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April 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

As we move into the outdoor season, I want to remind you of that the safety of officials, athletes, coaches, spectators, media, etc. is the top priority of every official. Watch out for one another. Make sure those who are assigned positions are physically capable of safely doing the job. Communicate safety protocols to volunteers and closely monitor them. If you see a situation that you feel is unsafe, communicate that to your head official, referee, and/or meet director. Let's make this an accident-free season.

2019 USATF Membership: Please make sure that your USATF membership is renewed for 2019. A current membership is required for certification, along with a current background screen.

Officials' Merchandise: Certified officials can purchase the 2019 USATF Rule Book for $10. You can also purchase USATF Certified Officials shirts in blue and red, as well as a white USATF Certified Official cap. A password is required, which you can get from your Association Certification Chair. The site is:

Mentors: I continue to receive more and more emails with the names of those who have served to mentor other officials. One of the encouraging things is, though I know many of those who are mentioned, there are also many whom I have never met but who are investing in others. That is encouraging! Here are some more that have mentored others through the years:

Mentoring, Part II: It has also been encouraging to hear of Associations that have structured Mentoring Programs for their officials. The Pacific Association has such a program, led by Joe Van Zant. Joe sent me a list of names of those who are involved in mentoring in their Association but because there are about 30 officials mentoring others I don't have room to include them all. However, I would encourage your Association to consider a similar program. I am sure the Pacific Association could provide some help in getting started.

USATF Official Spotlight - Paula Everdell, Pacific Northwest Association: In March, Paula Everdell was honored as the Official of the Meet at the 2019 World Masters Indoor Championships in Torun', Poland. Those of us who have worked with Paula know that she is an outstanding official, but in Poland she went beyond officiating to use her skills as an EMT. As Jo Burrows reports it, while Paula was officiating the M35 Weight Throw an athlete collapsed from a heart attack beside her. Paula immediately began an assessment and CPR as the Paramedic made his way to the cage. She then assisted him until more medical help arrived. The athlete was defibrillated and brought back to life. At the hospital, he had two stints inserted to stabilize him for his trip home. Paula was instrumental in saving this athlete's life and was recognized by the World Masters Association Council. Great job, Paula! We're proud of you!

SafeSport Update: There have been some recent updates regarding SafeSport. These updates have come to USATF from the US Center for SafeSport. Here is some information that applies to our officials:

  • Your SafeSport Certification is valid through the 2020 Olympiad.
  • SafeSport has developed an annual Refresher course. This course is not required at this time.
  • New SafeSport Certifications can only be completed online. The use of the DVD in group settings is not currently allowed. We are working with USATF to try and re-instate the group option.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at   

USATF Safety on Throwing Events ~ Joe Nemeth, Pacific

[Editor’s Note: Joe previously wrote this piece for the Pacific Association’s “Turns and Distances Newsletter” in 2006 and sent it for inclusion in this edition of our newsletter. Thanks Joe.] 

Head Coach Art Vargas (UCLA) spoke to about 50 officials regarding safety in the field events on Saturday, January 21, 2006 at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus. Some of his highlights were:

As we get older we lose our mobility, and mobility is important for the conditions change all the time. When it rains, we have the worst conditions, for a well thrown discus hydroplanes, gains more speed and can do plenty of damage from first and second skips. Coach Venegas has been injured by an implement as have many officials from around the country. George Kleeman suffered a broken leg from an implement at the national championships in New Orleans. I noticed in the demonstration that the first bounce was at the mid-section and second bounce was around shin height. These were dry conditions.

The head of the event needs to:

  • Take the time to meet with management officials and check out the facilities.
  • Know the layout of the field for that day and pay particular attention to what landing areas may overlap.
  • Ask the school hosting the event for some volunteers.
  • Start the event on time.
  • Ask for more officials and volunteers, if you don’t have enough.
  • Keep the officials rested and let them have plenty of snacks and fluids because fatigue is a factor.

In the hammer throw; Please click here to continue reading . . .   

Verticals Safety Suggestions from Rich Schornstein

A few quick points regarding safety considerations for vertical events:

  • Pits – ensure they meet the minimum size and height requirements of the rule book, and for the PV that they are properly placed relative to the box.
  • Pole Vault Box Collar – ensure this is in use for NCAA, USATF Youth, and high school events, and that it is properly placed and fastened.
  • Venue Area – ensure an area of 8-10 feet around the pit is clear of all items (hurdles, gear bags, crossbars, pit covers, signage, etc.), which might pose a hazard to an athlete.
  • Runways & Aprons – ensure measures are taken to prevent individuals from entering the venue/crossing the runway or apron.
  • Adjacent Venues – ensure that implements thrown in adjacent venues do not pose a hazard for verticals athletes.
  • Volunteers – brief them on safety considerations for the event (particularly falling PV crossbars & poles).

Marty’s Training Tip

The last few weeks have seen a flurry of posts on Facebook, emails between various representatives of the ruling bodies for our sport, and flat-out speculation regarding rule changes and interpretations for the current season. This got me to thinking – how well do you actually know your rule book?

