North American Scrabble Players Association
The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA) is an organization founded in 2009 to administer competitive Scrabble tournaments and clubs in North America. It took over these activities from the National Scrabble Association (NSA) effective July 1, 2009.
Its Rules Committee edits the official Scrabble tournament rules.
Its Rating and Recognition Committee maintains the official rating system.
Its Tournament Committee maintains a calendar of hundreds of officially sanctioned tournaments each year, and is a disciplinary body for players and directors.
Its Club and Director Committee maintains a roster of officially sanctioned clubs, and certifies club and tournament directors.
Its Advisory Board determines policy that affects club and tournament play, and hears appeals to the decisions of other committees.
Its Canadian Committee oversees matters that pertain solely to Canadian NASPA members.
NASPA came into existence following a weekend meeting at Hasbro headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts in December 2008. The meeting was arranged by the National Scrabble Association (NSA) and Hasbro executives. Hasbro had decided to stop its financial support of adult tournament Scrabble and clubs by the end of 2009. The NSA, which had been running adult tournament Scrabble since the late 1970s, would continue as an organization, but it would exist largely to focus on its growing school Scrabble program and to promote recreational play. The meeting was attended by 16 individuals. They represented a cross-section of the Scrabble community: prominent Scrabble players, club and tournament directors, and others from across the continent. Those 16 had been invited by the NSA to hear first-hand from Hasbro executives about the company's decision regarding its cessation of funding. In its wake, the attendees were offered the opportunity to form a new organization to preserve competitive adult Scrabble in North America and encouraged to do so with the blessings of Hasbro.
Following the meeting, several committees were formed to make the transition of adult tournament and club play from the NSA to NASPA a smooth one. Most of the 16 attendees accepted Hasbro's challenge and formed the nucleus of the Steering Committee. An email vote among the Steering Committee's members determined the new organization's name: The North American Scrabble Players Association (NASPA). NASPA was registered in Texas as a not-for-profit corporation and headquartered in Dallas. Chris Cree of Dallas and John Chew of Toronto emerged as co-presidents. Although Hasbro had given NASPA until the end of 2009 to establish control of the competitive tournament scene, NASPA was ready for the total transition six months early. Accordingly, the first NASPA tournament games were contested on July 1, 2009. On that date NASPA became the only Scrabble group in North America permitted to use the registered Scrabble name and trademark in adult club and tournament play.
Outwardly, the nature of the adult competitive Scrabble scene in North America changed very little with NASPA's replacing the NSA in 2009. There have been some noteworthy changes regarding disciplinary matters, though. NASPA quickly adopted a new, stricter Code of Conduct with the goal of improving the deportment of players at official Scrabble events. Also, there is considerable difference in the way NASPA is financed compared to its predecessor. In the NSA era, Hasbro provided a substantial annual budget. NASPA, however, relies on fees collected from annual player memberships, as well as annual club affiliation fees, and "participation fees" collected by tournament directors. NASPA's participation fees are calculated at a fixed rate based on the number of games played in a tournament. It was announced at the Town Hall Meeting at the 2011 NSC in Dallas that club affiliation fees would be discontinued beginning in 2012.
By the end of October 2010, NASPA had more than 3,200 members.
NASPA organized the 2009 National Scrabble Championship tournament in Dayton, Ohio, the 2010 and 2011 events in Addison, TX, the 2012 event in Orlando, FL, and will host the 2013 Championship in Las Vegas, NV.
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