USATF Officials Monthly Newsletter 5/7/2019

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May 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Mentors: Here are the names of others who have been recognized as mentors to officials. If you get a chance, be sure and say "Thank You" to those who have mentored you:

  • Ken Caouette
  • Lori Maynard
  • Ed Kirk

Expanding your certification: I want to encourage you to consider these areas of certification . . .

  • Parathletics - Certification in Parathletics is conducted by US Parathletics, the National Governing Body for the sport, in cooperation with the National Officials Committee. Those certified in Parathletics must also be certified USATF officials. US Parathletics' certification website is being updated and as soon as it is up, we will let you know. There is a great need for Parathletic officials across the country. The US will also be hosting the 2028 Para Olympic Games in Los Angeles and there will be a need for certified and experienced officials for that meet.
  • National Technical Official - Betsy Reed, chair of the NOC's IAAF Technical Officials Sub-Committee, has information in this newsletter regarding the NTO certification process. This is the initial IAAF certification that is helpful if you desire to officiate meets in other countries. It will also increase your familiarity with IAAF rules and the IAAF testing process. It does not supersede our USATF certification for meets in the United States nor is it required for selection to championship meets, including international meets that are held in the United States.

Support Your Association Meets: Though the high school and college seasons are winding down, we are moving into a busy season of Association Championships. I can say from experience that it is frustrating to have USATF officials who work college, high school, and AAU meets but are unwilling to work their USATF Association meets. I encourage you to support USATF and make yourself available to serve the athletes of your association. Support your Association Championships!

Lessons from the Selection Process: For the past three years, I have observed or been a part of the Selection Committee for USATF Senior and U20 (Junior) Championship meets. I was asked to share with you some of the things that I have observed that might be helpful to you in the selection process.

  • Make sure you are certified in the areas for which you apply. If you regularly work in an area, make sure you are certified in it. Talk to your Association Chair to bring your certifications up to date.
  • Make sure your meet resume' reflects the events for which you applied.
  • Work outside of your area and Association. Working in meets outside of your home area demonstrates an ability to work in different settings with different people who may do things in different ways.
  • Let your Association Chair know when you apply for the USATF Championship meets next fall and ask him or her to complete their evaluation of you. Their evaluation is an important piece of information for the committee - especially for those officials who are new to national championship meets and may not be known by those on the Selection Committee.
  • APPLY. You cannot be selected if you do not apply. It is not unusual for officials to not be selected the first few times they apply or not to be selected every year. After all, there are many more application than there are available positions. But continue to apply. I do realize that the cost of travel does influence some when it comes to applying. Please know that those who are selected for the Senior and U20 (Junior) Championship meets receive a $100 a day stipend (up to a maximum of $500) that can help offset the travel costs.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at

USATF Annual Meeting

For planning purposes, the 2019 USATF Annual Meeting will be conducted in Reno, Nevada from Dec 4 to Dec 8. Details, when available, will be posted at this USATF website

Marty’s Training Tip

Hi Folks,

It is May now, and it is time to start thinking about the outdoor season for USATF. High school meets have been going on for the past month, and NCAA meets are rapidly heading towards the conference championship weekend. Our association USATF season is soon to follow, so as you prepare for all of these meets, there is something I would like you to consider: Combined Events.

Yes I said Combined Events – not Multis.

In my opinion, a combined event competition is the best training ground for any official, new to the sport or … more seasoned. Fields are usually small, and the officiating crew is correspondingly reduced. That means you have the opportunity to work outside your comfort zone. You get to see how different events are set up – high jump, pole vault, and long jump venues. You learn how to properly conduct warm ups safely in javelin, discus, and shotput. For those that don’t routinely venture onto the track, you learn how to umpire everything from hurdles to the curve in a 200/400, and you can experience the thrill of a pack of exhausted decathletes trying to stay off the curb and on their feet in a 1500. In short, you get to see all sides of a track meet in two short days. The experience you gain as an official is invaluable, and you also have a chance to get to know some of the best people in our sport – the combined event athletes! Their comradery and support for each other is something that must be experienced to be truly appreciated.

The CE competition is not without its challenges. The rules change, and as officials, we must understand the nuances in order to let these athletes shine as much as possible within the framework of the rules. Continue reading . . .

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

Para Rule Update by Carroll DeWeese

World Para Athletics has recently updated its rules to conform with recent IAAF rule changes.

