USATF Newsletter - June 2020

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June, 2020

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair


Though we have faced several weeks of hardships because of Covid-19, none of that has challenged our nation like the racial turmoil we are experiencing. One of the things that I love about my USATF family is the diversity and respect we bring to both the track and our relationships. I encourage you to stand together and listen to one another. Below is a statement issued by Max Siegel and the Board of Directors which I and the N.C.O. fully endorse:

USATF stands in solidarity with all people, including our athletes and members, who are affected by the egregious racist and violent acts in our country. As a federation, we condemn the violence against black men and women in our country and we stand against all forms of racism, bigotry and violence.
Max Siegel, USATF CEO; USATF Board of Directors

USATF Connect: You should have received an email from USATF introducing USATF Connect. This new website is designed to give you access to your information in the USATF database, including your USATF membership, SafeSport, Background Screen, and Officials Certification. The new site is a step forward and will continue to improve. Rich Schornstein has provided information below on how to access the site if you have not done so. As you check your profile, please let your Association Certification Chair know if there are things that do not look accurate.

IMPORTANT: The ability of your Association Certification Chair to update your information will be limited if your membership, SafeSport, or Background Screen are lapsed. Please be sure that these are updated as soon as possible.

USATF Membership: There is a discounted, four-year USATF Membership that is available only to Certified Officials. To access this: When you Login to your Personal Account, click "Current" or "View", click "Memberships", click "Status" (either "Current" or "Lapsed", and click "Change Membership Type". From the drop-down menu, they can select one or four-year memberships. It will need to be confirmed by the certification chair. Please note that you will not be able to extend your membership until your current membership is approaching its end.

SafeSport: The new system is tied directly into the US Center for SafeSport database. Therefore, if you have not completed the SafeSport course or a refresher course in the last 365 days you will not be listed as in compliance with US Center for SafeSport requirements. For example, in my Association only 34 of our almost 150 officials are listed as currently certified because of lapsed SafeSport issues. We have been told by the USATF National Office that our SafeSport will be valid through 2020. They have confirmed this but it does put USATF out of compliance with current US Center of SafeSport policies. So I ask that you complete this as soon as possible. Bringing your SafeSport up to date will be a benefit to you, your Association, and USATF. Also note that if you plan to apply for 2021 championship meets, this will need to be completed. You can access SafeSport training directly from your USATF Connect profile.

Background Screen: We have received notice from several who have current Background Screens but are shown as lapsed on the website. If this is not accurate on your profile, let your Association Certification know and include a copy of your Compliance Report from NCSI. If your Background Screen has lapsed, you can renew it from your USATF Connect profile. Note that the cost of a Background Screen is now $22 plus a processing fee.

Certifications: The certification disciplines on USATF Connect reflect the latest version of our Certification Regulations. If the disciplines on your profile do not look accurate, contact your Association Certification Chair.

Photos: Photos from the old system were not transferred over. You can do this yourself through your profile on USATF Connect. If you need assistance, your Association Certification Chair can help.

Guidelines for Returning to Competition: On June 1, USATF issued guidelines for returning to competition. Under the heading "Criteria for Entry to Facility or Participation" it states:

It is strongly recommended that individuals considered by the CDC to be “at-risk” not participate in the sanctioned event in any capacity. This would include:

  • individuals over the age of 65
  • individuals who live in nursing homes
  • individuals with underlying medical conditions, noted by the CDC, which place them at higher risk, such as chronic lung disease, moderate to severe asthma, diabetes, serious heart conditions, severe obesity (BMI > 40), chronic kidney or liver disease, and individuals who are immunocompromised or live with someone who is immunocompromised.

If these “at-risk” individuals choose to participate, it is recommended that they get clearance from their healthcare provider.

We encourage officials to take these recommendations seriously and to use wisdom in deciding to participate in meets. You can find the information here:

Selections for 2020/2021 Championship Meets: We are now in June and the US Olympic Trials and the USATF U20 Championships will not be held. We have been receiving questions regarding the status of the officials selected for those meets. The selection of officials for these meets is covered in USATF Regulations, but those regulations do not address an unforeseen circumstance as we have experienced. The N.C.O. officers are working with relevant USATF Committees (Men's Track & Field, Women's Track & Field, Athlete's Advisory, Law & Legislation, etc.) to determine the best plan of action.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Boathouse Outerwear Store Closes Monday

The USATF Outerwear Store has opened their doors and will remain open thru June 15. You can access the store via the following link:


Prefontaine Classic Set for October4

The Prefontaine Classic has been rescheduled for Sunday, October 4 at Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon. The meet was originally scheduled for June 6-7 but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The Prefontaine Classic is part of the Wanda Diamond League Series of 15 invitational meets held annually around the world. The Pre Classic is the only Diamond League meet held in the United States.

