Benton, Ky. Sept. 16, 2011 – The Professional Anglers Association has declared Michigan professional angler Nate Wellman ineligible to compete in any of its events for a year.
Wellman was fined $2,500 and put on probation for one year by B.A.S.S. following an investigation into a complaint by his final day co-angler at the recent Bass Pro Shops Northern Open on Lake Erie. Wellman won the tournament. His co-angler reported to tournament officials that Wellman made repeated statements that, according to B.A.S.S., “were suggestive of a rules violation.”
B.A.S.S. stated that Wellman violated its tournament rule 3(vii), which prohibits ‘suggesting to another competitor that he violate these (B.A.S.S.) rules.’ On Sept. 6, FLW Outdoors announced Wellman is ineligible to compete in any of its events for a year for violating its sportsmanship rule.
“Violations or harm to the integrity of the sport hurts all anglers at any level, the organizations and the entire industry,” said PAA President Dave Mansue. “It’s unfortunate when something like this occurs. The PAA recognizes the difficult position B.A.S.S. officials were placed in by Mr. Wellman’s actions. We applaud the co-angler who stepped up to inform B.A.S.S. officials after the tournament and also FLW Outdoors for taking the steps it did.
“Actions that undermine the integrity of the sport are not to be condoned at any level. Everyone from top professionals to weekend anglers in a jackpot tournament expect and should demand the highest levels of honesty and integrity.”
Official PAA Tournament Rule 3(iv), regarding Sportsmanship, states:
“Chemical substance addiction or abuse, conviction of a felony or other crimes involving moral turpitude, or other conduct reflecting unfavorably upon efforts to promote safety, sportsmanship, fair competition and compliance with tournament rules, shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation and/or for disqualification after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director. Any disqualification, suspension from, or other disciplinary action regarding any tournament or fishing organization, shall be grounds for rejecting any application for participation in a PAA tournament, and/or disqualification from a PAA tournament, after circumstances are reviewed by the Tournament Director.”
Based on this rule, Wellman will not be permitted to compete in any PAA-sanctioned event until such time that said disciplinary action is complete and satisfied.
Three polygraph examinations are given to the winner and two other anglers, selected randomly from the field, during the Bass Pro Shops PAA Tournament Series. Polygraph examinations also may be given at any time during the official tournament period at the discretion of the Tournament Director.
“Maintaining the integrity of the sport and avoiding any appearance of impropriety are paramount to establishing trust among anglers and fans,” Mansue said. “The PAA urges other tournament organizations at all levels to establish firm, enforceable rules that will withstand litigation, as well as appropriatedisciplinary measures to help maintain the level of trust, respect and spirit of competition all anglers expect during competition.”
About the PAA
The Professional Anglers Association is a non-profit organization that gives professional anglers a unified voice in order to aid in the growth of the sport of professional bass fishing. The PAA also aims to administer educational programs to the average angler, to increase enjoyment of the sport, and to embrace sound conservation practices to further the future of the sport. Web: www.FishPAA.com