Solo, who in 2018 filed a complaint before the USOC against U.S. Soccer that the federation was in violation of USOC by-laws and provisions of the Stevens Act won her appeal of the decision
by a three-person USOC panel to grant U.S. Soccer's motion to dismiss the complaint. Solo vs. USSF: Final Arbitration Award
The USOC panel ruled that the
former national team goalkeeper has not exhausted her administrative remedies -- if she had a complaint with U.S. Soccer about how it operates, she needed to first to take it up with the federation
and file a grievance with it and only if she didn't like the outcome could she come before the USOC.
But an AAA arbitration panel hearing her USOC appeal ruled that Solo was correct in
charging the U.S. Soccer grievance process is legally flawed. The legal point Solo challenged is that U.S. Soccer utilizes a single-arbiter from the AAA and therefore violates the USOC mandate under
the Stevens Act that “panels” have 20 percent athlete representation. Hope Solo v. USSF: The Complaint
of the decision is to allow Solo to have her complaint heard before a three-person USOC panel. The arbitration panel ruled she did not have to exhaust procedures through U.S. Soccer that violated
federal law and there were no remedies to exhaust.
The Stevens Act -- the current version of the Amateur Act -- governs national governing bodies such as U.S. Soccer. It was sponsored by
Ted Stevens, then–senator from Alaska, and adopted in 1998, giving athletes a greater voice in their sports and more rights.
The requirement of 20 percent athlete representation is
central to how national governing bodies operate. Within U.S. Soccer's National Council, the Athlete Council has 20 percent of the vote. Federation board committees typically have five members, one of
them an athlete.