USATF Officials Monthly Newsletter 2/7/2019

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Febuary 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Mentors: I continue to receive emails regarding those who have served as mentors. These emails are always interesting and encouraging, so please keep sending them. Here are some more names, to go along with those mentioned last month, of those who have mentored others through the years:

  • Jim Carlisle
  • Clarence Crawford
  • Gene Edmonds
  • Dick Ernst
  • Rex Harvey
  • Ray Hendrickson
  • Keith Mitchell
  • Dick Moss
  • Bob Podkaminer
  • Gordon Scruton
  • Eric Zemper

Keep Your Certification Current: Remember that your certification is not current if you don't have a 2019 USATF Membership and or a current Background Screen. We are hitting the two-year mark of the Background Screen requirement, so many of them are expiring. Be sure to check and make sure yours is up-to-date. If you have questions, contact your Association Certification Chair.

2019 U20 National Championship Meet: At this time, the site for this meet has not been announced.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at  

Young Officials Grant Recipients

The N.O.C. received twice as many applicants for the 2019 Young Official Grants. These grants gives $500 to help officials age of 40 and under to work USATF national championship meets and gain valuable experience. Congratulations to our 2019 recipients:

  • Andrew Barron – New England Association
  • Bryan Casillas - Arkansas Association
  • Dwayne Evans – New York Association
  • Brandon Ferguson - Ohio Association
  • Chris Forti – New York Association
  • Anthony Gaspar - Connecticut Association
  • Lynn Hollrock – New England Association
  • Bradley James - Arkansas Association
  • Joy Lacy - Kentucky Association
  • Nicole Montecalvo – Three Rivers Association
  • Jessica Polland - Maine Association
  • Allison Regan - New Jersey Association
  • Anine Stanley - Connecticut Association
  • Angela Wilhelms - Oregon Association
  • Sirena Williams – North Carolina Association

Boathouse Sports Store is Open

The Boathouse Sports have opened their doors and will be taking orders for jackets and rain suits thru February 11. Is it time for you to purchase the national officials rain gear and outerwear? You can enter the store by just clicking here. Delivery of the new gear will be approximately four weeks after the store closes. Sorry for the late notice.

Youth Officials Committee

Are you looking at mentoring a young official along? Want to help bring in younger officials who may also be athletes to USATF? Then this is the opportunity you are looking for!

As a group, USATF is starting to see the constraints of age. If you go to many meets and national championships and look around you will see that our officials are not getting any younger. The average age of those officials at these championships are in their sixties. So what is being done to help bring in younger officials that eventually will be needed to replace the old guard?

Recently a new committee has been formed to help train high school age officials (ages 14-18). These young officials are not able to be full-fledged members of USATF until they reach the age of 18 due to the requirement of a background check. The purpose of this program is to prepare these young officials to come into USATF with hopefully an Apprentice level certification depending on how many hours they have within the mentoring program. Young officials in this program will be paired with a mentor, hopefully in their area, to teach them how to set up venues, rules, and proper procedures and interactions with other officials and athletes. The hope is that we will begin creating well rounded officials with strong knowledge in multiple areas and not just one like many of us already officiating. As part of the program these officials with learn everything from umpiring to long distance running. Currently the only events excluded from this training program are the throwing events due to safety concerns.

This program is in its infancy with many ideas that need to be implemented from putting together the materials for these new officials to the tests that will be given to finding the mentors across the country to help these officials along. If you are interested in helping get this program off the ground or in being a mentor please reach out to the committee chairs: Mike Trego (email: ) or Ashley Newton (email:

Marty’s Training Tip

Each month in these Training Tips, I point out some aspect of our craft that, hopefully, makes your job easier, but we all know that no one is an expert in every area of track and field. To that end, I solicit, not only new topics, but input as well. This month, we have our first guest author: John Deardorff, Master Starter. My thanks to John for his expertise, enthusiasm, and willingness to share what he has learned with the rest of the officiating community.

Notes for Starting Technique 

Much has been written and discussed regarding starting technique. How long to hold, what is a flinch (buck), voice level, etc. Dr. Zemper’s monograph on starting in Best Practices is “the bible” of the written documents.

