USATF Officials Newsletter - February, 2018


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February, 2018

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Notes from the Desk of Our Chair


Professionalism: In my role as Chair of the NOC, I am often informed of issues regarding officials around the country. Though it is not common, there are far too often situations where officials have acted in ways that are unprofessional and offensive to those around them.

  • There have been situations in which officials have been rude, demeaning, and disrespectful to athletes, coaches, volunteers, and other officials. Our Code of Ethics states that we are to "cooperate with fellow officials to conduct competition in a safe and professional manner. Be courteous and avoid confrontations or making derogatory comments to athletes, coaches, spectators, or other officials." Though there are times when an official may need to correct or instruct another official, it should be done in a manner that is encouraging and educational, not demeaning or disrespectful. It should also be done privately and not in public.
  • There have also been situations in which officials have acted, spoke, or communicated in ways that were suggestive, offensive, and inappropriate. Again, our Code of Ethics states that officials should "not engage in harassment by making unwelcome advances, remarks, or display of materials where such would create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment." This type of behavior is never acceptable.

If we desire athletes, coaches, and other officials to treat us like professionals, we need to be sure that we are conducting ourselves as such. Our speech and actions should, to the best of our ability, be above reproach.

2018 USATF Outdoor Championship Sites: The sites for the USATF Outdoor Championship meets have finally been announced. The USATF Junior Outdoor Championships (June 15-17) will be at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN and USATF Senior Outdoor Championships (June 22-24) will be at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.

2018 USATF Membership: Please make sure that your USATF membership is renewed for 2018. A current membership is needed for certification, along with a current background screen and SafeSport certification.

Paralympic Officials Certification: The Paralympic Committee is updating their certification exam and that process should be complete in the next couple of weeks. Both the 2021 IAAF World Championships and the 2028 Olympic Games will include Paralympic competition so, if you're interested in working those meets, you should get your certification and start working Paralympic events now to position yourself as a candidate for those events. To be certified as a Para official, go to and click on the Official’s course, review the course and take the 25 question test. Upon submitting the test for scoring, your test will be graded and, if you pass, your results will be sent to the USATF National Office and the NOC.

National Officials Shirt: Just a reminder that, as of Feb. 2, there are 350 officials who have not received their national shirt because they have not entered their shirt size. If you have not received your shirt, please check your USATF membership profile. You can enter your size there or contact your Association Certification Chair.

Official's Profile: The Officials Profiles that were a part of the old system are currently no longer available. We are working with the USATF national office to restore this information (or something similar to it) in the future. We will keep you posted.

Young Officials Grant Recipients: As was noted in last month's newsletter, we had a record number of applicants for our 2018 Young Official Grants. These grants give $500 to help officials under the age of 40 to work USATF national championship meets and gain valuable experience. Congratulations to our 2018 recipients:

  • Shelton Boutte - Southern Association 
  • Brian Campbell - Kentucky Association 
  • Laura Duffy - Oregon Association 
  • Daniel Egan - Niagara Association 
  • Chelsea Flowers - Michigan Association 
  • Leroy Harper - Virginia Association 
  • Landen Lama - Ohio Association 
  • Brandon Lemmons - Southwestern Association 
  • Frank Martinek - Lake Erie Association 
  • Brianna Mitchell - Ohio Association 
  • Kylie Morris - New England Association 
  • Phillip Pillin - Ohio Association 
  • Aaron Teegarden - Kentucky Association 
  • Reginald Winston - Alabama Association 
  • Mychal Word - Southern Association 

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Boathouse Officials Apparel Store Open

Sorry for the short notice but the Boathouse Team Store has reopened the USATF Officials Outerwear Store. The USATF Officials Outerwear Store only opens a few times a year for a short period of time. The Store is currently opened until Monday February 19 (Washington’s Birthday). If you are in need of a new USATF Officials Jacket or Rain Suit visit the store at the link below.

Remember that all of the Boathouse outerwear is made from start to finish in Philadelphia. It is a product of the USA.


USATF Rule Books

The USATF Rule Books are available for download to your readers and smart phones at You can also find a link at that same location to the 2018 – 2019 IAAF Rule Book. The paper copies of the USATF Rule Book are still at the printers but are expected to be available by the middle of February. As soon as they are available, a link will be posted under the "latest news" found on the National Officials web page at


USATF Rule of the Month - Throwing Events, Rule 187.1 (b) (NOTE) - New Rule

NOTE: It will not be considered a failure if the touch is made without providing any propulsion and occurs during any first rotation at a point completely behind the white line which is drawn outside the circle running, theoretically, through the center of the circle.

