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By Venu Palaparthi
The 2012 USACA tax filing, which was published February 10, 2014, tells you an all too familiar story. Things did not go too well for USACA in 2012 - an abundance of lawsuits, loss of membership and a continued down-trend in revenues as licensing revenue failed to materialize.
To be sure, USACA allowed itself some exuberance at the top of the tax filing by claiming that it had an estimated 1000 volunteers in 2012, a number that was four times what was reported in 2010 (and flat from 2011).
Indeed, the words 'spectacular regression' come to mind when you review the numbers contained in the 2012 tax filing. Total revenue of $378K in 2012 was 41% lower when compared to the 2011 revenue of $649K. Membership revenue experienced the sharpest decline, falling by 46% from the 2011 high of $128K owing mainly to the pre-election disqualification of 32 fee-paying members at the start of 2012.
In 2011, USACA had $1.87 Million in grants payable, money that organization is said to have borrowed from Top Bloom and Insite in anticipation of future licensing revenue. In its 2012 tax filing, USACA reported that the grants payable amount had risen to roughly $2.62 Million. There was no break-down accompanying that number.
In its independent audit report for 2011, USACA's auditor PKF O'Connor Davies noted that USACA "has suffered recurring excesses of expenditures over revenues and has a deficiency in net assets of $1,899,368 as of December 31, 2011." According to the audit report: "These factors raise substantial doubt about the Organization's ability to continue as a going concern."
If things were bad enough in 2011 in the auditor's mind, USACA's overall financial health continued to deteriorate during 2012. Its deficiency of net assets stood at $3.02 Million at the end of 2012.
The auditor noted in the 2011 report that USACA's ability to pay down its debt depended on ongoing ICC funding and the licensing funds to be received from the commercial entity Cricket Holdings America LLC.
Source: USACA Tax Filings
While no licensing funds were received during 2012, ICC continued to provide funding to USACA, contributing well over 75% of USACA's revenue during 2012. Sponsorships and other grant revenue from non-ICC sources was negligible during 2012. Thus, USACA's near complete dependence on ICC's generosity continued some two years after USACA President Gladstone Dainty claimed ahead of the 2010 AGM - "We have succesfully overcoming some of our obstacles by improving our cash flow problems” and "we are exploring new revenue generating avenues and the future seems very bright.”
USACA's total 2012 spend of roughly $1.5 Million was nearly 4 times its revenue of $378K for the year. It should surprise nobody that roughly $630K of USACA's expenses (roughly 40% of the total) was on account of its legal battles. During 2012, USACA was defending itself in several lawsuits including those by Ram Varadarajan, NACL and Kenwyn Williams.
In fact, its legal expenses were some five times higher than the $115K that it spent on domestic tournaments and on domestic development of cricket. Five tournaments were cancelled during 2012 and only one domestic 'tournament,' an event that was described as the East-West 'shuffle' comprising a 50-over match and a trial T20, was held that year.
If you thought 2012 was an aberration and better times were in store, think again. By all accounts, 2013 appears to have followed along these familiar plot lines in the face of disinterested membership, absence of dividends from commercial deals, and continuing lawsuits. An email sent to USACA Treasurer seeking his comments on whether the situation improved (or worsened) during 2013 did not receive a comment.
To end this piece on a positive note, the outlook for 2014 is slightly better. Some of USACA's legal woes appear to have been resolved. Also, without getting wildly optimistic, my guess is that USACA's newest initiative seeking supporter and junior members at the $50 level will improve the situation on the membership revenue front, even if only slightly. There is also a definite buzz surrounding the relaunch of the national championships.
You know what they say about hitting rock-bottom, that you can only go up from there. Faced with a $3M deficit, USACA must surely be hoping for such a rebound.