USATF Officials Monthly Newsletter January 2019

USATF Officials Monthly Newsletter Is this email not displaying correctly?
View it in your browser.


January 2019

Follow on Twitter Follow Us On Twitter
Friend on Facebook Join Our Group On Facebook
Forward to Friend Forward To A Friend

Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Mentors: A couple of months ago, I asked you to share with me the names of those who have mentored you in your officiating career. I received several great emails with stories of officials investing in the lives and careers of others. I cannot include all of those in this newsletter, but here are the names of those who were mentioned to me. Please continue to send me the stories of your mentors!

  • Ron Althoff – Ohio
  • Andy Bakjian - Southern California
  • Gordon Bocock - Kentucky
  • Bruce Davis - Oregon
  • Bob Gidari - New England
  • Finn Hansen - Utah
  • Bettina Huber - Oregon
  • Len Krsak - Ohio
  • Dick Lee - Oregon
  • Sue Polansky - Long Island
  • Dan Reynolds - Arizona

Background Screens: There has been some difficulty updating the certifications of those who have recently renewed their Background Screens. If you have renewed yours in the past 2-3 months, be sure to forward a copy of your "Green Light" email to your Association Certification Chair so that he or she has a record of it.

Plan now for future meets: There are exciting days ahead for track and field in the US with the 2021 IAAF World Championships and the 2028 Olympic Games on the calendar. These are meets that many desire to officiate and for which hundreds will apply. If that is your desire, whether you are a new or experienced official, begin to take steps now to position yourself to be considered for these competitions. Though there is never a guarantee of selection, as there are always more qualified applicants than spots available, there are things you can do to position yourself for consideration. Rob Buzaitis has written good article with ideas that can be found on the "Selection for Championships" page of the USATF Officials website. Some of recommendations are:

  • Travel to meets outside of your association. Traveling allows you to see how events are conducted in other places and learn how to function as a part of a team of officials from different places. This can include NCAA meets, conference championship meets, and major relay meets.
  • Work USATF Youth, Junior Olympic, and Masters Championship meets. These meets give you a chance to work in a championship setting using USATF rules. Most of these meets also include evaluations by head officials which provide valuable information to selection committees and to you on how to improve as an official.
  • Build your resume' in a variety of areas. There are some events that require fewer officials than others. It is wise to be experienced in multiple areas so that there are more spots that you can fill. But make sure that your resume' reflects that you have worked, are knowledgeable, and are certified in the areas for which you apply.
  • Begin applying now and continue to apply. Don't be discouraged if you aren't selected. It is not unusual for officials to not be selected every year. But if you don't apply you can't be selected.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


January is National Mentoring Month

Thanks to all Officials who have provided support and guidance, including helping our new and next generation of officials. Don't forget to celebrate your role as a mentor. Please continue passing the baton and making a lasting difference.


Reminders from Rich, N.O.C. Secretary

USATF Membership: This is a reminder that a current year USATF membership is required for continued certification in 2019. Renew your membership right now by going to this membership application page. Consider purchasing a membership for multiple years to save a few dollars, and so you won’t have to remember to do it every winter.

Annual Meeting Items: Minutes from the National Officials Committee General Sessions at the Annual Meeting, as well as annual reports from all NOC officers and Subcommittee Chairs can be viewed at this link to N.O.C. Meeting Minutes & Reports.


USA Delegation to NACAC Starter and Photo Finish Seminar

USATF sent a delegation of officials to the NACAC (North America, Central America and Caribbean Athletics Association) International Course for Starters and the Photo Finish International Judges Course for the NACAC Area. The seminars took place in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic in December.

Tiffany (Banks) Chin-Along of the Southwestern Association, Raymond Pierre of the Southwestern Association, Paul Poiesz of the Mid-Atlantic Association and Byron Turner of the Southern Association attended the NACAC Starter Training. Scott Chadez of the Arkansas Association attended the NACAC Photo Finish International Judges Training. Josh Klein of Delta Timing Group was a NACAC Photo Finish instructor. Thanks to Byron Turner for sharing the photo below.

Pictured left to right: Poiesz, Chadez, Pierre, Turner, Chin-Along, Klein


IAAF News ~ Newsletter

The International Association of Athletics Federations has posted their monthly summary of IAAF news for December 21, 2018. Click here to download your copy of Newsletter 198 today.


NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

Check out the most recent NCAA interpretations at

To download the new NCAA Rule Book (free), or to purchase it ($10.00 plus shipping), go to the NCAA T&F rule book site.

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


Marty’s Training Tip

As I end each of these tips, I ask for suggestions from the audience. This tip comes from a conversation I had with Mark Heckel. His comments helped crystallize an idea that had been germinating in my mind for a while. The topic this month: Soft Skills.

Each of us, as an official, should know the rules for the event we are working at the time. Which rule book, the interpretations and implementation, the mechanics? All of that is essential, but what we must remember is why we are there.

In every clinic I have taught or crew briefing I have given, I remind folks that the first thing we must do is ensure every competition is SAFE and FAIR. But that isn’t the end of our job. Click to continue reading . . .

