The American Water Ski Association's board of directors announced Aug. 1 that it has suspended AWSA member Dr. Jim Michaels from participation in competition for a period of six years, following an investigation into allegations of unsportsmanlike conduct at the 2005 Malibu Open, June 24-26 in Dousman, Wisconsin.
Photo by Bill Doster
Michaels is the owner of the Lake Lynn Louise site where the Malibu Open was held, and was a competitor in the Men's slalom event at the competition. He was disqualified from the tournament according to the rules of the American Water Ski Association (Rule 7.07 b), International Water Ski Federation (Rule 1.10) and World Water Ski Pros (Rule 1.13) after it was alleged that an underwater cable system was used to illegally narrow the slalom course buoys during Michaels' turn in the preliminary round of the tournament.
The AWSA board of directors at its annual summer board meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla., agreed to suspend Michaels' participation in competition for six years and is recommending to the USA Water Ski board of directors that his membership in USA Water Ski be suspended for the same period of time. The AWSA also stripped Michaels of all national slalom records in the Men 4 and Masters Men 55K divisions, and all scores will be removed from the AWSA performance database.
Through his public relations representative, Michaels admitted that he rigged the buoys at the Malibu Open and in previous tournaments where he set national records. “My competitive zeal got the better of me and clouded my judgment,” Michaels said in a prepared statement.
Photo by Bill Doster
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The AWSA is one of nine sport discipline organizations affiliated with USA Water Ski, the national governing body of organized water skiing in the United States.
Following the board's decision, Steve McDermeit, executive director of USA Water Ski, released the following statement: “The action taken by the AWSA Executive Committee and AWSA board of directors' shows that the AWSA and USA Water Ski have zero tolerance regarding acts of impropriety or unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of any of its members. This was an extremely unfortunate incident for all parties. But it was dealt with in a swift and fair manner. I commend the AWSA board of directors in following the policies and procedures of the organization's bylaws to insure that due justice occurred.”
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The AWSA has finally handed down their decision on the fate of Dr. Jim Michaels. Was this the right punishment for the offense?