Board Response to Local Editorial
April 6, 2017
1220 Greenview Drive
Utica, NY 13501
April 6, 2017
Your editorial of this morning is a slap in the face to the tremendous work that my Board of Directors does and has done over the past decade under my presidency. To insinuate that “we can do better” when it comes to minority and women Hall of Famers indicates that the GUSHOF Board has not tried to elicit more nominees for consideration from those demographics. This could not be further from the truth.
In 2017, there were 27 individual nominations to be considered for induction. That’s it. In the last 10 years, this number has not topped 32 in any one year. Furthermore, out of the 27 nominees in 2017, ONE African-American and ONE woman were nominated (and the woman was nominated by a Board Member). In the statistics I have (2008-2012, 2015-2017 – I am unable to locate 2013-14 as of this writing); there were 11 African Americans and 19 women on ballots out of 204 TOTAL individual nominations those years. Out those on ballots, only seven African Americans and ten women were unique – meaning they were nominated in multiple years. Several were nominated internally from GUSHOF Board members.
I personally appear on radio programs soliciting nominations and send out releases to all media requesting them. We place the request prominently on our webpage and our Facebook page. I can count on one hand how often the various media outlets in the area publish this information every year. This morning’s editorial is extra surprising since the coverage of the GUSHOF from the OD has been severely lacking over the last few years. This year, I personally had to request the editor of your paper to put an item in the paper requesting nominations as the deadline was fast approaching. Press releases sent to your Sports department went ignored. That lack of support from the only daily newspaper in Utica to encourage nominations is disheartening.
And, where is the public in all of this? It is very easy to say, “Why isn’t so-and-so in the Hall of Fame?” If that person is not nominated, that person cannot be voted on and possibly enshrined. Your own editorial notes that several excellent candidates could be nominated “without ever giving it much thought.” It is the lack of participation from the public that places my Board in its current situation and receiving unwarranted criticism.
It should be understood that there are rules that need to be adhered to when a nomination is submitted. Included among these are that an athlete must be retired for two full years and a coach/executive/official must have 25 years of experience before being considered. Furthermore, there are 16 GUSHOF Board members. A Board Member may select up to 10 people for induction. They don’t have to mind you; they just have the opportunity to do so. A nominee needs 10 votes to be selected – 60%. As with any Hall of Fame, it should be tough to get in. As we have consistently proven over the years that has certainly been the case with the GUSHOF, especially since some in recent years did not attain enshrinement until several attempts at nomination.
Therefore, your assertion is not only a slap in the face to those of us trying to recognize outstanding performance in the sports world, but a misplaced accusation that we are not making this Hall of Fame diverse enough. If anything, the media and general public bear significant blame for providing the GUSHOF Board with very minimal assistance in fulfilling our mission.
Greater Utica Sports Hall of Fame