Date: Apr 30, 2017
Dear Stackers, Parents and Coaches,
As many of you know, I tried to enforce a longstanding WSSA rule about logo-less cups at the 2017 World Championships in Taiwan. The rule has not been consistently enforced lately and my choice to do so there was a mistake - I should have realized that it was too late to enforce the rule at that event without advance notice. I had not specifically planned to enforce the rule, I just saw stackers with blank cups getting ready to compete and asked them to use different cups. This quickly got out of hand as it became clear that too many stackers at that event were using blank cups. In the end we proceeded without enforcing the rule and in hindsight, if we wanted to begin enforcing this rule we should have let everyone know weeks ahead of time so stackers had time to prepare. I apologize to the handful of stackers and families that were negatively affected by me asking them to use different cups on Saturday morning.
The reason we have a rule about cup logos is pretty simple - the WSSA only exists because the company Speed Stacks provides generous sponsorships for us to put on tournaments and provide video review and record keeping services. In exchange for its sponsorship of the sport, Speed Stacks asks that it’s equipment be used exclusively and that the logos on that equipment are clearly displayed. This is a reasonable request and is very much in line with how sponsorships work in most other sports. Speed Stacks wants to make sure that when people who don’t know anything about our sport see a photo or video of someone stacking, that they recognize the Speed Stacks brand on those cups. That ensures that new stackers get good quality equipment instead of mistakenly buying cheap knock off cups.
The very nature of our sport involves constant rubbing, hand sweat, friction and heat, all of which eventually wear the printing off of cups. Speed Stacks has made many improvements in printing durability over the years, and today’s cups are significantly more durable than in the past, but stackers who use their cups for hours every day will eventually wear the printing off. Compounding the problem is the fact that some stackers prefer the feel of “worn in” cups that often have little or no printing left on them. Although the overall number of stackers using logo-less cups is small, many top stackers seem to be doing it and these are the stackers most seen in videos by the public. It doesn’t make any sense for Speed Stacks to continue sponsoring events and sending National Teams to attend the World Championships every year if the winners of those events are using blank cups in the photos and videos that get published afterward.
The WSSA is very thankful for the sponsorships provided by Speed Stacks and most stacking families are probably not aware that the hundreds of WSSA tournaments offered every year would not happen without it. To honor our end of the bargain, just as other major sports do, we need to begin enforcing the rule requiring that our sponsors logos are present and in good shape on the equipment being used. And so effective July 1, 2017 all WSSA recognized and sanctioned tournaments will begin enforcing this rule, both at the events themselves and in subsequent video review. To help stackers understand the limits of what is allowed, the WSSA website will show examples of what is acceptable and not acceptable for the condition of the printing on the cups. In general, if the printing on cups is becoming worn then stackers should not use those cups in competition. Unlike in the past, distinctions will no longer be made about how the printing becomes worn – only that cups with worn logos may no longer be used for WSSA competition. This rule will apply to all cups in a set. The WSSA rulebook will also be updated to clarify this position.
I realize that some stackers and families will not welcome the fact that we are going to resume enforcement of this rule but I think most families will understand that this is the way our sport gets funded and that it is similar to how other sports work. For families who are concerned that this policy might cause a financial hardship, we will make sure that there is always a set of compliant cups that stackers can use at events if needed. In reality, the equipment for our sport is quite inexpensive and even buying a couple sets of cups a year is much less expensive than the equipment required for most other sports.
Thanks in advance for your understanding and support in helping keep our sport accessible for everyone.
CEO, World Sport Stacking Association