The addition of the Note applies to rotational techniques used by athletes in throwing events. It should be interpreted that any "incidental" touch of the top of the rim or the ground outside in respect of the back half of the circle during the first rotation should not of itself be regarded as a failure. However, it is clear that any technique which thereby obtains an advantage through leverage or propulsion would constitute a failure.

"Time Allowed For Trials"

*Rule changes made by IAAF affected USATF Rules. Regarding the IAAF Rule below, refer to USATF 180.11 that was adopted. Highlights of USATF Rule 180.11 include, “Time in Minutes for Initiating a Field Event Trial” chart remains the same EXCEPT the time to initiate a trial when there are more than three competitors or when the competitor is taking the very first trial. That time will be 0.5 minutes (30 seconds). Pole Vault remains at 1 minute. This change does not apply to Youth Athletics. Also, consecutive trials applies within or between a bar height.


IAAF Rule of the Month - Time Allowed for Trials, Rule 180.17

The official responsible shall indicate to an athlete that all is ready for the trial to begin, and the period allowed for this trial shall commence from that moment.

For the Pole Vault, the time shall begin when the crossbar has been adjusted according to the previous wishes of the athlete. No additional time will be allowed for further adjustment. If the time allowed elapses after an athlete has started his trial, that trial should not be disallowed.

If after the time for a trial has begun, an athlete decides not to attempt that trial, it shall be considered a failure once that period allowed for the trial has elapsed.

The following times shall not be exceeded. If the time is exceeded, unless a determination is made under Rule 180.18, the trial shall be recorded as a failure:

 Total # of Athletes     Individual Events    Combined Events
 Competing at the
 Start of the Round
  HJ   PV  Other   HJ   PV  Other
 More than 3   0.5   1.0   0.5   0.5   1.0   0.5
 2 or 3   1.5   2.0   1.0   1.5   2.0   1.0
 1   3.0   5.0    -   2.0   3.0    -
 Consecutive Trials   2.0   3.0   2.0   2.0   3.0   2.0

Note (i): A clock which shows the remaining time allowed for a trial should be visible to an athlete. In addition, an official shall raise and keep raised, a yellow flag, or otherwise indicate, during the final 15 seconds of the time allowed.

Note (ii): In the High Jump and Pole Vault, any change in the time period allowed for a trial, except the time specified for consecutive trials, shall not be applied until the bar is raised to a new height. In the other Field Events, except for the time specified for consecutive trials, the time limit allowed will not change.

Note (iii): When calculating the number of athletes remaining in the competition, this shall include those athletes who could be involved in a jump off for first place.

Note (iv): When only one athlete (who has won the competition) remains in High jump or Pole Vault and is attempting a World Record or other record relevant to the competition, the time limit shall be increased by one minute beyond those set out above.

Comment in IAAF Competition Rule Book:

Whilst the Judges should always use a system which notifies or calls the next athlete who is to take his trial plus the one who is to follow, this is essential when the time allowed for an athlete to take his trial is 30 seconds or one minute. They must also ensure that the competition area is completely ready for the next trial before calling the athlete and then starting the clock. The Judges and the Referee in particular must be fully aware of the current competition environment when deciding when to start the clock or to “time out” and call a failure. 

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.

To be clear, the time limit will not change in the final round of any horizontal Field Event, once only 2 or 3 athletes remain to take their trials. The 1 minute time limit only applies when a horizontal Field Event has only 2 or 3 athletes on the original start list (except for the very first trial of each athlete).

Do you have a rule you would like to see featured? Send it to Laurie at


World Para Athletics - Horizontals - Rule 27.10

For athletes in Sport Classes T11 and T12 (Visually Impaired) all jumps shall be measured from the nearest break in the landing area perpendicular to the nearest impression (footprint) left by the take-off foot or its extension. Where an athlete does not take off from the take-off area, but before it, measurement will be made to the edge of the take-off area furthest from the landing area.


NFHS Pre-Meet Notes

The Pre-Meet Notes have been posted on the NFHS website as well as the NFHS Officials Central Hub, available to all officials who are members or the NFHS Officials Association. For your convenience, provided below is the link to the site. Please feel free to share this online publication.

Did You Know?

In the early 1900's, both the 110 meter hurdles and the 400 meter hurdles, no record was allowed if any hurdle was knocked down. If three or more hurdles were knocked down by a runner, it was a disqualification.


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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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