Shortly after the Diamond League announcement, the University of Oregon said it could not confirm the availability of Hayward Field for the October 4 date due to the uncertainty surrounding the reopening of the state of Oregon from pandemic restrictions. The Pre Classic Meet Director, Tom Jordan, indicated the date can be changed again if the university finds the schedule unacceptable.

If the 46th Annual Prefontaine Classic is held at Hayward Field in October, it would be the first meet staged at the newly renovated historic stadium, and it would likely be the only meet held at Hayward Field this year.

One USATF official is prepared just in case face masks are recommended or required at future track and field meets. Photo courtesy Phil Sutton, USATF Oregon.


Tidbits from Our N.O.C. Secretary

New USATF Website: You should have received a recent email from USATF titled “Welcome to USATF Connect.” This new site is their way of providing you with access to your information in their database. For officials, it’s a means to see your official’s profile and certification details.

If you’ve not received that mail, here’s how to access the new site: click on this “Recover Account” link. A screen will come up asking for your USATF member number, password, email, and date of birth. If you don’t know the number or password, click on their “Lookup Membership Number” button for assistance in retrieving them. Then enter the requested items and click on the “Recover Account” button. For additional help, here’s a link for tutorials on recovering an account:

Once you’ve entered your USATF Connect account, click on your name or the “Current” button to take you to your page. Click on “Profile”, and then click on the green “View/Edit Profile” button. We encourage you to then click through the next three screens and enter needed information; once done, click on “Save. Back on your page, you’ll be able to click on items in the menu column to see your certification disciplines and levels, background screening, SafeSport training, and more.

Officials’ Polo Shirt, USATF Rule Book, & Pins: Click here to purchase Certified Official shirts for a price of $55.00, plus shipping. Note: all officials who recertify for the new Olympiad late this year will receive one navy blue Nike officials’ polo shirt at no cost. At the same site you may order the current USATF rulebook. Contact your association Certification Chair for the required password. You can check on the shirt size on file by logging in to your account, clicking on the “Officials Certification Status” in the middle menu column, clicking on the green “Current” button, then on the next page, click on the Next” button at the bottom right of the screen, and finally selecting the correct t-shirt size. Your Certification Chair also has a new gold USATF Certified Official pin for you.


Rule Clarification from Laurie ~ Scratch Line

I have been receiving some questions regarding the "scratch line" for relays. This isn't a common term used in a couple other competition rules. Before the 30m exchange zone, it was the line indicating the center point of a relay race's 20m exchange zone. It has also been considered a line that marks the start of a race or a line that a competitor is not allowed to step over while performing certain events, such as the horizontal jumps. ,/p>

The following link is for a document and illustration that might help. It's left in word for those who may want to modify it. Another rule relating to relays is listed below as well. There have been some questions whether a runner places one or two marks on the track for relay races.

Any questions or if anyone has any rule changes they would like submitted, please let me know. Thank you.

Rule 170.5 Check Marks: When all or the first portion of a relay race is being run in lanes, a runner may place one check mark on the track within his/her own lane, by using self-adhesive tape, maximum 5cm x 40cm, of a distinctive color which cannot be confused with other permanent markings. For a cinder or grass track, the runner may make a check mark within his/her own lane by scratching the track. In either case no other check mark may be used.
NOTE: For Youth Athletics exception see Rule 302.2(f ).

Laurie Boemker, N.O.C. Vice-Chair of Rules


Rule Clarification No. 2 from Laurie ~ Shot Put Diameter

This is something I do need to bring to everyone's attention. Somehow there are two digital versions of the USATF 2020 Competition Rules regarding Rules 188.4. I have included links to both versions (page) below and what is in the WMA Competition Rules. The correct version is as follows: “* The maximum diameter for all outdoor shots used in Masters competition shall be 130mm.” If you look at the chart you will notice the asterisk doesn't apply to the 2 kg.

