USATF Officials Newsletter - October 2019

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October, 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Championship Application: The Officials Application for 2020 USATF Track and Field championship meets is available through October 15. Please navigate to noc.mach2k.netto find the link to the application. All Master and National Level Officials are eligible to apply for the:

  • USATF Indoor Championship - February 14-15, 2020 - Albuquerque, NM
  • USATF Indoor Combined Event Championship - Date/Site TBD
  • USATF U20 Championship - June 12-14, 2020 - Miramar, FL
  • US Olympic Track & Field Trials - June 19-28, 2020 - Eugene, OR

Selections will be made by the Officials Selection Committee on December 2-4 and announced on December 7 at the close of the USATF Annual Meeting.

All officials (including Apprentice and Association level) may submit their interest in the following meets. Their information will be forwarded to the respective Officials Coordinators. Officials will be selected by those meets.

  • USATF Hershey Youth Indoor Championships - TBA
  • USATF Masters Indoor Championships - March 13-15, 2020 - Baton Rouge, LA
  • USATF Masters Outdoor Championships - July 9-12, 2020 - Greensboro, NC
  • USATF National Youth Outdoor Championships - June 23-28, 2020 - Miramar, FL
  • USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships - July 27-August 2, 2020 - Jacksonville, FL

Congratulations to National Officials Hall of Fame Inductees: The names of the 2019 Hall of Fame inductees were announced a few weeks ago, but I wanted to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for these individuals.

  • Doug Allen
  • Roger Burbage
  • Carroll DeWeese
  • John Shirey

Each one of them has been a friend and mentor to me and are very much deserving of this honor. I hope you will be able to join us at the National Officials Hall of Fame Banqueton Friday, December 6, in Reno, NV. We will also recognize our National Award winners at the Banquet. We have received an outstanding list of nominees for those awards!

Outstanding Mentors: Officials from around the country continue to send me names of those who have had an impact on their careers through their mentoring. Please keep sending those names! We would not be where we are as officials, or as an organization, without the influence of these and so many others. The names that I have received in the past month are:

  • Paul Bodenshot
  • Donald Berry
  • Shirley Crowe
  • John Deardorf
  • Paula Everdell
  • Ivars Ikstrums
  • Mark Kostek
  • Bob Kreutz
  • Bob Langenbach
  • Carole Langenbach
  • Charley Ruter
  • John Stephens
  • Bob Sund
  • Mike Taylor
  • Fred Thomas

USATF Annual Meeting Schedule: This year's Annual Meeting will be in Reno, NV on Dec. 5-8. Details on N.O.C. meetings, events, and clinics will be posted soon. Make plans to join us! This is a great chance to get the "big picture" of the scope of USATF, of officiating across the country, and to get involved in our Sub-Committees. If you have questions about the Annual Meeting, let me know.

New NOC Grants for Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers: The NOC is instituting a grant program to help Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers develop their skills by working with experienced officials in championship settings. If you are interested in applying for one of these grants or would like more information, contact Mike Armstrong at

Don't Miss Renewing Your Background Check: The required Background Screens for officials are good for two years. You will receive email reminder 30-days before your screen expires. Be aware, however, that though it may come from "" and may be addressed to "Coach" it still applies to officials. If your Background Screen expires, your certification becomes invalid. If you have questions about when your Background Screen is set to expire, contact your Association Certification Chair.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at

Marty’s Training Tip

This time of year we leave the track and venture out to the cross country course, the roads, or trails. While I usually gear these tips to track and (mostly) field events, let’s not forget that our sport includes events outside the stadium as well.

Like many of you, I have been glued to the TV the last few days trying to catch as much of the competition at the IAAF World Championships in Doha as possible. The first World Championship medal awarded was for the Women’s Marathon. Those of you that watched saw the same thing I did – heat, humidity, and a finisher rate of less than 65%. Some of these elite athletes actually had to walk for a bit because they desperately wanted to finish, and they were reaching their limits. While the marathon is, and always will be, an endurance event filled with more strategy than most ordinary runners realize, this one was complicated by the conditions (the top US finisher was instructed by her coach to slow her normal pace by 25 seconds/mile to make sure she could complete the event, and she still managed to finish in 6th place!). Officials there did the best they could, and I am sure the IOC was watching to see what worked/didn’t prior to Tokyo next year. Conditions there could be very similar.

It was hot. It was humid. So . . .

The race started at midnight. It was staged on a loop (very similar to major race walk events) thus giving the athletes access to aid stations complete with individual fluids, water, and ice. Aside from making the logistics easier (one major aid station per loop as opposed to multiples scattered around the city), this also enabled the crowd to stay in touch with the racers throughout the event.

Obviously the budget for this event far exceeded what any of us can expect for a local race, but some of the same problems exist at venues around the country when staging a major road race. Continue Reading

Have fun out there, and experience a different side of USATF this fall. Have a great day, and as always, if you have any suggestions for new training tips, please forward them to me at

Young Officials Grant Report

We have completed the 2019 young officials grant program and have again provided the grant recipients with a rewarding experience. Here a few of the comments from the reports submitted by the recipients:

“I gained an incredible amount of experience, knowledge, and friends while working at the meet. As an EDM official, I was able to work with and gain significant experience with the javelin, discus, and hammer crews.”

