I just heard about how Mr. Gelman basically screwed the men's sabre program. If you don't know about it yet, the summary is:
- top 4 in the national rankings get some money (1000 or 2000 USD) per month
- in order to receive the money, they must sign a contract stating, among other things, that they will attend at least 9 world cups (which are fully covered by the USFA)
I can't believe people let him get away with this. It's surely going to water down the quality of US sabre fencers. Those top 4 guys are going to stay in the top 4, unless a fencer below them can afford to go to ALL the world cups (assuming he won't fail out of school for doing so).
I mean, you can just be a decent fencer, and out of those 9 world cups, you can make 4 top 64 results and still ensure that you'll stay in the top 4. Mr. Gelman's not pushing for quality here.
There are a ton of alternatives, one of which is to sponsor the top 8 to go to 4 or 5 world cups each -- you know, expand the field of FIE-experienced fencers and offer some competition within the top 8, some incentive for the guys to step over each other.
I already know some quality fencers, like Adam Crompton, are a little discouraged. Hell, Tim Hagamen and Alex Krul weren't even at the Nationals -- don't know if it's a coincidence or a sign of things to come.
Anyway, I hope this is the bleekest possible view on the matter and that things will actually be a lot better. The US was finally picking up steam in sabre; I'd hate to see it fizzle because of one man's poor decisions.