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


USATF Officials Spotlight ~ Charles “Charlie” Couture, Oregon

If you happened to attend the Officials Hall of Fame Inductions in Columbus, you would have heard John Blackburn mention how as a young up and coming official he spent many hours grooming the sand at the horizontal jumps.

The Oregon Association has an official that just loves to groom the sand pits of Hayward Field. His name is Charles “Charlie” Couture and he is a horizontal jumps pit man extraordinaire.

His list of meets which includes the Prefontaine Classic, NCAA Championships and the 2016 Olympic Team Trials is impressive! He says that due to his personality, he prefers to prepare the pit because then he’ll rest assured that it’s been done to his satisfaction. All others in the crew, of course, are happy to step aside in pit preparation because it can be hard and sweaty work, and let’s face it, some folks are not as energetic in preparing a pit as others or as they should be.

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


Did You Know?

In the beginning when you became an USATF certified official, you were assigned a six digit identification number. Each new certified official would receive the next available number. No number was ever reused so you could tell quickly when you saw the badge of another official if they had been certified longer than yourself. Have you asked yourself, who has the most senior numbers that is still actively certified? To be actively certified means that they are a member of USATF, have taken SafeSport and completed a background check.

Write down the names of ten officials that you think meet the above and then go to the end of this newsletter to see who our most senior active officials are. Hint. All but one was certified since 1977.


Official’s Resources

Time Limits and Absences from Competition: This document contains time limits for field events in all types of competitions and has been updated with the new NCAA times. With its easy to read format, it’s great for your clipboard. Check it out in the Best Practices Library and select “Time Limits and Absences from Competition”.

Certification Upgrades: For individual officials and for Certification Chairs, we’ve posted useful information on certification level upgrades on the officials’ certification materialswebpages. There you’ll see the national criteria for upgrading from one level to the next; also an application for certification upgrade; and checklists of skills required for certification level upgrade in various disciplines.

Championship Officiating Opportunities: If you’d like to work conference championships, or major regional and national meets to gain experience and build your officiating resume, see a listing of the meets, dates, locations, and officiating applications at the Officials’ Championship Applications page.

NCAA D-II Indoor Qualification Standards: The NCAA has published men’s and women’s qualification standards for the 2019 D-II indoor national championships. These are of general interest, but particularly so when setting increments in the vertical jumps for D-II athletes (Rules 6-5.2 & 6-6.1).


USATF 2019 Competition Rules Book

Plans are the 2019 USATF Competition Rules Book will be available online by 1/15/2019.


USATF Rule of the Month

Field Events - General Rules Rule 180.11 - Times Allowed for Trials 

Notes will be added to the 2019 USATF Competition Rules Book to support Rule 180.11:

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.


IAAF Rule of the Month

Starter's Assistants, Rule 130.1 and 130.5 

130.1 - The Starter’s Assistants shall check that the athletes are competing in the correct heat or race and that their bibs are worn correctly.

130.5 - In case of a false start, the Starter’s Assistants shall proceed in accordance with Rule 162.9.

* This is the Clerk of Course responsibility under USATF. 


Para Athletics ~ “WPA Tether” by Carroll DeWeese

In the past a variety of tethers were allowed for use with blind athletes with a guide in competitions conducted under World Para Athletic (WPA) rules. A recent change was made in WPA rules that require a very specific kind and type of tether. Figure 1 below shows the required dimensions of the new tether which is now required for competitions under WPA rules:

In using the tether neither the blind athlete nor guide can touch the middle section during a race on the track or the road. The middle section has a different color to help officials see if either athlete is touching the middle section. Both can use their respective holding loop which has a different color than the middle section. The maximum overall length is 30 cm for track events and 50 cm for road events. The tether must be made from non-elastic material and not store energy and/or offer a performance gain to an athlete. Click to continue reading . . .


Answer to “Did You Know”

The ten most senior active officials are:

  1. Helene Britton, New York Association ~ 000218
  2. William Mongovan, Connecticut Association ~ 001080
  3. John Shirey, Pacific Association ~ 001250
  4. Robert Latham, Oregon ~ 001323
  5. Robert Podkaminer, Pacific Association ~ 001461
  6. Leon Glover PhD, Pacific Association ~ 001516
  7. James Hume, Pacific Association ~ 001519
  8. Robert Rush, Pacific Association ~ 001529
  9. Bonnie Hodge, Southern California Association ~ 001682
  10. Ede Richard, Southern California Association ~ 001713

Thanks goes to Roger Burbage for doing the data search and Win Eggers for the suggestion.


Continue Passing the Baton


Important Deadlines

  • December 31: Did your USATF membership expire?

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.

Copyright © 2019 USATF Officials Committee, All rights reserved. 
You are receiving this email because you are a current or past USATF Certified Official and previously signed up for our newsletter or other email updates. 

Our mailing address is: 
USATF Officials Committee
132 East Washington Street, Suite 800
Indianapolis, IN  46204

Add us to your address book
unsubscribe from this list | update subscription preferences