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Everything posted by rjohn76

  1. I'm extremely optimistic that the new organization will succeed and genuinely like what I see as an overall. I called out the one negative point that I saw because it seems to go in the opposite direction of what DCI has been pushing organizations to do in recent years. It wasn't that long ago that many corps had their CEO/Executive Director on their board. Now days, most don't... and the few that do typically include them in an ex-officio role which usually comes with limits/restrictions that are outlined in the organization's by-laws. Given the fact that this is essentially a fresh start for the Cadets, it just seems like it would have been wise to take every possible precaution to make sure they didn't run into anything that could be deemed a conflict of interest or otherwise compromising. Perhaps they did, and there's appropriate precautions included in the by-laws or other governing documents for the new organization. I just don't want to see this rare opportunity of a fresh start get bogged down by something completely preventable.
  2. Maybe I'm overthinking things, but it seems to be an interesting choice having Denise Bonfiglio serving as CEO, Corps Director and sitting on the Board of Directors in a director position. I know that's how corps were traditionally structured for years, but DCI has been pushing corps to establish truly independent boards in recent years. It's outlined right in their Participation Level Guidelines that World Class organizations must have an "Independent Board defined by good governance practices". Having the CEO/director sitting on the board opens the door for there to be a conflict of interest when it comes time for the the board to discuss a multitude of issues. It also goes against best practices published by Board Source (which is one of the sources DCI uses to establish good governance practices) and other organizations that guide the formation/operation of non-profits.
  3. Might have been Canadian Brass? I believe they did a concert series with them as part of their Brass Theater program.
  4. Believe it or not, Jackson wasn't all that small (capacity = 60,492). Byrd Stadium in 2000 was the smallest, with capacity at the time that was only around 48,055. Memorial Stadium in Bloomington was also relatively small (49,255 in 2008). Interesting enough, both of those stadiums hosted the championships as a result of problems with the venue originally chosen for that year.
  5. The wishy washy nature of his answer regarding the minimum membership numbers is interesting. If you go back to the Encorps situation, one of the issues they raised was the lack of a clear answer on the minimum membership number. The answer given in this video, even if unintentional, would seem to validate that the answer is somewhat unclear. Sure... it might be splitting hairs... but for a group to move forward with unclear guidelines could potentially be a risky proposition on their part.
  6. It was proposed by Kathy Black, Chair of the DCI Board of Directors.
  7. The approval process does run much later into the spring than I was aware of until I starting diving into some of the policy and procedure stuff. I think the assumption is that a corps should have all of their ducks in a row and be in good communication with DCI prior to the evaluation process beginning, and then remain in good communication with DCI throughout the winter/early spring months as the evaluation is being conducted. If they're going to fail the evaluation, it's likely going to be for a reason that they've already been made aware of and had an opportunity to correct.
  8. I don't believe that they're officially approved yet. Per the DCI Policy & Procedures Manual - part of the evaluation process would include an onsite visit by a DCI representative. That onsite visit must occur during a corps rehearsal/camp for the upcoming season. Since they're still a week away from their first audition camp of the season, that would mean that an onsite visit most likely wouldn't have happened yet. In addition, the manual indicates that final results of the evaluation are typically delivered via phone conference in late April once all evaluations are processed/completed. Also from the manual - Prior to evaluations being completed, corps can request show performance dates, but they won't actually be assigned show slots until the evaluation has been processed and approved. So that's why they're being shown on the DCI schedule, but those dates would be tentative pending approval.
  9. Just a quick glance at some of the top corps websites does reveal that some have email addresses publicly posted. Academy literally has an email address posted for almost the entire board, while others (like BD) use individual contact forms for certain staff members. And while I don't see anything on most pages directing people to contact the Executive Director of most corps, I would also be concerned if they are blindly filtering away message from prospective member's parents, sponsors, donors, volunteers and anyone else that has a genuine reason or need to contact the corps.
  10. The voting membership of Open Class has to vote on any changes within the Open Class Operating Policies section of the manual. The presumption would be that this would happen at their next meeting, but it does leave conflicting information in place in the meanwhile. Since corps in good standing have to be in compliance with all applicable policies, the old information left behind isn't super critical as they would already be compliant with this 30 member rule if they're in compliance with the new 55 member rule. Similar conflicts happen in laws/statutes all the time where more stringent laws are passed, but the old weaker laws are left in place. People are held to the more stringent law/standard.
