USATF Officials Monthly Newsletter March

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March 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

As we move into the outdoor season, I want to remind you of that the safety of officials, athletes, coaches, spectators, media, etc. is the top priority of EVERY official. Watch out for one another. Make sure those who are assigned positions are physically capable of safely doing the job. Communicate safety protocols to volunteers and closely monitor them. If you see a situation that you feel is unsafe, communicate that to your head official, referee, and/or meet director. Let's make this an accident-free season.

USATF Membership and Background Screens: Please make sure that your USATF membership is renewed for 2019. Also, the Background Screens for many officials are expiring, so please be sure to keep it current. For details, contact your Association Certification Chair.

2019 USATF Rule Books: Certified officials can purchase the 2019 USATF Rule Book for $10 at this link: You can also purchase extra National Certified Officials shirts. A password is needed to access the site, as it is for Certified Officials only. To retrieve the password, please contact your association certification chair. Please do not share this with anyone who is not a USATF Certified Official.

National Officials' Uniform: The N.O.C.'s Uniform and Equipment Sub-Committee has recently updated the guidelines for our National Officials Uniform. You can find them here.

Mentors: I continue to receive emails regarding those who have served as mentors. Please keep sending them! Here are some more that have mentored others through the years:

  • Mike Armstrong
  • Laurie Boemker
  • James Grey
  • Phil Henson
  • Bill Hickman
  • Darlene Hickman
  • Bob Hooper
  • Bill Kelly
  • George Kleeman
  • Bob Latham
  • Delores Murray
  • Fred Newhouse
  • Dennis Olafson
  • Lawrie Robertson
  • Bill Roe
  • Thaddeus Sligh
  • Jim Williams

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at   

International Women's Day - March 8th

March is declared as National Women's History Month and International Women's Day which is March 8th. The 2019 campaign theme is #BalanceforBetter. The day celebrates "the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women". Big thanks to all and let’s give a standing ovation to the ladies for all you do and paving the way for generations to follow. On November 19th we celebrate International Men's Day.   

Marty’s Training Tip

The indoor season officially comes to a close this weekend with the various NCAA championships happening at locations across the country. Conference meets are over; the Masters Indoor was just completed; the USATF Indoor is finished, and all of the local JO/Association championships should be done as well. I worked my fair share of these meets, and I liked what I saw from the officials. Senior, more experienced officials teaching and training and making new folks part of the team. In short – MENTORING.

Mentoring is a subject we all talk about and rarely do on a formal basis. Those that are considered good mentors will tell you that mentoring is a very personal relationship and not something that can be dictated. You can’t simply hand out a checklist. You can’t provide an assignment and then walk away. You can’t read a name off a list or badge, give a clinic in the morning, and call it done. Mentoring takes time. Whether you are dealing with junior officials still in high school or simply a new official that has come to the sport as an adult, mentoring requires time and effort on your part.

I have heard horror stories over the years of officials whose only job for the first few years was to rake the pit, put up the crossbar, or pull tape. In some minds, this is a rite of passage that all new officials must undergo. Folks, I am here to tell you that I can’t disagree more! Our pool of officials is aging. At many meets, we struggle to get not just enough, but even a few competent, certified officials to run the events. By abusing new officials, by giving them the crappiest, most difficult and physically demanding tasks – exclusively and repeatedly – all we are doing is driving folks away. Do these tasks need to be mastered, YES! Are these important skills for all officials in that event, YES! But instead of restricting new officials to these jobs, there is a much better way to bring them into the sport and keep their enthusiasm high.

Please click here to continue reading. . .

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

Para Athletics ~ “Para Leg Impairment Rules” by Carroll DeWeese

Para Athletics have two classes of events: “T” and “F”. “T” stands for track events and “F” stands for field events. Following the “T” of “F” is a two-digit number that denote the classification of the athlete for events. For example, the following classes are given to athletes with lower leg deficiency (amputation/dysmelia) that may use a prostheses to compete:

Class 61: Athletes with bilateral above knee limb deficiency (amputation/dysmelia) competing with a prostheses
Class 62: Athletes with bilateral below knee limb deficiency (amputation/dysmelia) competing with a prostheses
Class 63: Athletes with unilateral above knee limb deficiency (amputation/dysmelia) competing with a prostheses
Class 64: Athletes with unilateral below knee limb deficiency (amputation/dysmelia) competing with a prostheses