“The experience was amazing. The athletes, administration, my fellow officials, and the venue was top notch.”

“My experience at this four-day long meet was very good. I have worked many meets, but never one with so many great officials at one venue. I was surprised by the number of officials working the shot-put, but it made me realize just how important it is to the athletes to have all bases of the event covered.”

“I've learned that you can be certified, but it doesn't mean you're experienced, and that is one thing I loved most about working this meet.”

“I applied for this meet to push myself out of my comfort zone working with people I am unfamiliar with. I am very glad I did.”

As you can see, this program is very rewarding and informing to the young officials in our organization. This program will be continued this next year and we encourage certification chairs to promote the opportunity to the officials.

Applications are now being accepted for the 2020 Young Officials Grant program. Certified officials who are 40 years of age or under, who have never officiated a USATF Senior Indoor or Outdoor, or U-20 championship meet are eligible to apply. Fifteen grants of $500 will be awarded to help offset travel costs for young officials to work the 2020 Youth Indoor, Youth Outdoor, Masters Indoor, Masters Outdoor, or Junior Olympics T&F meets. Please consider getting this word out to all of your officials, and posting the information on your website.

The application or scanned pdf copy must be received no later than December 15, 2019via email or U.S. Postal Service to:

Donald Berry
115 Searsmont Road
Belmont, ME 04952-3103
Email to:

Misc. Tidbits from the N.O.C Secretary

USATF Website: USATF is in the process of revamping their entire website. All content on the current website will be locked down on October 1, and their goal is to have the new site up and running by October 31. Navigation to our Officials pages on the site, and the content and appearance of those pages will change slightly; we’ll provide details, hopefully in our next newsletter.

Coming to the Annual Meeting? Then Join Us!

If the answer is yes than join the gang for an evening of socializing and celebration as four outstanding individuals are inducted into the National Officials Hall of Fame. You can reserve your seat by downloading the Banquet Flyer and follow the directions as all good officials do.

You Too Can Become an Implements Inspector by Cindy Slayton

At the 2018 USATF Annual Meeting, Mike Armstrong stated that we are in need of more implement inspectors and referees. Unless an official works the throws events, some officials may not even know exactly what implement inspectors do at the track meets. I have asked officials at meets what is an implement inspector and what do they do at meets? Some of the answers ranged from the officials that hang out in the equipment shed at track meets and watch the implements when they are not being used and keep them safe, where throwers sign up for their events, to officials that know in great detail about what an implement inspector does at the meets and one even offered to show me how to fix a loose discus. We need more implement inspectors. We are looking for officials that are interested in learning more about being an implements inspector, officials who are inspectors but want to learn more, and veteran officials willing to do clinics and mentor other officials and give them a chance to become the implement inspectors of the future.

“Implement inspection starts, at its core, with the rules of competition which define dimensional limits, minimum mass limits, shape, fit and finish of the throwing implements. It is both a science and an art. The science aspect includes understanding the technical definition of the implements, having measurement equipment that is appropriate for the task, and knowing how to make all the required measurements. The “art” aspect of inspection deals with the gray areas that are not addressed by the rules of competition, and adjusting the rigor of inspection to be commensurate with the level of competition that is being supported.” *

After reading the definition of Implement Inspection, how could any official not want to immediately want to learn how to become an inspector? Probably for the same reason that not all officials want to become starters. Maybe, maybe not, but we want to find those officials that would do well and enjoy this very important part of track and field. I asked some implements inspectors how or why they got started. One official said . . . .Continue Reading

Guidelines for USATF Officials Uniform

There has been some miss information recently regarding what a USATF Track and Field Official should wear when working at a meet. The Uniform guidelines were updated earlier this year and were approved by the N.O.C. In the March 2019 edition of the newsletter we posted a link to the new guidelines for uniforms. We again mentioned the uniform guidelines in the August edition along with the link. You may find it beneficial to review the guidelines by clinking on this link or by visiting the Official’s webpage. Check it out; it may not be as bad as you think.

The Uniform and Equipment Sub-Committee will be meeting at the Annual Meeting in Reno to address uniform issues and further uniform concerns. If you have some concerns with the uniform guidelines, discuss it with your certification chair who is a member of the N.O.C. so they can share it with the Uniform/Merchandised Subcommittee at the Annual Meeting.

NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rumor Control

The currently written NCAA field event timing rule has not changed. The NCAA will continue to utilize the 30 second clock for the 2019-2020 indoor and outdoor track and field season.

Hope this helps clarify any confusion.

Best regards and looking forward to seeing you all in Reno,

Mark Kostek  

Alabama Association Notes from Dora Sims

Check out the latest news from the Alabama Association by downloading their newsletter.

Laurie Boemker’s USATF Rule of the Month

Section VII ~ Long Distance and Road Events

The races shall be started in accordance with Rule 162.5, including the use of a cannon, air horn or like device. The commands and procedures for races longer than 400m, Rule 162.8, shall be used. The method of starting to be used must be explained prior to the start in such a manner that all participants will receive and understand the information. The athletes shall assemble on the start line in the manner determined by the organizers. In races which include a large number of competitors, a five-minute, three-minute and one-minute warning before the start of the race should be given. False starts in road races should not be recalled.