  11. While the Rules Manual is seemingly clear regarding the membership numbers, it's not a standalone document governing DCI. It's simply one appendix within the much larger Policy & Procedure Manual that guides the organization's governance, membership, compliance, tour and events, competition, operations, and much more. If you look at the P&P manual as a whole, it has multiple applicable sections/appendixes that have to be adhered to be each corps in order for them to remain in good standing with DCI. The bulk of that manual is established, maintained and enforced by the Board of Directors. When questions about roles/authority come into play, I typically look to the by-laws of an organization for guidance. In almost every circumstance, the by-laws of an organization supersede any other lower level policy, procedure, document that is put in place. That allows a Board of Directors to maintain control/direction of an organization through whatever challenges/adversity it might face. In this case, the by-laws give the Board of Directors a lot of power/control over the operations DCI, but also reserve a couple areas for control by the membership. Specifically, the defining of adjudicating and competitive attributes is reserved for the membership control. That's where the rules congress & rules change process comes into play. Per the by-laws and subsequent policies, competitive rules changes must be approved by a majority vote of the membership after fulfilling the necessary proposal process. The by-laws also indicate that the final responsibility/authority for all other business operations and management of DCI rest on the shoulders of the Board of Directors. That includes establishing, implementing and enforcing standards and requirements necessary to obtain and maintain good standing as a member or participant in DCI activities. In this particular case, they've chosen to now include minimum membership numbers as one of the standards/requirements that will be reviewed when considering if a corps is in good standing for membership/participation in DCI events. Based on the by-laws (which again supersede any lower level policy), this is well within their rights. Add on the fact that this was worked on by two committees comprised of members of the DCI activity (also covered under the by-laws), and the implementation of the minimum member policy appears to be completely above board. Admittedly, the new policy does create some conflict with other sections of the Policy & Procedure Manual where different membership numbers are shown. Perhaps those will be update/clarified down the road. Or perhaps the rules for competition won't be updated, which would allow a corps to march less than 55 members in competition without penalty (ex. in the event of illness/injury). However, to qualify on an administrative level for membership/participation in the upcoming season, the organization must show in good faith the intent to have 55+ members for the upcoming season before being added to the schedule. Last, if the voting membership of DCI doesn't like a policy that is put in place by the Board of Directors, there are remedies for that in the by-laws as well (ex. vote for removal).
  12. All competitive rule changes must go through the process outlined in the bylaws. The key is... this isn't a competitive rule. While it most certainly could have an impact on the competitive nature of the activity, this would fall under the policies & procedures necessary to be a member/participant in DCI. Establishing those policies/procedures falls under the scope of the Board of Directors: Based upon that, plus the section in the policy & procedure manual that grants the board the right to establish new/revised policies & procedures necessary, there really wasn't a need for this matter to go to the January meeting for a vote. If the committees did their job when drafting the recommended new polices for the Board of Directors, the new policies should represent the vast majority of the organizations that are members/participants in DCI. Now that said, it's my opinion that DCI should have put out some type of communication indicating that the Policy & Procedures manual had been updated, and been available to clarify any changes if necessary.
  13. I don't believe the institution of minimum member limits was really a secret. I had been hearing rumblings of it for several years from folks working with corps, both at the WC and OC level. That would seem to coincide with the release of 2017 Strategic Plan that you brought up back in September. That plan outlines the process in which these new rules were going to be worked on by committees, and then approved by the DCI Board of Directors for the 2020 season. As for whether this needed to go in front of the full membership - there is a section in the Policies & Procedures manual that gives the DCI Board of Directors the right to waive the policy submission process in order to expedite the establishment of new and/or revised policies. Given the fact that these new/revised membership policies were worked on by two separate committees (which were supposed to solicit input from the member organizations), they may have opted to take this route as that's basically what is suggested in the strategic plan.
  14. There were screenshots of an email leaked prior to the official announcement that indicated that DCI not allowing Encorps to travel to Marion, IN for Open Class Championships and/or Indy for DCI Prelims was not fair, and one of the reasons for folding. The reason given in that email was that they "hadn't traveled before" or something to that effect. It didn't imply that the membership numbers from last year were an issue.
  15. Would the better alternative be to hold camps, collect fees, learn a full show and then fold one day before the first show when they only have 53 contracted members? My understanding is they asked DCI for clarification on what would happen if they fell short of the 55 member limit. Would they be barred from competition, be fined or face or other sanctions? There wasn't a clear answer provided by DCI, and the other Open Class corps they inquired with didn't know either. Combine that with the fact that it could potentially be difficult to recruit 55+ members for a 4 show season with no championships... and I can see why they decided to pull the plug now.
  16. The last time it was explained to me, Open Class corps do receive an appearance fee during the first part of the season where they appear at shows with World Class corps. They do not receive an appearance fee when they split and do the Open Class tour the second half of the season.
  17. The "gotcha" that I see is the callback. Plus an additional $125 if you get a callback to re-audition at the December camp. So the question is... how many contracts will be offered after the first round of auditions... and how many people will be invited to an additional $125 camp in December?