The United States Paralympics provides an online course for officials that presents the International Paralympic Committee’s World Para Athletic (WPA) & Adaptive Track & Field USA (ATFUSA) exceptions to the IAAF rules for Track & Field. Following the course, an opportunity is provided to take the certification test to become a USA PARA Official. The course is useful for those learning how to become a para official and for experienced para officials to bring themselves up-to-date on the rules.

At the time of this writing, the USOC does not have the latest version on its website. It should be brought up-to-date with the next few weeks. For those interested in getting up-to-date sooner, I have attached the latest “Paralympic Track & Field Officials Training 2017-2020” that is scheduled for the website update. It is a 62-page pdf file. It covers the latest World Para Athletics (WPA) and Adaptive Track & Field USA (ATFUSA) rules.

To access and download the latest version, click on the following:

Once it is put on the United States Paralympic website, you can take the test to become a US para official if you choose. The United States Paralympic website link is as follows:

Frequently Asked Questions About: The NTO Program from Betsy Reed

Q: What is a “National Technical Official”?
A: The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the international governing body for track & field and race walking recognizes three levels of technical officials, Level I, Level II, and Level III. A National Technical Official (NTO) is a Level I Official recognized by the IAAF.

Q: What does having the NTO rating mean?
A: Holding the Level I rating allows an official certified by USA Track & Field (the National Governing Body, or NGB for the Unites States) to more easily apply to work at a meet in another country, like the World Masters’ Championships. Simply, it communicates to an Officials Coordinator that the holder is familiar with IAAF rules.

Q: Will being a NTO affect the selection process for national meets, especially the Olympic Trials or World Championships?
A: The selection criteria used by the committee appears in the National Officials Committee’s regulations. At this time, the regulations do not indicate anything about NTO status. However, since the World Championships operate under IAAF rules, not USATF Rules, having the knowledge can only help you.

Q: I am a Throws Official. It’s all I do, and all I want to do. Is there a special IAAF Throws test?
A: No. All of the IAAF Technical Officials’ assessments test knowledge of any/all of the Competition Rules that qualify as the “Technical Rules.” (Rules 100 to 265). These cover all disciplines, and the tests include questions addressing combined events, race walking, all of the field events, and running events of various distances. If learning that body of information does not appeal to you, the NTO program might not be for you.
[In the rest of the world, “athletics technical officials” work a wide variety of events; they often do not know what they will do prior to arriving at a meet. Our system of specialization is unusual, and can put officials who would like to work in other countries at a disadvantage.]

Q: Who is eligible to become a National Technical Official?
A: Any currently certified, active official who holds the rating of National or Master may pursue the NTO certification.

Click to continue the FAQ . . .

Want to Become a National Technical Official

If you are interested in becoming a National Technical Official, and would like to take the two-part test in person this spring/summer, please contact:

Betsy Reed at and provide the following information:

  1. Your name (as it appears on your Officials Badge);
  2. Your current level of certification (Master or National);
  3. Your Official's certification number and date of most recent certification;
  4. Your USATF Member number and expiration date;
  5. Where you would like to test (at Austin, Texas on June 5 and 6/7 or at Des Moines, Iowa on July 25 and 26/27); and
  6. Are you interested in purchasing a hard copy of the current IAAF Rules Book for $15.00?

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Betsy Reed at

USATF Officials Outerwear Store Extends Store Hours

Boathouse, the USATF Officials Outerwear Store was scheduled to close Monday, May 6 but needs just two orders for the pants to have the minimum. If you have been thinking about ordering a pair of pants please do so today so those that have placed their order may receive them. The store is not scheduled to be reopened until July and there is going to be a lot more rain to fall before track season ends. Jackets will also be available for purchase all of this week. Check out the USATF Officials Outerwear Store today.

NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

Check out the most recent NCAA interpretations at Last update was April 10, 2019

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

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.

  • Certification – Officials' Recruiting Brochure
  • Field Events – General – Time Limits & Absences From Competition; Flight Coordinator Activities
  • High Jump – Rules Comparison; Flight Coordinator Activities
  • Horizontal Jumps – Rules Comparison; Flight Coordinator Activities
  • Throws – Rules Comparison; Flight Coordinator Activities
  • Pole Vault – Flight Coordinator Activities

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 summer championship meets are available for your review on the NOC website at this link.