Each year (especially now that high school meets are occurring multiple nights each week, NCAA outdoor meets have started, and USATF road races and outdoor meets are happening as well) we all face the same problem: we use three or four or five different rule books on a fairly regular basis! The editors of each rule book make a concerted effort to notify officials of the major changes by highlights or even a special section in the rule book, but that only helps if you actually own and read the rulebook.

I know, that sounds like something obvious, but we all know officials that haven’t had an updated copy of any rule book in several years, and even if you do, there are subtle differences between the various rule books that come into play.

Time limits: the IAAF council recently held a meeting and rescinded the 30 second rule for first attempts in various field events. This caused a flurry of speculation that NCAA and USATF would instantly follow. Folks – THAT IS NOT THE CASE! Click to continue reading. . .

If you have suggestions for “Training Tips”, let Marty Johnson know via email at   

WPA Immediate Rule Changes by Carroll DeWeese

Due to recent IAAF rule changes, World Para Athletics (WPA) has decided to enforce with immediate effect an amendment to the following WPA Rules:

  • Rule 23.10
  • Rule 23.20
  • Rule 24.6
  • Rule 24.17
  • Rule 52

Of these rule changes, the most important change is in Rule 24.17, which changes the time limits for athletes to make their attempt and goes back to the former 1 minute minimum instead of ½ minute.

I have attached the letter from World Para Athletics talking about the changes and giving a chart of each specific rule change. Please read it to get yourself up-to-date.


To My Fellow Officials:

It is time again to think about those who are deserving of being nominated for the National Officials Hall of Fame for 2019. Last year was another great year for the Hall of Fame and looking forward to another stellar class for this year. We will be in Reno, Nevada this year for our banquet and we want to make a splash.

We want that exceptional, hardworking, devoted official to be nominated this coming year. All the information you need is currently listed on the USATF website under Resources For, and then click on Officials. A criterion is there along with the form necessary to nominate someone.

Start now so that you are ready to begin sending me the nominations for this year.

Karen Krsak
Chair, National Officials Hall of Fame

[Editor’s Note: The nomination form on the hall of Fame webpage has not been updated. The current nomination form can be found here.] 

White Certified Officials Caps in Stock

In the March edition of the newsletter we published the new guidelines for the USATF Official’s uniform. One item mentioned was the plan white hat. That white Certified Officials cap just arrived in the Team USATF Store and is available for purchase for $20. Follow the link below: The required password, is the same used for the rulebooks. If you didn’t order a rule book, contact your association certification chair for the password. Please do not share it.


NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

Check out the most recent NCAA interpretations at Last update was March 5, 2019

If you find this helpful, please let Mark Kostek know.   

Equipment & Facilities Specifications Newsletter

The latest edition of the Equipment & Facilities Specifications newsletter has been emailed to all that are subscribers to this newsletter that Ivars Ikstrums works hard to compile. This edition includes a look at rule changes affecting equipment and facilities, a detail look at setting up the total station and a look at disqualified implements. If you didn’t receive your copy or are not a subscriber you can find the March edition on the Officials newsletter webpage.

Previous issues of the newsletter are available at the same address noted above or at the Pacific Northwest Association’s webpage. Great job Ivars.

Best Practices Library - Recent updates or additions:

The following Best Practices documents were recently updated. Visit the Best Practices Library to see all our resources. Each item has a current date at the bottom of the document; check any copies you’ve made to ensure you have the most recent version in hand.

High Jump ~ Venue Diagram and Officials Assignments
Horizontal Jumps ~ Determining Finalists from Prelims
Pole Vault ~ Pole Vault Instructions & Rules – USATF
Throws ~ Determining Finalists from Prelims
Field Events, General ~ Flight Coordinator Activities
Certification ~ Certification Upgrade Application
Rule Books, Current ~ link to NCAA 2018-2019 Monthly Interpretations
LDR/Cross Country/Road Racing ~ LDR Championship Referee's Case Book; Masters LDR Championship Timing

If you have a comment on the Best Practices Library or wish to make a submission, contact Rich Schornstein, the Best Practices Librarian.   

Officials’ Applications

Officials’ applications for spring and summer championship meets are available for your review on the NOC website at this link.   

2019 USATF Junior Olympics @ CSU SACRAMENTO July 22-28

The OFFICIAL application period for this meet closed on March 15th. We have EXTENDED THE APPLICATION PERIOD TO MARCH 30th. [Editor’s Note: If interested ignore the 3/30 deadline date and get your application to Phil Leake, don’t delay.] We are in need of MANY officials in order to make this meet work. This meet is scheduled the same time as the USATF National meet. However, a small number of USATF officials have been selected to work the National meet. This leaves a great opportunity for officials of all levels to participate. This is a great meet to add to your resume for recognition by National Officials Selection committee and for upgrading your level of certification.

Yes it's late in the year and Sacramento is known for its heat during July. The LOC assures me that we will be prepared for you and the heat. Accommodations for this meet are in the newly built dorms at Sac State with breakfast at the dorms and lunch/dinner at the field. Ideally, the commitment is for the whole meet. You can find the application on the USATF N.O.C. website. See Officials’ Applications above.   