  18. I get the allure of trying to funnel all of the revenue direct to DCI. However, I wonder if they can truly pull off hosting shows around the country without the involvement of some of the groups currently hosting/running shows. Even with a reduced slate of shows, it still takes a local presence & herd of volunteers to make a show a success. Simple things like access to stadiums and other community assets often times are a result of established connections made through the local host. Not to mention, some of those groups have been hosting shows for decades. I can't imagine them being thrilled with the idea of losing out on their fundraising/revenue stream. Example - July 3rd show in Cedarburg, WI:
  19. Perhaps George Bonfiglio hasn't been nominated for one reason or another? It looks like anyone can submit a candidate: 1. NOMINATION Any interested person may submit a candidate for World Drum Corps Hall of Fame membership consideration by completing a Nomination Form* on the World Drum Corps Hall of Fame website and obtaining the candidates confirmation. * Forms are available online and must be submitted online by January 15th to be considered for that calendar year. Once submitted, applications remain active and do not need to be re-submitted annually.
  20. The precedent is there in other sports/activities to keep people in the Hall of Fame despite legal issues that later ensued. One perfect example is O.J. Simpson. He remains in the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite all that has happened after his playing days were over. In that particular case, it was stated that "on field" achievements and/or contributions were the only factors that are taken into consideration with respect to membership in the Hall of Fame. Another example is Michael Jackson. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has refused to remove him based on similar reasoning. They indicated that his excellence in music and impact on rock and roll merit him being in the Hall of Fame. Given the significant contributions/effects that George Hopkins had on the drum & bugle corps activity, they could rather easily justify him remaining in the Hall of Fame just by following the logic used in the high profile examples listed above.
  21. The important thing to understand is that the stream you're watching isn't a direct pipe from Flo to your home. It runs through a multitude of different networks & providers through various peering agreements. Depending on your ISP, it could be a relatively short/direct path... or it could be a completely roundabout path with many hops. At any point on that path, a slowdown can occur that would effect your streaming experience. That's in part why some end users have flawless streaming experiences, while others have freezes every show. Large streaming providers like Netflix & Youtube typically work with ISPs (or pay) to ensure that their streams have a pathway of least resistance with more than adequate bandwidth. They also have fall backs in place that allow them to re-route around problems & slowdowns. While Flo as a streaming provider is growing in size with the addition of more sports coverage, it's definitely not in the same class as those other streaming providers at this point. That's not saying that they shouldn't be working proactively to provide a better streaming experience, but it is acknowledging the fact that some factors may not be in their immediate control.
  22. Unfortunately, I have seen several different versions of that statement today ("die mad boomers") across Facebook, Reddit and other platforms. I understand the sentiment behind it, but it's doing absolutely nothing to bridge the gap between the different viewpoints/generations. In fact, it's actually turned a couple people off today that had approached the situation with an open mind. In an activity that is often reliant on donations, it seems odd to target the "boomers" that control roughly 70% of the disposable income in the United States.
  23. The greater emphasis on member safety & security has definitely played a role in how volunteers are utilized. Some corps have struggled internally with how to balance those key areas with the need/desire/openness of having people drop in & help for a couple hours or even a couple days. In many cases, it's not practical for grandma & grandpa that live near a random show on tour to go through the necessary screening to be able to help with one or two meals before the corps moves on to the next stop. At the same time, not putting them through that screening leaves the corps at risk on multiple levels. It's easier in many cases to just politely decline their help. Doing so is not nefarious by any means. It's exactly what many people in the activity have been asking for.
  24. If they engaged in any type of "commerce" in the state of Massachusetts, then it could potentially be an issue. That includes performing in a show/concert, participating in a parade, or any other business function which could be considered a conflict with what the original 27th Lancers declared on their trademark registration. Even selling souvenirs/merchandise through an online store to a customer in Massachusetts could potentially be considered "commerce" based on many of the new tax laws that require out-of-state merchants to collect & pay sales tax as if they had a brick & mortar presence in each state. Given that thought process, a court order would likely stop them from using the name in within Massachusetts. If the new organization opted not to appear in that state, and simply chose not to sell merchandise to customers in that state, they could probably skirt local trademark registration. Would it be worth it though?
  25. To add to this, state trademark registration only protects your trademark in the state where you register it. If a group wanted to incorporate a drum corps (or similar type organization) in Massachusetts using the "27th Lancers" name, they most likely would not be able to do it. There are two trademark registrations in Massachusetts that would in theory prevent them from doing so; "27TH LANCERS DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS" and "27TH LANCERS DRUM AND BUGLE CORPS INC.". I'm guessing that's what may have happened with the alumni corps. However, if a group wanted to register the organization and trademark in any other state, they most likely would be able to do so without much difficulty. They could potentially even register the trademark with the USPTO as there wouldn't be any competing marks on file at the time of their application. The Bonfiglio's could oppose the registration and claim ownership of the trademark based on first use, but that route isn't always a guaranteed win. One other factor to consider would be "abandonment". Non-use of a trademark for three consecutive years is considered abandonment unless proven otherwise. If the drum & bugle corps aspect of the 27th Lancers has not been active in the past couple years... there could be an argument that any right to the trademark (whether registered or not) has been abandoned based upon non-use.