IAAF News ~ April 2019 Newsletter

The international Association of Athletics Federations has emailed the IAAF News Edition 202 dated April 26, 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

Time Allowed for Trials - General Rules – Field Events, Rule 180.12(a) 

12. (a) The official responsible for the event shall indicate by verbal and visual signal to the competitor that all is ready for the trial to begin, and the period allowed for that trial shall commence from that moment. If the competitor confirms his or her pass the official shall not require that the entire time for the next competitor commence until the time period for the passing competitor has elapsed. In the Pole Vault, the trial and the time allowed for it shall commence when the uprights have been adjusted to previous wishes of the competitor (see Rule 183.1(b)), at which time the official responsible for the event shall so indicate to the competitor. If the competitor wishes to make further adjustments of the uprights, it should be done during the applicable time limit.

NOTE 1: The officials and the Referee in particular must be fully aware of the current competition environment, including direction from Event Presentation, when deciding when to start the clock or to ‘time out’ and call a failure.

NOTE 2: Particular circumstances which should be taken into account are the availability of the runway for an athlete’s trial in High Jump and Javelin Throw, when Track Events are being held simultaneously in the same competition area, and the distance for athletes to walk to and through the cage to reach the circle to take their trial in Discus Throw and Hammer Throw.

The following tip was suggested by Kristine Lung, Official’s Chair of the Central California Association: Following the IAAF recommendation given after the time limit table, as a judge/flight coordinator, I ensure that the competition area is completely ready for the next trial before calling the athlete and then starting the clock. As flight coordinator to stop the confusion of the "up" command I have learned to use "____ is up, "_____ is on deck", and "______ is on hold". When the area is ready I say "____ you're the jumper/thrower." This has stopped the confusing of which "up" you are on for me.

Laurie’s reply: Excellent suggestion, Kristine. It's not just to ensure that the competition is ready but also to be able to determine just when the time starts. Every time an official says "___ is up," after an attempt has been measured, the time has to be restarted. It gets to be confusing.

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

Dealing with Ties: How Does the IAAF Solve for These?

The IAAF addresses the issue of ties during competition at Rule 167 (for running/track events) and at Rule 180.22 (for field events). In all cases, the rules acknowledge the possibility of a tie, and call for any tie that cannot be resolved through its procedures to be broken by a random act if the tie must be broken. [i.e.: In the 200m, with only 8 lanes available, the two tied athletes cannot both advance to the next round of the competition.]

RULE 167 – Ties
1. If the Judges or the Photo Finish Judges are unable to separate the athletes for any place [according to Rules 164.2, 165.18, 165.21 or 165.24 (as may be applicable)], it shall be determined to be a tie and the tie shall remain.

Tie for ranking position (according to Rule 166.3(b))
2. If there is a tie for any ranking position under Rule 166.3 (b), the Chief Photo Finish Judge shall consider the actual times recorded by the athletes to .001 second and if it is equal, it shall be determined to be a tie and lots shall be drawn to determine the higher ranking position.

Tie for last qualifying position based on place
3. If after the application of Rule 167.1, there is a tie for a last qualifying position based on place, if there are lanes or positions available (including lane sharing in 800m races) the tying athletes shall be placed in the next round. If that is not practicable lots shall be drawn to determine which athlete(s) shall be placed in the next round.
4. Where qualifying for the next round is based on place and time (e.g., the first three in each of two heats plus the next two fastest), and there is a tie for the last qualifying position based on place, placing the tied athletes in the next round shall reduce the number of athletes qualifying based on time.

Tie for last qualifying position based on time
5. If there is a tie for a last qualifying position based on time, the Chief Photo Finish Judge shall consider the actual times recorded by the athletes to .001 second and if it is equal, it shall be determined to be a tie. If there are lanes or positions available (including lane sharing in 800m races) the tying athletes shall be placed in the next round. If that is not practicable lots shall be drawn to determine which athlete(s) shall be placed in the next round.

Rule 180 – Ties in Field Events
22. Except for the High Jump and Pole Vault, the second best performance of the athletes having the same best performances shall determine whether there has been a tie. Then, if necessary, the third best, and so on. If the athletes are still equal following the application of this Rule 180.22, it shall be determined to be a tie. Except in Vertical Jumps, in the case of a tie for any place, including first place, the tie shall remain.

Expand Your Certification

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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