The hard copy is correct as well as the current 2020 digital version on-line. I've confirmed with the USATF Rules Committee Secretary, Masters Chair and Executive member of WMA. If your 2020 USATF Rules digital version has "* The maximum diameter for all outdoor shots used in Masters competition shall be 130mm for men and 110mm for the women" that is the incorrect version for 188.4.

Shot Put Diameter Clarification Document

Laurie Boemker, N.O.C. Vice-Chair of Rules


“Save the Watch”: A Tribute to Gene Edmonds by Cindy Slayton

What do you say about an official, coach, mentor, and friend like Gene Edmonds? He was “The Real Deal” an “Ultimate Official”. He would help you learn if you asked him to help you but he wouldn’t impose himself on you. Of all the comments I have heard about Gene Edmonds the most repeated comments are, “He led by example and mentored by example”. If he saw you making a mistake, he would help you understand what was wrong and how to fix the problem. . . . .”And for heaven’s sake, don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.” He was quiet, but when he said something, he was like “E. F. Hutton”. You needed to listen because he probably wasn’t going to repeat it. I only heard him raise his voice in anger one time in all the years I knew him. I was so glad it wasn’t me who caused him to be angry.

Gene didn’t walk from place to place, he lumbered. He kind of reminded me of a mountain man. He also would sometimes ride a scooter from place to place. He would blame it on his knees. He always wore a hat at the meets and carried around a clipboard. To this day when I carry a clipboard at meets, I think of him. Gene was very organized and prepared at the meets. At one meet it rained and rained. Our clipboards were getting wet. Worry not! Rose and Gene were quick to pull out a big handful of big plastic bags they had saved and recycled to put our clipboards in and still have room to write on the clipboard. My bag survived for four days of rain. He would write at the top right-hand corner of each heat/section sheet, “the check-in time, return time, escort, and race time”. In checking in the athletes at major meets and championships, this information was very important for clerks and the athletes. In 1996 at the Atlanta Olympic Trials, Gene showed up with this big stamper. He had developed a stamp with all the check-in information. All the clerks had to do was stamp the heat/section sheet in the top right-hand corner of the sheet and fill in the times in the blanks. I thought he was a genius!


Marty’s Training Tip

Marty is on the road doing what new retirees do. We will have him back in July.


Best Practices Updates from the Rich

The following documents have been updated and posted to the Best Practices Library:
   Clerking – Event Preparations
   High Jump – Event Preparations; Head Official Protocols
   Horizontals – Head Official Protocols
   Throws – Head Official Protocols; Safety Considerations; Officials’ Duties
   Other Disciplines - LDR Referee’s Case Book, Mar 2019

The following new item has been added to the library:
   Other Disciplines - Championship Cross Country Timing

As always, if you have an idea for a change, or for a new document, send your input to the Best Practices Editor at


World Para Athletics and Virtual Competitions by Carroll DeWeese

In this time of pandemic, some para groups are offering “Virtual” competitions. Any organizing committee may host virtual competitions in place of their planned competition, but they do so at their own discretion. Such a competition will not be sanctioned by World Para Athletics (WPA).

WPA only sanctions competitions which are delivered in accordance with the WPA Rules and Regulations. When applying for the sanctioning of a competition, an organizer is signing up to the following technical requirements:

Technical Requirements

  • A World Para Athletics certified Technical Delegate must be assigned to the approved competition.
  • A certified track certificate (or road course) issued by IAAF/NF must be included for the respective competition venue (or race course).
  • All events must be held in accordance with current World Para Athletics Rules and Regulations.
  • All events must be officiated by recognized National Technical Officials.
  • The events list and schedule must be forwarded to World Para Athletics subsequent to the competition approval.
  • All field events must be measured and recorded in metric measurements.
  • Automatic timing system is required for 100m, 200m, 400m and 800m.
  • 100m, 200m, Long Jump and Triple Jump results must include wind speeds.

Technical Delegates are appointed by WPA to ensure the rules are complied with, and therefore if an event is changed significantly, the assigned Technical Delegate informs WPA at their earliest convenience. If it is concluded that the rules are not being complied with, WPA will remove the sanctioning of an event.

WPA has been in contact with the organizing committees of all WPA Approved Competitions to ask for updates as to the status of the competition, many of which have cancelled or postponed. No virtual competitions are acceptable for WMA sanctions, records, qualifications, etc.


World Athletics Race Walking Guide Cont’d by Dan Pierce

In the last article about Race Walk officiating I mentioned five key situations/areas when Judges need to pay special attention, in all race walks:

The key danger areas, where close attention should be paid, are:

  • during the acceleration at the start,
  • while passing another walker,
  • during the finishing straight,
  • in the middle of a group,
  • around turning points.