One small area which is sometimes overlooked, but extremely important is the placement of recall starters. Obviously, between the starter and the recall starter{s), all athletes should be in someone’s field of vision. Where starters are positioned depends on the race to be started. I would like to focus on races in lanes, starting on the curve. This would be the 200’s through the 800’s plus some relays.

The best place to position the “rear” recall starter is inside of lane one and about 2 meters behind the starting line. Sometimes this will not work due to timing equipment on the infield, but it is the most advantageous spot if you can make it work.

The advantage is that from this position, a starter has a side view of his/her assigned lanes. This gives a third dimension to the view. From the side it is much easier to see forward motion than from directly behind the runners. Distinguishing a flinch from an actual starting motion is also much easier. It also affords a clear view of both feet on the blocks. From this position a starter can usually see lanes one through four or more.

This technique will also apply to the forward recall starter. However, in that position it is much more difficult to obtain a side view.

Thanks again to John for this month’s tip. As always, if you have ideas for a tip or topic, please send them to me. I hope your indoor season is going well – Marty.

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

Para Athletics ~ “Disabled” by Carroll DeWeese

“Disabled” is an adjective meaning that a person has a physical or mental condition that limits movements, senses, or activities. Compared to perfection, everyone has disabilities. Humans are limited in their abilities to hear, see, smell, feel, touch, taste, and perceive and move in their environment. The levels of capability vary for an individual as they progress through life. Even “normal” people resort to hearing aids, glasses, and other tools to help them deal with their limitations. Even the most severely disabled are normally quite capable of accomplishing needed tasks or performing functions. Their way of succeeding may be different than “normal”, but it works for them and can maximize their independence and reinforce their self-worth.

Para athletes just want the opportunity to face their challenges like everyone else. They want an opportunity to compete and gain mastery of their bodies. They are no different as persons than any other athlete. A normal person wearing glasses or hearing aids does not expect or want others to feel sorry for them. The same holds for para athletes who might be paralyzed, missing limbs, have severe muscle weakness, or a host of other challenges.

Working with para athletes changes a person’s perspective. Four Paralympians at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio ran faster times than the Gold Medal winning Olympic Champion Matthew Centrowitz ran in Rio. Joel Gomez, a legally blind (T13) high school 1,500 meter athlete in San Diego, is currently redefining 1,500 meter and mile possibilities for all high school athletes, not just para athletes. Being a para athlete does not mean a person is disabled. It only means that they have more challenges to overcome than the less challenged around them.

To let you know more about Joel Gomez, the following is a link to an article written by Reporter Ken Stone for the Times of San Diego and used with his permission. Enjoy the read and click here. 

NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

Check out the most recent NCAA interpretations and clarifications.

Clarification ~ Rule 4.3-3 Logos 

This rule is specifically focused on manufacturer’s logos on institutional official uniforms and is addressed per NCAA Bylaw 12.5.4. No NCAA playing rule may supersede NCAA Bylaw, so as a courtesy, a clarification statement that expanded upon the Bylaw was added to the playing rules to assist manufacturers and coaches.

All manufacturer logo violations of NCAA Bylaw should be reported to the institution, conference and/or NCAA. These violations are to be managed at the administrative level. Appropriate penalties levied by the governing body.

Matters like these do not constitute a disqualification from competition.

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

Upcoming Meets

MEAC Track & Field Outdoor Championships: I received an email from Harold Jacobs that said our good friend Roger Burbage had thought he had retired from coordinating meets but to his surprise he has at least one more championship to finish. Roger is getting a very late start so if you are available May 2 , 3 and 4, please consider helping Roger with the MEAC Track & Field Outdoor Championships at NC A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina. Complete either of the MEAC Official Application and send it to Roger asap. You can download the Word version or the PDF version.

Youth Nationals in Durham NC: I have received a few emails inquiring about the application to officiate the Youth Nationals in Durham, North Carolina. The official’s coordinator for that meet is L.B. Clayton, Certification Chair of the North Carolina Association. The application to officiate the Youth Nationals can be found on the USATF Events webpage. The application states that the form needs to be returned by February 1 so you will be late but maybe you should give it a try.

