USATF Officials Newsletter - August 2020

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


August, 2020

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

Thanks for supporting Atlanta's mission to rescue injured and orphaned wild animals and return them to their natural habitats. We wouldn't have the facilities, veterinarians and volunteer staff we do without your generous contributions of money and time. If you share our passion for wildlife rescue, please pass this email along to a friend who might consider becoming a Bear Hugs member. 

With gratitude, 


Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Now is the time to complete SafeSport and Background Screens
As we move into the fall, please take time to make sure your SafeSport and Background Screen are valid. If you have not completed SafeSport in the past 365 days, you will need to do that. You can check your status in both of these areas through your profile on USATF Connect (, as well as find links for any updates you need to do. If you are planning on applying for 2021 Championship meets, you need to get this done. If you have questions regarding your status or difficulty logging into USATF Connect, contact your Association Certification Chair.

Selections for 2020 Meets
Covid-19 brought with it a closing of most of the 2020 Track & Field season and questions about the officials selected to officiate the 2020 US Olympic Trials and the 2020 USATF U20 Championships. The NOC Officers, as well as our Law & Legislation Chair (John Murray), the Chairs of the Men’s and Women’s Track & Field Committees and the Athlete’s Advisory Committee (all of which have standing spots of the Selection Committee), and the USATF Legal Counsel have been a part of determining a plan. Please remember that all decisions are subject to review based on changing conditions across the country.

  • Officials Selected for the 2020 US Olympic Trials – Since the Olympic Trials were postponed and rescheduled for June 18-27, 2021 in Eugene, OR, the selections made for this meet will carry over to 2021. Those officials selected (including alternates) will receive an email in the next few days, asking them to confirm their availability for the 2021 Olympic Trials.
  • Officials Selected for the 2020 USATF U20 Championships – Since the U20 Championships were cancelled and not postponed, officials will have to re-apply for this meet. However, those selected in 2020 will have first consideration for the 2021 meet. At this time, I do not know when or where that meet will be held.

Selection Process for USATF Championship Meets
Since I have been Chair of the NOC, we have evaluated many of our processes, looking for ways to improve and grow. Even though we have a great organization built by many dedicated people, there are ways to make things better. We have done that with Evaluations, Certification, Official Development, Safety, and more. We have also done an evaluation of the selection process. The selection process is one that generates a lot of emotion and comment from officials around the country. I have received emails and have seen the Facebook threads. I have been through the process many times as an applicant (sometimes chosen and sometimes not) and I have been on the Selection Committee three times. What I will share in this article is information gathered from my experience, as well as input gathered from surveying many who have been a part of this process over the past three years. My goal is to provide insight into the process that will be helpful to you. It is a difficult process that will never satisfy everyone. There will always be those who are qualified to be selected but are not chosen.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


USATF Competition Rule Amendments Due

Just another reminder regarding the amendments.

Due to the many cancellations of USATF meets this year, there have been several requests regarding having the 2020 USATF Rules be used in the 2021 season. Regardless of how the USATF Annual Meeting is conducted, the Rules Committee will operate as they have done in the past. Depending on a number of factors, the 2020 Rule Book could remain in place with a file of changes that can be downloaded and printed to keep with your 2020 Rule Book or a 2021 Rule Book will be printed. The Rules Committee is going to operate as if a 2021 Rule Book would be printed.

The procedure for submitting these amendments is set forth in Article 21-E. Please send your ideas for amendments to me. I will review them and submit them to the Rules Committee.

The deadline to submit proposed rule changes to be considered by the USATF Rules Committee is Tuesday, September 1, 2020. Proposals can be sent to Thank you.

Laurie Boemker, Officials' Vice-Chair - Rules


Prefontaine Meet Canceled

The Oregon Track Club/Nike Prefontaine Classic meet will not be held in 2020. The 46th Annual Prefontaine meet was tentatively scheduled for October 4 at Hayward Field, Eugene, OR.

Wanda Diamond League officials canceled the meet due to the state of Oregon ban on large sports events and expected long term restrictions on international travel.

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. The Pre, one of the best invitational track and field meets in the world, is planned for 2021 but no date has been announced.


Marty’s Training Tip

Recently I have been sitting through the NACAC TOECS seminar for Apprentice Officials. Since that sounded like a lot of useless jargon and acronyms, let me explain. World Athletics (WA – formerly known as IAAF) divides the world into six regions (similar to FIFA for the soccer fans in the audience). NACAC is North America, Central America, and the Caribbean and as defined, the United States is a member country of NACAC (TOECS is the Technical Officials Education and Certification System). For most of the rest of the world, there are only two levels of officiating inside your country – Apprentice or Level 1. International officials are Level 2 (ATO or Area Technical Officials that work in their own region – for us that is NACAC) and Level 3 (ITO or International Technical Officials that receive assignments worldwide). This seminar has been led by the president of NACAC, Michael Serralta, with a handful of other folks from the NACAC region teaching specific areas. I asked to be included in this seminar even though I am already Level 1, because I wanted to see what I could learn. I wanted to see how the international community teaches, and I wanted to become better rounded as an official.

Sitting through four weeks of twice/week-two hour-Zoom meetings (followed by a smaller group Q&A session each time) enabled me to see the questions other officials have about training, and perhaps gain some insight into how to make our training better. One training concept that was reinforced is that people do not do well with rote memorization of random facts!

I know, for all of the teachers in the audience this comes as no surprise. So how do we help our constituents, both new and experienced officials alike, learn the rules and how to apply them properly?

If you are like me, knowing how and why something came to be a rule helps you to understand and internalize that rule. So, let’s go over some of the rules that have readily apparent antecedents.