Section VIII ~ Cross Country, Mountain and Trail Running

Cross country and mountain running races shall be started by the activation of a suitable starting device. The commands for races longer than 400m should be used. See Rule 162.8. However, where a race will be started using a different procedure, such procedure should be clearly conveyed to all competitors either in writing or by public address announcement. A race may be recalled upon a false start or a fall which impacts the field within the first 100m.

IAAF Proposed Rule Changes ~ Rules 184, 185, 186 and 187 from Betsy Reed

At its annual Congress in September, the members of the IAAF will vote on a number of important rule changes that will take effect on November 1, 2019. Some of the most significant changes will be highlighted in the N.O.C. Newsletter during September and October.

>p>Language being deleted from the existing rule is indicated by strikethrough typeface, while language being added appears in bold typeface.

Rule 184 – General Conditions – Horizontal Jumps 
Take-off Board
3. The take-off shall be marked by a board sunk level with the runway and the surface of the landing area. The edge of the board which is nearer to the landing area shall be the take-off line. Immediately beyond the take-off line there shall may be placed a plasticine indicator board for the assistance of the Judges.

Note: Where in the construction of the runway and/or take-off board there was previously provision for the placement of a plasticine indicator board and such board is not used, this recess should be filled by a blanking board flush with the take-off board.

4. The take-off board shall be rectangular, made of wood or other suitable rigid material in which the spikes of an athlete’s shoe will grip and not skid and shall measure 1.22m ± 0.01m long, 0.20m ± 0.002m wide and not more than 0.10m deep. It shall be white. In order to ensure that the take-off line is clearly distinguishable and in contrast to the takeoff board, the ground immediately beyond the take-off line shall be in a color other than white. 

5. The use of video or other technology, to assist the Judges in deciding the application of Rule 185.1, is strongly recommended at all levels of competition. However, if no technology is available, a plasticine indicator board may still be used. 
The plasticine indicator board shall consist of a rigid board, 0.10m ± 0.002m wide and 1.22m ± 0.01m long made of wood or any other suitable material and shall be painted in a contrasting color to the take-off board. Where possible, the plasticine should be of a third contrasting color. The board shall be mounted in a recess or shelf in the runway, on the side of the take-off board nearer the landing area. The surface shall rise from the level of the take-off board to a height of 7mm ± 1mm. The edges shall either slant at an angle of 45° with the edge nearer to the runway covered with a plasticine layer along its length 1mm thick or shall be cut away such that the recess, when filled with plasticine, the surface of the plasticine nearer to the takeoff line shall slant be at an angle of 45° 90⁰(see Figure 184a).

[Figure 184a- Take-off board and plasticine indicator board]
The upper part of the indicator board shall also be covered for the first 10mm approximately and along its entire length, by a plasticine layer. 
When mounted in this recess, the whole assembly shall be sufficiently rigid to accept the full force of the athlete's foot.
The surface of the board beneath the plasticine shall be of a material in which the spikes of an athlete's shoe will grip and not skid. >br> The layer of plasticine can be smoothed off by means of a roller or suitably shaped scraper for the purposes of removing the footprint of an athlete.
Note: It will be found very helpful to have spare plasticine boards available so that, while a footprint is being eliminated, the competition is not delayed.

Commentary: This change means that a violation shall occur if the athlete’s shoe extends over the edge of the take-off board, regardless of whether the athlete’s shoe leaves a mark on the plasticine, or not, as the follow makes clear.

Rule 185 – Long Jump 
1. An athlete fails if:

    a. he while taking off, touches the ground (including any part of the plasticine board) beyond breaks the vertical plane of the take-off line with any part of his body foot/shoe, whether running up without jumping or in the act of jumping; or

Rationale for Change: According to the IAAF, the reason for this change is, “To make the judgment of the basic failure in the long jump and triple jump more understandable for the spectators and more simple to judge at all levels of competition.”

Note: Rule 186 – Triple Jump declares, “Rules 184 and 185 apply to the Triple Jump,” so these same changes apply to that event, as well.

Rule 187 – General Conditions – Throwing Events 
Official Implements
2. Except as provided below, all such implements shall be provided by the Organizers. The Technical Delegate(s) may, based on the applicable regulations of each competition, allow athletes to use their own personal implements or those provided by a supplier, provided that such implements are IAAF certified, checked and marked as approved by the Organizers before the competition and made available to all athletes. Such implements will not be accepted if the same model is already on the list of those provided by the Organizers. Unless the Technical Manager decides otherwise, not more than two implements may be submitted by any athlete for any throwing event in which he is competing.

Rationale for Change: According to the IAAF, the purpose for this is, “To provide a reasonable limit on the number of personal implements that each athlete can submit unless it is useful to the competition to accept more as determined by the Technical Manager.”


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Important Deadlines

  • Renew your background check: Check Now
  • USATF National Meet Application due October 15
  • Young Official Grant Application due December 15

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    Annual Meeting Information

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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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