality, compensation for travel, and bonuses for directing finals in large events. The proposed breakdown would be as follows:

9-10 - $35

  8    - $40

  7    - $45

  6    - $50

5+**   - To be negotiated by club but no less than $60 event.

**Head referees or attending Certified Referee Observers full pay should be negotiated prior to the event but should be no less that $50 more than the normal honorarium assigned to standard officials.

Finally, I would like to propose that a minimum compensation of 50% of travel expenses be provided should the referee be required to travel five or more hours in order to work the event they have been hired in addition to the pay they would receive has a hired official. Additionally, hosting club would arrange lodging if the event is over the span of multiple days or traveling requires the official to stay over night.

*Should the club hosting the event have members who are certified officials, the requirement of payment per the proposal can be waived as service to the club with the hired official’s agreement.


The United State Fencing Association has expressed a desire to increase both the quality and quantity of the referee pools across the nation, a goal that has now been adopted by the Tennessee Division, as a method to help provide better staffing for our division events and as a way to build the next generation of regional, national, and international referees. If the division truly embraces this goal, setting a clear standard of compensation will help encourage more individuals to take the steps to receive the certification as it will not only offset the time and costs associated with certification, but also provide a source of income for services rendered to the Division and its respective clubs.

Annual Division Meeting Agenda

     As the 2016-17 season draws to a close, it's time for our Annual Division Meeting & Officer Election.  Your participation throughout the season is just as vital to the growth and development of our division as your attendance at our annual meeting is.  This meeting is an opportunity to review the successes of the past season, as well as discuss what adjustments are necessary for the coming season; ideas are shared, recommendations are made, schedules are set, and leaders are elected.  

     We truly hope that you will attend our annual meeting and help us prepare for the 2017-18 season; a season that we hope brings the biggest growth in membership and most successes in the Tennessee Division's long history. 

    Annual Meeting Agenda:

[Call to order formalities: Secretary verifies that a quorum is present, in person or by proxy. Chairman then calls the meeting “To Order.”]

  1. Chairman's welcoming remarks, review of the 2016-17 season, results, finances, etc.
  2. Review of old business if necessary.
  3. Finalization of the 2017-18 season schedule; local, regional and national.
  4. Tournament protocol, including request process, referee requirements, sanctioning fees, etc. 
  5. Discussion of future likely rules implementation by USA Fencing that may require all tournaments to have rated referees, and the referees' rating would determine the tournament's overall rating.
  6. Division Referee and Coaching development; future clinics, certification etc. 
  7. Standardized Referee Compensation Plan proposal (for referees officiating at Division sanctioned tournaments).
  8. 2017-18 season budget; overview and suggestions for future expenditures.
  9. Development of a state-wide High School Fencing League.
  10. Marketing/promotion around the Jr. Olympics to be held in Memphis, TN.
  11. Alternate qualifying paths for Jr. Olympics & Summer Nationals.
  12. Bids for future RYC, RJCC, ROCs.
  13. Open forum for additional topics, questions, and comments.
  14. Officer Elections.

[Upon a member’s motion from the floor, and seconded, the Chairman declares the meeting adjourned.]

     The Annual Division Meeting & Officer Elections will be held at Music City Fencing Club (2543R Lebanon Pike, Nashville, Tennessee, 37214) on Saturday, July 22nd beginning promptly at 2pm Central Time.  Refreshments will be provided!   

     Immediately following the adjournment of the meeting, our Division's top nationally-rated referees (each rated a level 5 in their respective weapons; William Curtis [Foil], Chris Cheney [Saber], Robert Piraino [Epee]) will provide a general overview, including rule changes, rules application, common mistakes, and will offer a Q&A forum to provide further clarification. Open fencing will be available at no cost for anyone interested.  

Voting Privileges: Members 18 and over, as of February 1st of the membership year, have the right to vote in US Fencing elections.  Please provide your date of birth prior to February 1st in order to be included on the voting list.  Voting privileges are not included in the non-competitive memberships.

Voting via Proxy:  Members eligible to vote and in good standing may give their proxy to any other member of THE DIVISION who is eligible to vote and in good standing. All proxies shall be in writing and must be submitted for verification to the Secretary at least 72 hours in advance of the Meeting. The person designated in the proxy must be in attendance at the Meeting in order to exercise it.  The proxy form can be found on the division website HERE.

TN Division Qualifiers for Summer Nationals

The TN Division Qualifying Tournament for the 2017 US Summer National Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah will be held this weekend, April 29 & 30 at Music City Fencing Club in Nashville, TN.  This event is used to qualify fencers for the following men's and women's events:

Youth 14 (Birth year 2002-2005) - Epee, Foil, Saber

Division 2 & 3 (Born 2003 or earlier)  - Epee, Foil, Saber

Veterans (Born 1977 or earlier) - Epee, Foil, Saber

Events with 3 or fewer fencers pre-registered by the deadline will not be fenced, and fencers will automatically qualify in that event.  Events with 4 or more fencers pre-registered by the deadline are required to be fenced, and 25% of the field will qualify to the championships.  Fencers who qualify for Division 2 will also be qualified for Division 3, assuming they're eligible.  They will not take a qualifying spot and will be skipped when determining the other qualifying fencers for Division 3.


Junior Olympics Qualifier

  On December 17th & 18th 2016, the Tennessee Division held our annual Jr. Olympics Qualifier.  This year's event was exceptional, and very well attended as compared to recent seasons.  All events ran smoothly, thanks to the help of our awesome referees: William Curtis (Head Referee), Katie Keirstead, Daniel Morrell, and Chris Cheney.  Our men's events were better attended than our women's events, so we'd like to focus on increasing participation from female fencers.  There was some fantastic fencing across all weapons, and we'd like to thank all those fencers who chose to participate.  

Congratulations to all those fencers who qualified!  

Annual Division Meeting & Officer Elections

Attention members of the Tennessee Division of USA Fencing!  We will have our annual Division meeting and officer elections on Saturday, July 30th, 2016 at 4pm (CST) in Nashville, TN.  This meeting has several purposes, and we strongly encourage ALL members of the Division to attend.  We will review this past season, and discuss ideas for this coming season.  In order for the Division to grow successfully, we need the input of all active members of our fencing community.  We request that each club has a minimum of 1 representative attending the meeting.

Clubs that are interested in hosting tournaments this season should make those tournament requests at this time.  For the growth of events in the Division, it's important to have a set calendar of events as early as possible.  Additional events may be added throughout the season, but clubs should have core tournaments scheduled prior to the start of the season (August 1, 2016).

At the conclusion of the meeting, we will be holding officer elections for the 2016-2017 season. Eligible voters are strongly encouraged to attend in order to have their voices heard in the election.  If you are unable to attend, you are required to mail/email your proxy vote, in advance to the Division, naming the eligible voting member who will attend the election and vote in your place.