USATF Officials Spotlight ~ John Patterson, Pacific Northwest

Written by Scott Phoenix, Oregon Certification Chair, from sources provided by Paul Bodenshot 

Anyone who has officiated field events knows that more often than not, site preparation is something you cannot expect to be done in advance of your arrival. You also are hopeful of having capable and eager help. If you have John Patterson in charge of an event or helping with that event, your worries are over!

John is a dynamo of energy. He can outwork most everyone at a meet, which, of course, includes those many years younger than he. And he NEVER complains, even when it’s hot and humid and the direction of the pole vault is switched after everything has been laboriously set up and he’s tired, sweaty, and thirsty.

He is highly resourceful and comes prepared to meets with an array of equipment that experience has told him will come in useful, such as the times he uses his Leatherman tool to help coax bolts into position, or the time he discovered that at a district meet there was not a tape long enough to measure throws by someone who was being scouted by D1 coaches. (John went to his car for his 100 meter steel tape and properly recorded details so that this record could be verified.)

Or how about the time he was at a master’s championship . . . Continue reading . . .

Do you know someone that should be recognized? Drop us a note.   

IAAF News ~ March 2019 Newsletter

The international Association of Athletics Federations has emailed the IAAF News Edition 201 dated March 28, 2019 to their subscribers. As of this writing, this edition has not been posted their webpage. You can click here to download your copy today.   

USATF Rule of the Month from Laurie Boemker

Throwing Events - General Rules - Rule 187.3(a) 

The following shall be considered assistance and are therefore not allowed:

(a) The taping of two or more fingers together. If taping is used on the hands and fingers, it may be continuous provided that as a result no two or more fingers are taped together in such a way that the fingers cannot move individually. The taping should be shown to the Chief Judge before the event starts.

Race Walking -Rule 230.1(c) - Judging 

The Chief Judge shall assign the Judges to their respective judging areas and explain the judging procedure to be used during the race. The Chief Judge shall act as the supervising official for the competition and shall judge the full competition. In addition, at International Selection Competitions, National Championships and other events as determined by the Race Walk Committee, the Chief Judge shall act as a Judge as described in 230.3(f).

Rule 230.3(f)

At International Selection Competitions, National Championships and other events as determined by the Race Walk Committee, the Chief Judge has the power to disqualify a competitor in the last 100m when his/her mode of progression obviously fails to comply with Rule 232.2 regardless of the number of previous red cards the Chief Judge has received for that competitor. A competitor who is disqualified under these circumstances shall be allowed to finish the race. The competitor shall be notified of this disqualification by the Chief Judge or a Chief Judge’s Assistant by showing the athlete a red paddle at the earliest opportunity after the athlete has finished the race.

NOTE: A Chief Judge may issue a red card to an athlete during the race and also disqualify the same athlete in the last 100m.  

IAAF Rule of the Month from Betsy Reed, IAAF NTO Subcommittee

Effective with the Rules in Effect on 11/1/2017, the IAAF added an opportunity for athletes in the Race Walking events to avoid a disqualification. It modified the language further in amendments released on March 11, 2019. The new information is in italics, and the March modification appears bolded.

Rule 230.7(c)

Penalty Zone shall be used for any race where the applicable regulations for the competition so provide and may be used for other races as determined by the relevant governing body or Organizers. In such cases, an athlete will be required to enter the Penalty Zone and remain there for the applicable period once they have received three Red Cards and are so advised by the Chief Judge or someone delegated by him.

The applicable period in the Penalty Zone Lane shall be as follows:

If, at any time, the athlete receives an additional Red Card from a Judge other than one of the three who had previously sent a Red Card, he shall be disqualified. An athlete who fails to enter the Penalty Zone when required to do so, or remain there for the applicable period, shall be disqualified by the Chief Judge. If an athlete receives a third Red Card and it is no longer practicable to direct him to enter the Penalty Zone before the end of the race, the Referee shall add the time he would have been required to spend in the Penalty Zone to his finishing time and adjust the finishing order as may be necessary.

In addition, at its meeting on March 11, 2019 the IAAF Council approved several amendments to the 2018 –2019 Competition Rules already in effect. These changes to the technical rules took effect immediately, and apply to IAAF-governed competitions. Individual NGBs (like USA Track & Field) will make their own determinations about how to proceed.

Rule 180.17 - Time Allowed for Trials

Reverted to one minute time for trials in all field events. The timing chart for IAAF Eventsshall read:


Stay Alert and Focused


Important Links

In case you were not able to open the links embedded in the above news items, they are below:

Announcements for the Newsletter

If you have an item you would like included in the newsletter, please send your submissions to The submission deadline is the 25th of each month in order to be included in the subsequent issue. We will accept announcements, articles and other news-type items that are national in scope. Local announcements and opinion pieces will not be included. Please be aware that all submissions are subject to approval by the N.O.C. Executive Committee.


In Need of Officials?

If you are the official’s coordinator for a national championship or major regional meet and would like to have it listed on our calendar, please visit our new Applications page ( and submit it. All applications are subject to review before posting.

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