From the PDGA website:
Applause, cheers, boos, catcalls from the usual suspects, race to be the first person to post your "Don't confuse me with facts, my mind's made up," Opinions on Am vs Pro cash vs merch comments.
But before you do that, please set aside your heartfelt opinion for a few minutes and actually use the internet.
Google a few things:
Amateurism in sports.
History of amateurism in Olympic Games.
History of amateurism in sports.
(this one in particular should be enlightening, especially in the context of most "Big money" sports early vehemence in promoting amateurism so as to exclude more competition in the pro divisions. Once you do some reading into the idea and aim of "True Amateurism you may have an entirely different opinion then you thought you had.. I know I did.)
History of professional sports
, with particular attention to minor league baseball and farm league hockey.
Semi-pro and Pro-am sports.
World series of poker
(for comparision of another game that has experienced massive growth in a short time through adapting a pro-am model in another mostly self funded format.)
Promotions in sports
Sponsership in sports.
Demographics of PGA golf, PGA tour, PGA tour cards, PGA membership requirements.
(The PGA protects itself from wannabes so well that you can't even get a straight answer on costs and requirements to join on its own website.)
Demographics of the PDGA, in particular:
Take particular note of the fact that out of 91 men and 16 women only 27 of them made even 10k last year, and whether or not you'd consider that, "Making a living."
Now think about Disc golf itself. Think about the last few tournaments you played who the Pro players were, how many of them were "Touring pros," or locals from league and semi locals who make a handful of tournaments every year and have lives and day jobs.
Were most of them 1000 rated players or even 970+ or were the ratings all over the place since anyone can be a "Pro" just by paying an extra $25 a year.
Now read the article again and think about it for a bit.
Now let's work on putting it all in context:
Whether or not you agree on the idea for worlds itself let's take a look at America and how often we have the "Slippery slope" cliche tossed around. Every time a decision is made that effects a group people always say, "It's a slippery slope," Yet once a ball gets rolling it's pretty much unstoppable no matter how much people argue about it. In politics there's often no opposing view to even vote for anymore, even if half the people worried about the consequences down the road even got off their asses and tried to do something about it.
We went from talking about how people shouldn't do unhealthy things because it effects other people too to banning soft drinks larget then 16 ounces in New York City to now the FDA talking about restrictions on energy drinks because they're "Dangerous," and the USDA actively trying to influence sugar prices so less poor people will be able to afford to eat it. Employees up in arms because now companies are forcing them to provide details on everything from medical family histories to health habits and blood sugar counts, while everyone said "Oh, they won't carry it that far." The state of New York alone passed over 16,000 new laws last year, because the ruling body is obviously so much better equipped to make these decisions for us we cannot be possibly be trusted to make them on our own. Life would be terrible without so many laws. Or so the argument goes. Everything is about ideals and not reality, and done in the name of "The public good."
A few weeks ago this whole debate got started up again over Dynamics decision on how to run Am worlds this year and we've already gone from that to a statement by the PDGA on how this is the new model for the future, all by unanimous decision by the PDGA board, with, as far as I can tell, no input from the membership itself. Which is alot like how the whole cash-vs-merch system got started in the first place. That system worked, disc golf needed it to expand in the early days, but the the ideal of "True Amateurism" was declining even back when the PDGA was promoting it as the reason for the system. It sounded good,it sounded professional, most people knew nothing more then the term itself, and most people would rather just be out playing instead of actually being involved. Just like the smoking ban at majors sounded good, it looks "Professional" and was heavily politically correct. The fact that the PDGA used it as a blanket to encompass E cigs and chewing tobacco even though those have nothing to do with anyone elses health or well being on the course shows clearly that it was nothing but that, a PC nanny state image decision that had nothing to do with reality. All of those products are perfectly legal, E cigs don't even contain tobacco (or even nicotene in some) and chewing tobacco has no secondhand smoke issues so do not effect anyone else but the individual. At least they took a vote on it, although I have no idea if all of those products were covered in the voting survey.
Today it's worlds, what's tomorrow, all NT's? All A tiers? All tournaments period? (Trophy only, not smoking, was merely using the smoking policy as an example.)
True amateurism is an ideal, one that is pretty much past its time in the 21st century, it looks great on paper and sounds great talking about it, but an ideal nonetheless. True Amateurism also cannot exist without "True professionalism." Take a close look at the earnings of the pro tour and pro player demographics.
Pro-Am is the reality in many sports today and should be the model disc golf should be using, one that is based in facts and money and the real world of sponsership and getting players to join tournaments. It's also the current format for most of today's DG leagues, including PDGA sanctioned ones.
The fact that the board decision was unanimous is discouraging, it shows the PDGA board is apparantly mired down in too much idealism and image and not enough reality. Disc Golf continues to expand despite that principle, not because of it. Unlike American politics disc golf is not so mired in bureaucracy yet that nothing can be done about it though, we're still a small enough body that members can educate themselves and our board members, and large enough to find others to vote for if they can't be persueded to change their opinion. Though like American politics nothing will change unless people care and are willing to face facts and voice them instead of opinions.
If all that fails (like politics today) another option is to run unsanctioned "cash only" tournaments for all divisions. People will come, just like they do for league.. which are essentially the exact same thing on a local weekly scale. There's one reason there are alot more league players then PDGA players.
A last example in closing:
Ideal: Disc Golf should be on TV, there should be millions of dollars in sponserships and networks should be fighting over covering the memorial.
Of course no one's going to disagree with that, everyone's been dreaming about it since the first worlds.
Fact: Watching the memorial live coverage checking several times throughout the most "Live viewers" I saw at any one time was 112.
Dreams are exciting, reality is what it is.
Final Disclaimer: This is not about having an issue with how Dynamic Discs decided to run Am Worlds, it's an issue about the PDGA endorsing it as THE model for the future. And how far that will extend down the line given time.