NACAC Competition Calendar for 2019: Would you be interested in the NACAC Competition Calendar for 2019? The calendar list meets that will are schedule thru out the NACAC Region which includes the U.S. The calendar does not include contact information to officiate or if any of the meets will be broadcast on TV.

Did You Know?

Interim USATF President Michael Conley has appointed Richard Robert as the Chair of the USATF Para Athletic Committee. The USOC has sent Richard all over the world training coaches and officials in Para. Richard was the 2017 winner of the N.O.C. John Davis Award. Congratulations Richard.

IAAF News ~ January 2019 Newsletter

The international Association of Athletics Federations has posted their monthly summary of IAAF news for January 31. 2019, Edition 199. Click here to download your copy today.

USATF 2019 Rules of the Month (Shaded text are New)

Assistance to Athletes, Rule 144 

1. Competition under these Rules consists of self-propelled motion without assistance, except as defined by the Rules of Competition of a specific event discipline.

NOTE 1: For athletes with disabilities entering open competitions refer to the “USATF Policy and Procedures for Evaluation of Requests for Accommodations Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act” ( 

Throwing the Weight, Rule 195.7 

Connection - The handle shall be connected to the head or to a harness in the following manner:

(a) After the handle, by means of no more than two steel links (loops), whose size shall be such that they cannot stretch while the implement is being thrown.

NOTE: Wire is not a suitable connector.

(b) For the All Metal Head, the links may be connected to the head by means of a swivel, which may be either plain or ball bearing, and is not considered an additional link. A swivel shall not be used to connect the handle to the link(s). 

(c) For a Filled Head or Harness, the use of links and swivel are optional. However, at least one shall be used and when used in combination, the swivel shall be attached to the head.

(d) A protective sleeve may be used around the links and/or swivel. 

IAAF Rule of the Month

Technical Manager, Rule 123

The Technical Manager shall be responsible for ensuring that:

(a) the track, runways, circles, arcs, sectors, landing areas for Field Events and all equipment and implements are in accordance with the Rules.

(b) the placement and removal of equipment and implements according to the technical organisational plan for the competition as approved by the Technical Delegate(s).

(c) the technical presentation of the competition areas is in accordance with such plan.

(d) the checking and marking of any personal implements permitted for the competition is according to Rule 187.2.

(e) he has received, or is aware of the existence of, the necessary certification under Rule 148.1 before the competition.

The Technical Manager acts under the authority of the Competition Director or the Meeting Manager but an experienced Technical Manager will undertake much of his role without any direction or supervision. He must be contactable at any time. If a Referee or a Field Event Chief Judge notices that the site where an event is taking place (or will take place) needs to be modified or improved, he must refer it to the Meeting Manager who will ask the Technical Manager to take the necessary action. Also, when a Referee feels that there is a need for a change of place of a competition (Rule 180.20) he will act the same way through 45 RULES 122, 123 IAAF COMPETITION RULES 2018-2019 Meeting Manager who will request the Technical Manager to carry out, or have carried out, the wishes of the Referee. It must be remembered that neither the wind strength nor its change of direction is sufficient condition to change the place of the competition.

Once the Competition Director, or for international competitions the Technical Delegates, has approved the implements list to be used during the events, the Technical Manager shall prepare, order and receive the various implements. For the latter, he or his team must then carefully check their weight and dimensions, and any personal implements that are permitted and submitted, in order to comply with the Rules. He must also ensure that Rule 260.17(d) is followed in both a correct and efficient manner if a Record is set. 

In relation to throwing implements, the information for manufacturers as to the range of equipment to be supplied to Organizers was removed from the Rules in 2017 and transferred to the documentation relating to the IAAF certification system. Technical Managers should however apply these guidelines when accepting new equipment from suppliers but should not reject implements submitted for or used in competition because they do not comply with this range. It is the minimum weight that is critical in this regard. 

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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 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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