Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission
How the Commission yields hundreds of hours in administrative overhead savings within the first year of adopting Thentia Cloud.
No. of LICENSEES: 780
In 2020, the Oklahoma Real Estate Commission deployed agency licensing solution Thentia Cloud in only four months.
The Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission regulates unarmed combat sports and oversees licensing for athletes, promoters, managers, referees, and judges, among others. However, the Commission’s outdated legacy system was causing administrative headaches for its staff. With Thentia Cloud, UAC was able to automate manual processes, reduce the time spent preparing for licensed events by 66%, and decrease event follow-up work by 95%, allowing them to operate more efficiently and effectively.
Since 2001, the Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission has been regulating professional unarmed combat sports across the state, including boxing, kickboxing, and mixed martial arts. Named after the late State Senator Eliud “Pete” Suazo, an advocate for youth and minorities and a boxing enthusiast, the Commission oversees the licensure and medical records that are required for athletes as well as the licensing for promoters, managers, referees, time keepers, and judges, among others within the community.
A key part of the Commission’s work has been to eliminate the predatory practices that previously existed across the industry. These included situations where athletes were unfairly matched, thus increasing their risk of injury, and where fans were exploited by, for example, being sold advance tickets to events that were never actually put on.
Today, the Commission manages more than 650 licenses spanning seven different license types. It also plays a critical role in supporting as many as 30 events per year that range from small club shows to major arena competitions that attract thousands of attendees. Although the $50 licensing fee the Commission collects only partially offsets the cost of regulating unarmed combat sports throughout Utah, the events it helps facilitate are a significant source of revenue for the Beehive State.
Given the growing popularity of unarmed combat sports, particularly mixed martial arts, the Commission has long lacked the resources necessary to manage its workload effectively, protect athletes and fans, and ensure that the events it helps facilitate run smoothly.
When reflecting on licensure processes prior to Thentia Cloud, Scott Bowler, Executive Director of the Peter Suazo Utah Athletic Commission, says its staff faced a variety of challenges. The first was that the Commission was regularly drowning in paperwork. The legacy system the Commission had in place for managing the licensing process dated back to the early 1990s and had major limitations. As a result, its staff would wind up having to spend hours printing out, searching through, and organizing reams of medical records, licenses, and other documentation in the run up to different events.
“I’d have to have every athlete’s most recent medical records at the ready in case of a potential injury, only to have to gather all of that information again as soon as the next one rolled around,” says Bowler citing one example of the administrative headaches he faced. “Not only was it tedious and time-consuming work, it was often wasted effort since it only went to use in the event of an actual injury.”
Bowler estimates that preparing for licensed local events took at least 15 hours of time, while the bigger statewide events might require 50 hours of work or more, particularly if they were new and he had to start the process from scratch.
After each event, UAC also had a lot of administrative tasks to deal with, thanks in large part to his second big challenge: a lack of automated reporting capabilities. “I’d wind up spending almost as much time after each event doing reporting and other clean up as I did getting ready for it,” he says. That included manual tasks like flipping through receipt books to count up how many licenses were issued during a particular time frame. “The amount of time the Commission had to spend on this kind of stuff was just unreal.”
Underscoring the point, an independent audit of the Commission conducted several years ago revealed that UAC was spending 65% of his time dealing with licensing-related issues. The highly manual paper-based approach they were using simply didn’t leave a lot of time for much else.
reduction in time spent on administrative tasks preparing for events
reduction in time spent on administrative tasks following events
to take care of important non-administrative priorities
Bowler first learned about Thentia in June 2021, and after hearing a little bit about what the platform could do, was keen to watch a demo of how another state agency’s licensing process worked using Thentia Cloud. Intrigued, he began asking questions to see if the platform could do everything he needed.
Before long, Bowler realized that Thentia is a highly configurable and easy-to-use platform that could really help automate many of the manual processes that were taking up so much of UAC’s time. While he recognized that he didn’t need all of Thentia’s capabilities, there were some highly specialized features that he was very eager to take advantage of, such as the ability for athletes in the State of Utah to digitally upload their medical records rather than the Commission’s staff having to manually gather and enter this information. The fact that Thentia was already an approved vendor in a number of different states was also attractive because it made it easier for Bowler to get the approval he needed.
Pete Suazo Utah Athletic Commission
Adopting Thentia has freed up a lot of Bowler’s time, too. “I’m finally able to focus on the actual events themselves, not just the administration around them,” he says. “And I can give much greater oversight to our entire program and take care of all of the stuff I never had the bandwidth to handle in the past.”
Bowler has even become the Vice President of the Association of Boxing Commissions and gets to work with commissions in other states as part of that role. “Without Thentia, that never would have been possible — I simply wouldn’t have had the time.”
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