Athletes with above or below knee impairments (impaired muscle power or range of motion) that compete without a prostheses have different classifications as follows:

Class 42: Unilateral/bilateral above the knee impairment (impaired muscle power or range of motion) that compete without a prostheses
Class 43: Bilateral below the knee impairment (impaired muscle power or range of motion) that compete without a prostheses
Class 44: Unilateral below the knee impairment (impaired muscle power or range of motion) that compete without a prostheses

Athletes with other challenges have different numbers. . . Please click here to continue reading

Webpage Updates Hall of Fame and Awards

Updates have been recently made to the N.O.C. Hall of Fame webpages except for the nomination form. This update was sent to National Office back in January but has not been uploaded to the page. It will not be long before the Hall of Fame Chair, Karen Krsak, will be calling for nominations. Until the current nomination form is made available on the webpage, you can follow this link to download the fillable PDF form.

As with the Hall of Fame webpages, the updated galleries for the respective N.O.C. Award were forward to the National Office in early January for updating. We appreciate your concern that the 2018 award winners be recognized and ask for your patience.   

NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

Check out the most recent NCAA interpretations at Last update was February 8, 2019.

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

Implements Inspector Clinic

USATF/Georgia Association is hosting an Implements Inspector Clinic. We are very happy to have Officials Hall of Fame Inductee Richard Messenger as our presenter. Richard, from West Virginia, is well known as an official, implements inspector, and referee. To help increase the numbers of implement inspectors in USATF, we are inviting officials from surrounding associations to attend this clinic. Space is limited; please contact Cindy Slayton by March 23th, if interested in attending the clinic.

Location: Atlanta Track Club Office, 201 Armour Drive, NE, Atlanta, GA 30424
Date: March 24, 2019, 1:30-4:30 pm
Contact: Cindy Slayton, USATF/Ga Association Officials Committee, Chair,
Audience: Implement Inspectors wanting to increase their knowledge and officials interested in becoming an implements inspector.

Athlete Uniform Guidelines

Those officials responsible for checking the athlete’s uniforms may find the following guidelines helpful: Athlete Uniform Guidelines. You can visit the USATF Competition Ruleswebpage for the original link. 

Best Practices Library - Recent updates or additions:

Many of the documents found in the Best Practices Library have been updated just in time for the outdoor season to start. Please visit the Library and check out these updates:

Field Events – General – Flight Coordinator Activities; Time Limits & Absences
High Jump – Head Official Protocols; Rules Comparison
Horizontal Jumps - Rules Comparison
Pole Vault - Head Official Protocols; Officials’ Duties; Pit Boss Reference Card; HS Instr & Preps; HS Pole Inspections
Throws - Rules Comparison; Instructions & Rules – NCAA; Throws Officials’ Duties
Clerking – Clerk Duties, Preparations, & Info
Starting - IAAF Starting Guidelines; Starter’s Monograph; Starter’s Duties, Preps, & Rules
Umpiring - Hurdle Heights & Placement
Meet Management – IAAF Video Recording; Games Committee Decisions

If you have a comment on the Best Practices Library or wish to make a submission, contact Rich Schornstein, the Best Practices Librarian.   

IAAF News ~ February 2019 Newsletter

The international Association of Athletics Federations has posted their monthly summary of IAAF news for February 27. 2019, Edition 200. Click here to download your copy today.   

USATF Rule of the Month - Electronic Measurement Judge - Rule 135.4

To ensure that the equipment is operating correctly, the Judge shall, before and after each event, personally supervise or conduct a set of measurements in conjunction with the equipment operator under the supervision of the Referee to verify the accuracy of the device against a known distance, such as certified steel tape or an independently certified distance such as 100m. A form of conformity shall be issued, signed by all those involved in the test and attached to the results card.

To add a footnote to the above noted rule, EDM operators must get in the habit of completing the Form of Conformity for every event, no matter the size or importance of the meet and turning said form into the event head so it can be included with the paper copy of the results that are given to the referee. This form demonstrates to all involved, be it fellow officials, competitors, coaches and spectators that all measurements made during the competition were accurate. The USATF form can be found in the Best Practices Library under the “Electronic Measurement” tab.   

IAAF Rule of the Month

Please check back next month.   

N.O.C. Newsletter Subscription Link

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Spring Your Clocks Forward

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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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