The USATF Annual Meeting was held in Columbus, Ohio from November 29 – December 2. The Masters Track and Field Committee (MTF) met on November 30 and December 1, with the Executive Committee also meeting on November 29 and December 1. Because this is an even numbered year, this is a year in which changes to the Rules of Competition were under consideration, with a large number of those proposed changes affecting MTF. In addition, bids were considered for the 2021 indoor and outdoor championships.
An unusually large number of rule change proposals were submitted as a result of an attempt to at least consider bringing the USATF Rules into full conformity with World Masters Athletics (WMA) Rules. The most contentious of those going in to the Annual Meeting were a proposal to eliminate team scoring (and team championships), changing all relays to 5-year age groups, and some technical changes to the rules regarding the specifications for some throwing implements. The proposal to do away with team scoring was withdrawn after a very brief discussion in the MTF Executive Committee, and after discussion explaining the records implications of the change to 5-year age groups for all relays (the WMA relays – 4×100 and 4×400 outdoors and 4×200 indoors were already 5-year age groups), that change was accepted. Many of the technical changes to throwing implement specifications were tabled for further study.
For many years, WMA has permitted athletes who are permanent residents of a country other than their country of citizenship who have not competed for their “home” country internationally to represent the country in which they live. Beginning in 2019, those athletes who are not US citizens but are eligible to represent the US internationally (US permanent residents for at least three years who have never represented another country internationally) may compete for medals and score points in USATF Masters Championships. This is likely a very small number of individuals but the rationale for changing this is to bring US practice in line with WMA practice.
In other words, if you are eligible to represent the US internationally you can compete in our Championships as if you are a citizen. It was adopted virtually unanimously in Columbus.
Bids for Future Championships
After receiving updates from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on plans for the 2019 Indoor Championships on March 1-3 and from Ames, Iowa, on plans for the 2019 Outdoor Championships on July 11-14, the Committee heard bid presentations for 2021 from The Armory in New York City for indoors and from Sacramento, California for outdoors. Both were accepted conditional upon a favorable review from the MTF Championships Games Subcommittee and determination of appropriate dates (potential conflicts with the 2021 WMA Indoor Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and the 2021 NCCWMA Outdoor Championships at a site to be determined in Toronto next summer will need to be avoided).
The 2020 Indoor Championships will be in Baton Rouge, Louisiana March 13-15, 2020. The 2020 Outdoor Championships will be in Greensboro, North Carolina July 9-12, 2020
There were three elections held during the Annual Meeting – for the General Competition Division (MTF and Associations combined) seat on the USATF Board of Directors, for the USATF Candidate for a seat on the IAAF Council, and for one of the MTF Delegates to the WMA General Assembly. Candidates for the USATF Board seat and the IAAF Council nominee addressed the MTF Committee and took questions from the floor. Candidates for the Board seat were Karen Krsak, President of the Ohio Association and former Chair of the Associations group, and Christopher Pasko, President of the New England Association and a masters athlete himself. Candidates for USATF’s nominee for the IAAF Council were Willie Banks, former USATF Board member representing the General Competition Division, former world record holder in the triple jump, and a masters athlete, and Stephanie Hightower, current member of the IAAF Council and former President of USATF.
There were seven candidates for WMA Delegate, with Carroll DeWeese (current MTF Treasurer and a former WMA Delegate) elected to a four year term. Jerry Bookin-Weiner, Mark Cleary, Marilyn Mitchell, Duane Gosa, and Ivan Black will be alternate delegates.
Finally, the active athletes attending the Annual Meeting selected Latashia Key to continue as the Active Athlete Representative on the MTF Executive Committee.
The MTF Budget of nearly $250,000 for 2019 is essentially the same as it was for 2018 ($25 less). This actually represents the continuing commitment of the USATF National Office to MTF as most committees sustained cuts of 5%. Internally MTF is allocating more funds in 2019 to anti-doping efforts to allow more drug testing at championship meets than in 2018.
Hall of Fame
Six people will be inducted into the MTF Hall of Fame at the Outdoor Championships in Ames, Iowa next July. They are:
In other Hall of Fame related news, MTF Chair Rex Harvey announced that Mary Trotto has resigned as chair of the HOF Subcommittee and that he will solicit candidates for the position and the Executive Committee will interview them and make a recommendation to him early in the new year. He thanked Mary for her long service as HOF Subcommittee Chair as well as Awards Subcommittee Chair (a position she relinquished to Rachel Guest at the beginning of 2018) and previously as Active Athlete Representative on the MTF Executive Committee.
Finally, under New Business, Marilyn Mitchell suggested that there are a number of worthy athletes and administrators deserving of HOF recognition who have been ignored for many years. She proposed a “make up” group of inductees (perhaps as many as 15-20 over a 2-3 year period). They will be selected by the same process as current inductees. This was approved, and Marilyn will spearhead this effort.
At the Awards Breakfast on Saturday, December 1, the Masters Track and Field Athletes of Year and David Pain award winners plus Hall of Fame inductees were recognized. Our Awards Committee expanded the awards this year to recognize overall, event category and age group Athletes of the Year.
WMA/NCCWMA Relay Selection Procedures
The Relay Selection Procedures for Team USATF Designated Teams at WMA and NCCWMA Championships were clarified, revised, and approved. Essentially there are no major changes from the current process but the channels of communication with athletes are spelled out more explicitly and the procedures themselves are now in clearer language. The new procedures, which will be in effect at the WMA Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland in March, can be accessed here.
Donation from Potomac Valley Track Club
Potomac Valley Track Club, hosts of the 2018 USATF Masters Indoor Championships, announced that it is donating two NormaTec Recovery Systems (pictured below) for use by Team USATF athletes at WMA and NCCWMA meets. NormaTec devices were available to athletes in Perth in 2016 and in Daegu in 2017 but USATF was unable to provide them for Malaga in 2018. The donated devices (one a full body system and the other a leg and hip system) will be available beginning with the WMA Indoor Championships in Torun, Poland in March 2019. The Team USATF Masters physiotherapists will instruct athletes in their use and monitor them.
The Club Ethics Task Force reported on its work and presented a draft Code of Conduct for clubs recruitment of members. With minor changes, the draft was approved. It reads:
It is unacceptable for USATF Masters Track Clubs to use aggressive recruiting practices to recruit an unattached athlete or a member of another track club.
Aggressive Recruiting Practices include the following:
- Making disparaging comments about another track club or about the leadership of another track club in the context of recruiting.
- Offering financial inducements to change clubs or to join a club.
- Offering inducements of significant value to join a club or to change clubs if the inducements are greater than the benefits of membership offered to all club members.