i) Composition and Responsibilities
The Commission is composed of twelve (12) to sixteen (16) members, each of whom normally serves a term of four (4) years. The terms of the entire Commission are staggered in four (4) groups, each identified by the final year of its term so that in each year the terms of three (3) or four (4) members expire. The President of the USFA nominates candidates to fill vacancies and submits them for approval by the board of Directors, whose approval is required. If necessary, the President of the USFA will nominate members to fill vacancies which occur due to a term that is not completed. Theses nomination must also be approved by the Board of Directors. In addition, any USFA member who is a member of the FIE Commission d’Arbitrage is automatically a member of the Fencing Officials Commission (FOC). A member of the USFA Technical Committee will be appointed annually by the President of the USFA to serve ex oficio on the commission so as to provide expert opinion on technical matters. The FOIC members will annually elect a chair or co-chairs from among themselves. The Commission members, due to the nature of their duties, are expected to hold a valid current FIE referee license of one of the highest USFA domestic classifications.
The Commission has responsibility for:
ii) Referee Classifications
Ten domestic classification (10, the lowest, thorough 1, the highest) and the international (FIE) classifications are recognized by the USFA. Classes 10 and 9 are awarded at the divisional level with written and practical conducted by a division-designated examiner. The written portion of the Classes 10 and 9 examination will consist of 25 questions. Classes 8,7 and 6 examination will consist of 50- questions. Classes 5 and 4 are awarded at the national level with the written portion of the examination administered by a Commission-designated examiners with at least one of the being a member of the Commission. The written examination for Classes 5 and 4 requires a $10 fee payable to the USFA. Classes 3, 2 and 1 are awarded by a vote of the Commission. The passing grade for all written examinations is 90%.
Examiners are to submit a copy of the written answer sheet and the practical evaluation form to the Commission’s Chair of the Ratings Committee for any members earning a referee classification. These documents are to be sent within fourteen (14) days of the examinations; examiners are to retain a copy of reports for one year. Examiners art to also give written notification of passing to any members at the time the examinations are passed.
The Ratings classifications are as follows:
All sectional and nationals referees rated must attend a Commission-approved seminar every year. Candidates for a sectional or national rating may take the written examination whenever one can be arranged with an examiner, but they must attend a Commission-approved seminar prior to taking the practical examination.
The Commission publishes periodically (at least annually) a list of nationally and internationally rated referees and is responsible for maintaining the quality of the list. Referees’ classifications may be changed by the Commission. Classifications of referees will be lowered automatically one level if the referees of not referee at their rated level for a period of two years. After two more years of not refereeing at their rated level, the referee classification will be removed. Lists of rated referees published by the Commission will indicate the most recent year of activity.
One must be a current member of the USFA to be retained on the list of referees. Referees who allow their memberships to lapse for more than one year will lose their ratings; to regain their ratings, they must retake the examinations.
In order to assist a candidate in obtaining a national classification, the Commission has established the following policy regarding examinations at national competitions. One must understand that the examination of referees may not be considered as the primary function of a national competition. Every effort will be made to allow for examinations at these competitions as long as they do not interfere with the proper conduct of the competition.
Only those candidates who have passed their Class 5 written examination may be considered to take the practical examination.
Only those Class 5 candidates who have submitted a request in writing to the Commission which has been endorsed (in writing) by the candidate’s division chair or by a Commission-approved Class 5 examiner in that weapon may be considered to take the practical examination. Such written notification must be received at least three weeks prior to the competition.
Only those recommended Class 5 candidates who present themselves to the commission representative thirty minutes prior to the start of the competition may be considered to take the practical examination.
Written examinations for Class 5 may be administered if a request in writing to the Commission. Such written notification must be received at least three weeks prior to the competition.
Nationally rated referees who wish to be observed for a possible increase in classification must send their request in writing to the Commission. Such written notification must be received at least three weeks prior to the competition. The referees must then present themselves to the Commission representative thirty minutes prior to the start of the competition, and they must be available to preside at least tow levels below their classification, (i.e. a referee with a 5, 4, or 3 classification must be present at the start of the competition; a referee with a 2 classification must be present at the 4 level of competition – the point in the competition that is a4 level will be determined by the Commission representative.)
The Commission representative may have to deny a properly presented request for an examination, at the discretion of the Commission representative, it would not be in the best interest of the competition (e.g. those who could act as examiners must be utilized as referees). Examinations, written or practical, may not in any way disrupt the competition.
The commission is the sole authority for the submission of candidates to the FIE for examination or removal as an international referee. A nationally rated referee who would like to be rated by the FIE would send the request, in writing, to the Commission. The Commission will notify the candidate if the request is approved an, if it is, when and where the candidate may take the examination. If the Commission is considering removal of a US referee on the FIE list due to inactivity, etc, the commission will notify that referee, in writing, that removal is being contemplated prior to any action being taken.