In a phone call with the NWBA’s Executive Director Randy Schubert earlier tonight, he said that the Facebook post to the NWBA Division III account was the first time that he had heard complaints about problems with classification implementation. According to Schubert, he has not received any contact from Division III representatives about classification and a desire to discuss this issue with him. He highlighted that the Executive Committee exists to serve its members, and all members are very much encouraged throughout the system to discuss how it can be improved.
Schubert also said that overall, the alignment of the NWBA’s classification with the international system used by the International Wheelchair Basketball Federation (IWBF) is a good thing because it provided more opportunities for lower point players to play as previously, they might find themselves classified a 2 when using the IWBF system they may be classified as a 1.5 point player. He stressed that there were a lot of training materials available about classification that people can access because of the system’s widespread usage around the globe.
Any classification issues that came up during competitions were almost certainly an issue of lack of training of volunteers at the scoring tables. Referees are not in charge of keeping track of the number of points on the floor; that is a duty of scorers. At the same time, Schubert said that referees should be powwowing with the scorer table to make sure this issue is being handled correctly. He also said that coaches should have other teams rosters and be counting point totals for the other team on the floor if they have concerns.
Because of the that occurred change last year, the NWBA is planning to provide a large amount of classification opportunities at the upcoming national championships. They will be bringing in international classifiers, including ones from Canada and Europe, to assist American classifiers during the competition. This will assist in improving classification compliance for next season, and assist in player education.
Classification is sure to come up at the national meeting. Schubert said it would almost certainly come up in the context of improving coach, player, official and organizer education. It would not involve a discussion of scrapping the system, or revising the classification system. At last year’s national meeting, a point was made that any new system being implemented would have some bumps on the road and not be perfect. They said implementation issues were to be expected. The best way to deal with this was through educating stakeholders, and bringing people into the new system.
The NWBA is one of the biggest wheelchair basketball associations in the world, with over 2,300 members across all levels from junior players and local clubs to supporting elite players.