ACS Supports UPA
by John Lewis
An Open Letter in Support of the UPA
Bravo to the UPA for standing up to the recent “BCA Resumes Control of Men’s Rankings, Communications” release!
The UPA – United States Professional Poolplayers Association, is an affiliate to the ACS – American CueSports Alliance. The ACS – a member-governed association – fully supports a pro men’s player union in the United States and their right to administer and govern their own affairs.
When issues arise that negatively affect the players, too often there’s a lack of activism. Regardless of –
– who is promoting a pro men’s event
– who claims to be a governing body
– who advertises themselves as the next savior of pool,
it is paramount that the professional pool players in the United States remain focused on their own union, whose sole purpose is to look after their interests.
In recent years, that has been the UPA. Some may criticize the organization for doing too little, but such critics should never lose sight of one vision – the UPA is “the men pro player’s thing” to which they can look to when outside forces make decisions that affect their future without including their “union” in the decision-making.
The Billiard Congress of America trade association should only be supported for what it is – a trade association that is necessary to the industry.
However, since 2004 when the BCA divested itself of its player programs, it has unfortunately insisted on continuing to adopt a governing body stance, with the also unfortunate backing of the world-governing body for the sport of pool, the WPA – World-Pool-Billiard Association.
The WPA is a credible world sports body, but even a credible body can make poor decisions. The WPA interference in United States pool growth by their continuing to recognize a trade association whose entire board of directors is trade people, is a black mark on the world-governing body. Unlike all the other confederation members of the WPA, the BCA is NOT a sports organization! It has no sports structure. If it walks like a trade association and quacks like a trade association…IT’S A TRADE ASSOCIATION! No amount of coaching from the WPA to be otherwise is going to change the BCA’s true profile.
The ‘Committee’ formed by the BCA of various Player Member organizations (which included the UPA) to somehow satisfy the WPA and to somehow address their complete lack of player membership, has shown itself to be the ‘window dressing’ of which it was suspected. In the United States, the women pros have a strong player’s union, and the WPBA serves that function very capably. But the men pro player’s in the United States should never lose sight of their best interest in supporting their own player’s union, and the UPA currently serves that purpose!
When the BCA announced a new ranking system that will affect the men pro players in the United States without consultation or input from representative players from their player’s union, the trade association showed its true colors.
Players in all member-governed associations should not support such actions. Let your voices be heard! Support the UPA on this issue and discourage the BCA trade association from any involvement in governing the sport.
Especially with the current overall weakness in the billiard industry, we need the BCA to fully focus on trade issues. The BCA should be working with and fully supporting Player Member organizations such as the UPA, instead of needlessly meddling with player issues that it is simply not organized or suited to responsibly handle.
John Lewis
Current ACS Executive Director
Lewis is the longest-tenured BCA employee (1991-2004) in the association’s history and a former board member of the WPA (1991-2007).