The Other Olympics

He/She who makes the rules - wins!

For now, to publicize the hijacking of the  Western Wayne County Senior Olympics Volleyball Tournament by Northville Parks and Recreation Administrative staff Joe Barberio, Mary Barberio, and Charles Gabbeart.  They have turned what started out as a fun event for amateur senior players into a hard-core, elitist event for professionals and "ringers" from all over SE Michigan.  The event has shrunk from a max of about 12 teams six years ago, to only six this year.  The Parks and Rec administrators who make the rules also captain their own teams that compete with amateurs like myself for players, and guess who wins that battle!  Based on my conversation with this year's players ( I wasn't allowed to play because the Barberio team took at least one and probably two of the female players originally recruited by me.) it appears that a majority of the players now do not even reside in the western Wayne County communities that the event was designed to serve!  Due to a rule requiring  that at least half of each team be female, whereas only about 25-30% of day-to-day senior players are women, a large number of male players, including myself, were excluded from the event in my home community.  The conflict of interest that allows the Barberio's to dominate the event most years, and the gender discrimination against local male players, need to be publicized, so that they may be eliminated.

Over the longer haul, I also plan to use this blog to highlight other senior volleyball "Olympics", and provide info re deadlines, locations, and guidelines for tournament entry.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe Barberio August 31, 2012 at 05:30 PM
Once again this person is totally incorrect. The one woman he is talking about NEVER commited to playing with his team. We picked her up one month after the deadline because one of our women tore a ligament in her knee and couldnt play. The "second" woman says she doesnt know him. We approached him at the tournament because of this accusation but he ran out of the building. I am a youth coach but NPR has nothing to do with this tournament. Charles Gabbeart's team did win but he, nor any of us, makes the rules. We played by USVBA Coed volleyball rules.
Dan Biedzen September 06, 2012 at 04:15 AM
Hello Joe, thanks for taking the time to respond. A couple of the issues raised by your response deserve more study, but I have researched enough to comment on the supposedly sacrosanct "USVBA Coed Volleyball Rules". After over an hour of searching online for USA Volleyball Rules and USVBA Coed Rules, I found that the overall rules could not be found on any of the sites on pages 1 and 2 of the Google display. What is more, none of the written material provided as part of the WWCSO Registration brochure even mentioned the USVBA Co-ed Rules, let alone how to access them! The most revealing statement concerning Coed Volleyball came from eHow.com: "While not a sanctioned sport in international, college or high school play, many universities offer co-ed volleyball in intramural programs..." It further seems that you or whoever set the nets up didn't even know that "Nets are generally set at the women's volleyball height of 7ft, 4 1/8th inches"! The full listing of co-ed rules was contained in six paragraphs and took up less than one full page. There was nothing regarding having at least three, but no more than five women on the court at all times! This situation is looking more and more like "The Emperor's New Clothes" - the closer you look, the less you see.
Dan Biedzen September 23, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Affirmative Action Gone Wild! Up till now, I've been emphasizing the arbitrary nature of the tournament format and the conflicts of interest inherent in the fact that the administrators of the tournament are allowed to form their own teams and dominate the tournament. In my recent Sept 20th appearance at the meeting of the Northville Twp. Trustees, however, I alleged violations of Section 302 of the Elliott-Larsen Act, which prohibits discrimination against classes of residents, in this case elderly Northville area men. I stated that the availability of female players for refereed tournament play is approximately 25%, based on samples taken at 10am Senior Volleyball at Hillside Recreation Center. I further stated that someone, probably then NPR Athletic Director Joe Barberio, apparently because he felt that the % of women in prior years had been too low, instituted Affirmative Action goals for female participation in the tournament in its third year. Current Athletic Director Charles Gabbeart has continued the female quotas, which mandate that, to be eligible to play in the tournament, each team must consist of 3 to 5 women, and at least half of the team must be female. Any non-compliant team is banned from the tournament. These quotas mandate an average female presence more than twice that of the female availability, and are responsible for myself and at least half of eligible senior men being excluded from the tournament for 5 of the past 6 years!
Dan Biedzen November 11, 2012 at 07:20 PM
Beginning of Retaliation? Although I've been excluded from the WWC Sr. Olympics annual volleyball tournament, I've been playing regularly on Sat am for several months at open volleyball without incident - until yesterday. Athletic Director Charles Gabbert showed up for the first time to play -- and dominate his team. When it happened that there was just one team that had only 5 players, I went over, and a female player motioned for me to enter. When Mr. Gabbeart noticed me attempting to enter HIS team, he announced loudly to me and his team: "No, you can't play here!", and "I won't allow him to play on this team!" I walked away for a couple of mnutes to think about that, then came back and told Mr. Gabbeart that if he prevented me from playing I would file a written complaint against him. He at first refused me entry, then stated I won't play with you, then said ok come in, but I won't play with you. Then he walked off the court. Tell me, is that any way for an Athletic Director to behave? Who knows what he'll try next to get back at me for my existing complaint regarding the Olympics.
Dan Biedzen December 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Do the Right Thing, Mr. Sullivan! For the past 4 months I've been trying to get some remedial action taken re the dysfunctional WWCSO Volleyball tournament, to no avail. I figure that, given the condition of my feet and knees, I may be able to play in refereed tournaments for perhaps another 5 to 10yrs. It could be said that I've already lost another five years in opportunity because of the female quota set by Charles Gabbeart and Joe Barberio. There are perhaps 2-3 dozen other senior males who can say the same. So, with time not on my side, and no cooperation at all from City Manager Patrick Sullivan, I was forced to file a gender discrimination complaint with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights this past Friday. The primary thing that needs to done is to eliminate that affirmative action quota of 3-5 women per team. Since there are 3x as many senior men than senior women available to play in the tournament, that quota guarantees that as many as 2/3 of the guys will never be contacted by the team captains. The two easiest ways to make things work fairly are to either establish separate male and female divisions the way most other tournaments do, or return to the Year 1&2 format, but without any all-female teams. C'mon Mr. Sullivan, do the right thing!


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