The NSCA to CrossFit- Why Should We Know if What We Publish is True?

The disclaimer that should appear on the JSCR's website.

The disclaimer that should appear on the JSCR’s website.

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 anappropriate 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?


  1. John Weatherly

    Interesting information. Check the discussions titled “NSCA” and “Degree Programs” at Strength Performance Network ( The NSCA BOD has been invited numerous times to respond to issues on these discussions about covering-up unethical behavior, publishing studies on vibration that did not appear to even test vibration platforms for reliability before doing the so-called research (these were “peer-reviewed” studies), an ERP that appears to be nothing but a marketing ploy for schools, their certifications, etc. President Fleck and the BOD will not respond to any of these issues which shows zero accountability!

  2. John Weatherly

    Here’s a little tidbit for CrossFit. Boyd Epley (who founded the NSCA) hired an ex Nebraska and NFL player who had used steroids (Google “Danny Noonan and steroids”) as “Coordinator of Performance Education” at the U of Nebraska in the mid-late 90’s. Noonan was employed in this position while Boyd was on the “task force” for the NSCA’s first Professional Standards & Guidelines document and even after this document was published for NSCA members in the early 2000s. The NSCA’s first Professional Standards & Guidelines document clearly stated an individual should have a degree or degrees in a topic or topics comprising the Scientific Foundations domain of the CSCS exam content description or in a relevant subject. Noonan did not have a degree in exercise science or a related area. Thus, Boyd was violating the very Professional Standards and Guidelines document he helped with as a member of the “task force.” This was repeatedly pointed out to the NSCA and the NSCA covered it up. In 2004, Dr. Andy Fry (a member of the NSCA BOD at the time) who is now a professor in the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences at the U of Kansas), told me on the phone: “Something has to be done about this. Send me a formal letter of complaint so I can conduct an investigation. You are entitled to a copy of the results from the NSCA National Office.” Well, in spite of numerous requests for my copy of the Fry Investigation from the NSCA, I’m still waiting to receive it. It was all buried. Fry went from saying “something has to be done about this” to “pick your battles John.” The NSCA even hired Boyd to work at the national office knowing all about this. I still contact the NSCA BOD about this and nobody answers!

  3. John Weatherly

    I just sent a message with links to this blog to the NSCA BOD asking for answers. We all know the cowards won’t show up here or answer anything. Just a complete farce – the NSCA and their SCAMS! No accountability at all from NSCA President Dr. Steve Fleck and the BOD!!!!!

  4. Pingback: CrossFit to be tied: Fitness company sues journal to retract “sloppy and scientifically unreliable work” | Retraction Watch

  5. Pingback: “The nature and prevalence of injury during CrossFit training,” Dr. Paul Hak, Part Two | THE RUSSELLS

  6. Pingback: CrossFit to be tied: Fitness company sues journal to retract “sloppy … | Multiclicker2

  7. Pingback: Does the NSCA have a Responsibility to Publish Accurate Information? | THE RUSSELLS

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: