Message to the Membership on Men’s Youth Lightweight Classification

Princeton, NJ – 12/11/17 update: The USRowing board of directors had a special meeting on Sunday, December 10, for the specific purpose of revisiting last week’s board action on the rule change for 2018 to the weight limit for the men’s junior lightweight classification.  The meeting was by conference call, and included several invited guests from the gROWth team as well as other USRowing members.  

As you might know, at the board meeting on Sunday December 3, the board passed a motion to change the weight limit in the Rules of Rowing from 150 pounds to 160 poundsAt that board meeting, the board also passed a motion to establish a task force to study men’s and women’s junior lightweight rowing. The task force vote was not a subject of the special meeting and that motion remains in place. Patrick McNerney, the CEO, expects to announce the membership of Junior Lightweight Task Force before year-end. Some individuals have already volunteered to serve on the task force; if you are interested, please contact Patrick

At this special meeting, the board voted unanimously to rescind last week’s action increasing this weight limit. The weight limit for men’s junior lightweight rowing will remain at 150 pounds for 2018. Among the considerations for the board’ decision was the impact to rowing teams to such a change in weight limit midway through their rowing year. The board has also agreed to examine its process for evaluating rule changes and the timing of implementing such changes. All other rule changes for 2018 voted on by the board at last week’s board meeting will go into effect January 1, 2018. 

The questions about weight limits for both men and women junior lightweights will be reconsidered once the task force studies the issue and reports back to the board, which is planned for mid-2018.


12/7/17 – At last weekend’s board of directors meeting, the board voted to create a task force to study issues relating to the men’s lightweight classification in youth rowing.  The board directed the CEO to promptly recommend task force members and, once constituted, to have the task force prepare an initial report for the board’s consideration with a goal of the board considering and acting on a final report prior to the 2018/19 academic year.  The issues to be studied include, but are not necessarily limited to, whether the Rules of Rowing should continue to recognize a lightweight classification for youth rowing crews and, if so, the appropriate weight limitations for that classification.

The board also voted to approve a proposed rule change for 2018, which would increase the weight limit for the men’s youth lightweight classification from 150 lbs. to 160 lbs.  The board received comments on this issue from some members prior to the vote and after the vote, including while the meeting was still in progress plus many in the past week.

In light of these additional comments, the board has decided to revisit this rule change, including a detailed review of all comments received on this proposed rule change both during the official notice and comment period, during last weekend’s meeting, and the many comments received since the board meeting. The board continues to encourage any member who has not yet made a comment on the proposed rule change, or who wishes to make an additional comment, to do so before Friday, December 8th. The board will review these comments throughout this week and hold a teleconference board meeting at 10:00a ET on  Sunday, December 10, to reconsider such a rule change. This will be an open meeting so interested parties are invited to call in using the following options –

The board recognizes that the task force’s recommendations will have an impact on the weight limit for men’s youth lightweight crews, and any rule change or retention of current weight limits could be short-lived.

As always, members are encouraged to reach out to board members to express their opinions on this issue. We would like to express our sincere thanks to all who have taken the time to express their opinions on this very important matter. It is very much appreciated.

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