The NSCA has filed a response to CrossFit’s lawsuit against them. The NSCA denies or avoids taking a position on nearly all of the allegations included in CrossFit’s complaints. Some of these points are worth noting:
First, the NSCA denies CrossFit’s allegation that the two companies are competitors in the fitness industry (item 2). This seems odd, considering the NSCA admits that a large portion of their revenue comes from certifications and renewals. When two companies generate the majority of their revenue by offering different products designed to fill the same niche in a market, how are those companies not in competition?
NSCA also denies the allegation in paragraph 7:
“CrossFit discussed the unreliability of the data with the Devor Study’s authors, and made it known to the NSCA, but the NSCA chose not to correct the publication. Instead, the NSCA continues to disseminate inaccurate information about CrossFit throughout the fitness industry.”
They elaborate on this position in the 12th Affirmative defense:
“Plantiff’s claim for punitive damages against the NSCA is invalid in that no officer, director or managing agent of the NSCA had advanced
knowledge of the acts complained of, nor did any such person act with the conscious disregard for the rights of Plaintiff nor authorize, ratify, or otherwise approve said acts of oppression, fraud or malice as alleged in the Complaint.”
Unfortunately, this is not true. I wrote a detailed email to the NSCA in May of 2013, while the study abstract was still only “published ahead of print.” The email outlined our concerns with the study and requesting a response. I never received one.
I also personally contacted the Editor-in-Chief of the NSCA’s Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR), Dr. William Kraemer. During our phone call, I explained that we had looked into his journal’s study (which at the time was not published), and were convinced that the study included inaccurate, and possibly fabricated injury data. Dr. Kraemer ignored my concerns, claiming that “these types of programs” have a higher injury rate, and the data didn’t surprise him.
He explained that the study had been peer-reviewed, which was all he could do. I explained that I thought he had a professional responsibility to at least investigate our claims, and he disagreed.
Should Dr. Kraemer attempt to deny that this conversation occurred, he will need to explain why my phone records indicate an 30-minute incoming call from his office number.
What is more interesting isn’t what the NSCA denies, but the items to which they claim to lack “knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief as to the truth of the allegations …”
Specifically, the NSCA claims they don’t have enough information to have an opinion about the Devor study, its data, or the study’s validity to affirm or deny our claims about it. They also claim not to have enough information to have an opinion on the Hak study.
But if the NSCA doesn’t have enough information to hold opinions about the validity of the very studies they publish in the JSCR, what does “peer-review” even mean? Interestingly, the NSCA also denies point 89 of CrossFit’s complaint:
“CrossFit therefore requests and is entitled to a judicial determinationthat the Devor Study contains false, misleading and/or deceptive statements,assertions and conclusions regarding CrossFit and/or its injury risk, and such a judicial determination of these rights and obligations is necessary and appropriate this time.”
The NSCA doesn’t know if what they have published is accurate, and they don’t want anyone else to know either. This begs an important question- if they won’t stand behind the accuracy of their published work on CrossFit, why should we trust anything they publish?