In road races there are additional areas when Judges need to pay special attention.

The road areas that are very important to observe are:

  • Turning points,
  • Hill areas,
  • Sharp turns,
  • Drinking / Sponging and refreshment stations.

Turning points (in American English we say turns) are on both lists. Sharp turns can be the turn arounds and corners on a street or path, anything sharper than a turn on a track. Hills can be tougher for race walkers to negotiate, but they still must follow the rules. Aid stations are usually on roads, but can also be on tracks. Again race walkers must follow the rules through out the race, aid stations are not an exception.

Judges must pay attention to all race walkers, from start to finish. However Judges shouldn’t be overly harsh in application of the rules at any point of the race. These are just areas that Judges need to make sure are covered during an event.

Both of the bullet point quotations are from the World Athletics Race Walking Guide, it can be found at It’s an informative Guide, give it a look.

Got a race walking questions or topic suggestion? Send them to Dan Pierce at


Stories Still Needed, Can You Help?

Cindy Slayton of the Georgia Association and a member of the N.O.C. Communications Committee is still looking for stories about Hall of Famers Murray Sanford (Georgia) and Warren Ring (Metropolitan). If you have a story to share, please email Cindy at I know that she would appreciate your story. Thanks to those that sent her stories and pictures of Gene Edmonds.


State Association Profile ~ USATF Iowa Association

Geographic area covered by the Association: The entire state of Iowa.

The number of USATF Certified Officials: 171

Recent training clinics for officials: USATF-IA Officials Training at Drake University, USATF-IA Officials Training at Iowa University.

Activities to recruit new officials: We actively recruit college athletes at meets to assist with USATF youth summer meets, then hopefully retain them after graduation. We also have our current officials recruit as they are working meets. We are currently in the process of beginning a campaign to recruit graduating, or soon to graduate, high school and college athletes and provide an extensive training and mentoring program for them.

Contact person for questions about the Iowa Association: Jim Walczyk,, (515) 771-4246.


World Athletics News ~ May, 2020 Newsletter

The World Athletics (formerly international Association of Athletics Federations) has posted their monthly summary of World Athletics news dated May 29, 2020, Edition 213. Click here to download your copy today.


Newsletters from the Associations

The Iowa Association quarterly posts their newsletter “Track and Field Iowa”. You can download a current copy at the following link:

If you would like to share your association’s newsletter, we would be happy to include it. Just reply to this newsletter or send it to the following:


NFHS Set Guidelines for Reopening High School Athletics

The National Federation of State High school Associations has provided guidelines for reopening high school athletics. Click the following to download the NFHS Guidelines.


Laurie’s USATF Rule of the Month

With the uncertainty moving forward, the Rule below is something some of us may have to face, specifically the last sentence. Whether it may be for safety, social distancing, housing or whatever, officials who could do more events or duties may have a better chance getting selected. Now would be a good time to develop additional skills, look at our Best Practices, etc.

Article III Officials - Rule 110 Meet Personnel 
There shall be as many officials at a meet as are necessary for its orderly and efficient operation, and compliance with these rules. The size of the meet and the level of competition both play a role in determining the number of officials to be used at an event. In some cases, the number of officials conducting an event may be reduced significantly.


This Family is Official by Phil Sutton

The sport of track and field across the nation has been fortunate over the years to have more than one family member volunteer as an official. Some families have multiple generations who have served as track and field officials.

The Duffy family of Beaverton, OR, continues this tradition of family volunteerism. Four members of the family currently serve as officials. All four are USATF-Certified.

The Duffy family. Left to right: James, Laura, Gail and Patrick.

At many meets Patrick and Gail Duffy, husband and wife, are joined on the infield by daughter, Laura, and son, James. All four are members of the USATF Oregon Association.

Another daughter, Marlene, is not a track and field official, but she was recognized for many years as one of the top soccer officials in the world. She worked the Beijing and London Olympics as well as the Women’s World Cup competition. She retired from officiating in 2015.


* * Thank You Newsletter Contributors * *


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Important Deadlines

  • Now: Review your background check status
  • You Are Late: Complete online SafeSport review
  • Now: Hall of Fame nominations to Hall of Fame Chair Karen Krsak
  • Now: Referee Scenarios to Robt Kern


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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