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The American Cricket Federation (ACF) continued to make strides with its membership outreach effort a week after it signed up the Commonwealth Cricket League of New York.
Three new hard ball leagues joined this week from three different parts of the United States. First to join this week was the Midwest Cricket Tournament, a league comprising thirty teams spread across Cleveland, Columbus, Akron, Dayton, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Louisville, Lexington, Frankfort and Nashville.
The 19-team Pittsburgh Cricket Association joined on Tuesday.
On Friday, ACF announced the joining of Mid-Atlantic Cricket Conference which has sixteen teams based in the Tidewater, Roanoke, Blacksburg, Richmond and Charlottesville.
While this week's ACF recruits are not departures from the USACA camp, at least two leagues that are in the pipeline for next week are former USACA leagues.
According to DreamCricket.com sources, USACA member leagues are having a difficult time convincing their clubs to pay the increased USACA dues for 2014. USACA hiked its per-team fee from $100 to $200. As such, the USACA move is a well-intentioned one that is designed to improve financial health of the regions. However, leagues are struggling to convince their member clubs that the additional tax will result in tangible benefits for their members. The job of persuading the club members has been especially challenging for leagues that had paid their dues in 2010, only to get disqualified by USACA.
Under the new fee structure, a league with 40 clubs must now pay USACA $12,000 in membership dues and insurance fees. $8,000 of that is the cost of USACA membership compared to $4,000 in 2013. In comparison, membership cost for ACF is just $500 per league. From a club's standpoint, the fees paid to a national body are in addition to ongoing costs such as ground usage fees, umpiring, ongoing maintenance, equipment and other costs that are all rising. USACA's less than stellar record has not helped matters.
Momentum is clearly on ACF's side at the moment. The organization already is thought to have more hardball league members and more members overall than USACA, a fact that ICC will find difficult to ignore as it considers ACF's petition to be bestowed the status of the national governing body.