United States Powerlifting Association Dissolves Executive Committee in the Wake of Background Check Controversy

The United States Powerlifting Association (USPA) has been became involved in an online controversy that resulted in many statements and major changes in the federation.

As of January 20, 2023, USPA President Steve Denison posted a series of statements on the USPA’s official Instagram page. Another statement said that the USPA made a “reckless statement” in September 2020 about the background checks; the second acknowledged the members’ “concerns” about some of its activities in previous years; The third post has been published changes to leadership and protocol.

These announcements from Denison came days after information about allegations against several USPA conference directors and an Executive Board member surfaced on social media. The photos sparked a strong public backlash, leading some promoters to cancel their USPA memberships.

BarBend has reached out to the USPA for comment. They have not responded to our request.

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What is changing in the USPA?

In a January 24, 2023, post, the USPA, founded in 2010, outlined eight points of change in response to the controversy and backlash. They are as follows:

  1. The USPA Executive Committee has been dissolved and is in the process of being reorganized. It will be named the Board of Directors.
  2. President Steve Denison and Executive Vice President Mike Tronske have stepped down from the Executive Committee. They will not be part of the renewed Board of Directors.
  3. The new Board of Directors will have 13 members in total. It will include the following:
    • Eight members will be elected from eight different regions, selected from a pool of USPA conference directors and state chairs.
    • Four members of the judiciary at the level of State Attorneys or above.
    • One Chairman of the Board.
  4. Background checks will be conducted on all new Board members before they take up positions.
  5. Male and female advocates will be deployed to give a direct voice to USPA advocates.
  6. The USPA is investigating third-party companies to conduct comprehensive checks and plans to update the public with its findings next week.
  7. Meet Directors Chico Cloyne and Donnie Tudahl have been terminated from the USPA.
  8. USPA will establish a third party company/consultant to handle misconduct cases.
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Beginning on January 14, 2023, online bodybuilding coach John Dorsey (aka @goob_u2 on Instagram) posted a series of Instagram Reels highlighting people accused of crimes working with the USPA. It is not entirely clear when those people were hired and their status with the USPA.

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One of the conference managers mentioned in Dorsey’s videos, Chico Cloyne, was removed from the USPA Steering Committee shortly after Dorsey’s video went live; The USPA publicly acknowledged that he was “dismissed” from the federation.

Denison wrote the following in his first official statement, made six days after Dorsey posted his first video about the USPA:

“In 2020, when we began screening officers for sex-related crimes through the National Sex Offender Registry, we notified our community that we were conducting a screening. This was a careless statement. We are very sorry for misleading our community. Going forward, we will be using a third party for official testing. We see the need for better accountability and transparency with our community, and much needed changes will be made. You have my word. I’m really sorry.”

Since these videos surfaced, several active powerlifters and meet managers have criticized the USPA and called for change. Some promoters and associations have offered alternatives to those who are uncomfortable competing with the USPA.

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Brandon Smitley, owner of THIRST (Terre Haute Intensity Resistance and Sports Training), said he will waive the entry fee at his convention on April 1, 2023, for anyone who has already committed to a USPA tournament and can choose to raise anywhere.

The World Raw Powerlifting Federation (WRPF) has issued a statement announcing that it will conduct checks on new and existing officials. The organization has also lowered the price of membership from $69.99 to $49.99 (for an unspecified period), and will remove all fees for conference managers “to transfer the penalty to WRPF.”

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“You didn’t plan to have your whole world changed in recent days, and we wanted to offer a way to ease the financial burden if you choose to come here,” WRPF wrote in their statement. . “You should never question your safety or the integrity of the organization. We promise to always listen and do what it takes to grow and develop this amazing game. ”

This is an ongoing story, and BarBend will update this article as more information becomes available.

Featured image via sportpoint/Shutterstock.


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