Have a great day, and as always, if you have any suggestions for new training tips, please forward them to me at



Some Clarifications of World Para Athletics Rules by Carroll DeWeese

In May, 2020, World Para Athletics clarified some of their interpretation of rules to the WPA ITOs. The following is a list of some of the concerns and the interpretation of World Para Athletics.

Anti-doping and World Records
Some organizers have drug testing pre-arranged but ‘on call’ in case of a World or Regional record being broken. This is not permissible. In alignment with WPA Regulation 5, doping testing must be arranged in advance of the start of the first day of competition. The LOCs must make the necessary arrangements to ensure the national anti-doping authorities are physically present before the competition starts. “On call” arrangements between the LOC and the national anti-doping authorities are not permitted as they do not satisfy the anti-doping requirements outlined under this regulation.

EDM Checks
WPA Rule 2.23 “Measurement Judge (Scientific)” is in alignment with the World Athletics rules. The rules do not make any reference to measuring tolerance between the EDM and the calibrated certified steel tape when conducting the set of measurements prior and during the competition. Therefore, and as per the rules, to confirm that the equipment (EDM) is operating correctly before and during the competition, the relevant Referee must supervise and be in agreement with the results achieved using a calibrated certified steel tape.

Athlete Bibs 
During competition, the athletes’ bibs shall be visibly displayed on the chest and the back. There is no issue in placing the bib over a belt as long as it is placed in a way that the bib is still visible on the chest and would not be cut, folded or obscured. If the relevant Official on the field of play notices that the bib is not worn correctly (e.g., athletes placing the belt over the bib), the Official should request that the athlete remove the bib from the shirt and replace it on the front of the belt visibly to be compliant (as per comment to Rule 6.11).

Seated Throws
For seated throws that use a vertical bar for holding, Comment to Rule 35.1 reads ‘Such deviation should not usually exceed 5 degrees from the vertical.’ To clarify what is being said, a distinction is needed between “deviation” and “flexing” in the rules.

Deviation: the “Comment” under Rule 35.1 specifically refers to when a throwing frame is placed in the throwing circle or platform, where a deviation from “exactly perpendicular to the ground” may be permitted for the vertical bar. Such deviation should not usually exceed 5 degrees from the vertical. This refers to when the throwing frame is not in use.

Flexing: refers to when the throwing frame is in use. As per Rule 35.1(e) Note (i) “flexing must not be clear to the naked eye and in the opinion of the technical officials”. If the bar is flexing, the throw is a foul.

To download a copy of Carroll’s WPA Rules Clarifications click here.


State Association Profile ~ USATF New England Association

Geographic area covered by the Association: New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

The number of USATF Certified Officials: 85 (159 invalid certified officials. Many will recertify for the next Olympiad).

Recent training clinics for officials: The Association is focused on training officials on everything including World Para Athletics rules. Training clinics are hosted by the New England Association as well as a number of track and field officials groups within the Association: Massachusetts Track & Field Officials Assn (oldest, dating to 1930s, now covering only eastern MA), Central Massachusetts Track & Field Officials Assn, Western Massachusetts Track & Field Officials Assn, Rhode Island Track & Field Officials Guild, Granite State Track & Field Officials Assn, and Vermont Track & Field Officials Assn. These groups also provide most of the training and clinics at the local level. These groups are also the primary source for contracting and assigning officials to high schools and colleges. Some colleges in the region have started forming their own officials group utilizing their college students. The New England Association helps train the students.

Activities to recruit new officials: The New England Association is very active. Recruiting goes on year-around on multiple levels. Coaches (current and former), parents, former athletes, and high school students are prime recruiting targets.

Contact person for questions about the Iowa Association: Bob Gidari, certification chair,

Thanks to Phil Sutton for putting the association spotlight together each issue. Phil maybe contacting you next.


Newsletters from the Associations

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:


Laurie’s USATF Rule of the Month

High Jump and Pole Vault 

(180.6) Trials shall be recorded as follows:
(a) Except in High Jump and Pole Vault, a valid trial shall be indicated by the measurement taken. In High Jump and Pole Vault, it shall be indicated by the symbol ‘O’;

(b) A failure shall be indicated by the symbol ‘X’;

(c) If the athlete forgoes a trial (a pass) it shall be indicated by the symbol ‘-’.

(181.11) Crossbar - The crossbar shall be of fiberglass or other suitable material, circular in cross-section. The diameter of the circular bar shall be at 3cm (± 1mm). It shall be colored so as to be visible.

The crossbar shall consist of three parts: the circular bar and two end pieces, each 30- 35mm wide and 15-20cm long, for the purpose of resting on the supports of the uprights. These end pieces shall be hard and smooth. They shall be circular or semicircular with one clearly defined flat surface on which the bar rests on the crossbar supports (see Figure 7). These flat surfaces may not be higher than the center of the vertical cross-section of the crossbar. The crossbar shall have no bias and, when in place, shall sag a maximum of 2cm for the high jump and 3cm for the pole vault.

SUGGESTED CONTROL: Hang a 3kg weight in the middle of the crossbar when in position. It may sag a maximum of 7cm (High Jump) or 11cm (Pole Vault) with the end pieces and supports remaining in complete contact.


World Athletics Training Update from Betsy Reed

On-Line Version of the National Technical Official Assessment/Process

After several starts, stops, and delays, the on-line version of the Level I Technical Officials assessment – the National Technical Official test – will be ready to debut on August 15. Like other levels the NTO assessment includes a written assessment, followed by an oral section. The following is meant to help officials who want to pursue World Athletics Level I status by completing the process.

Who is Eligible to Take the Assessment? Any currently certified USATF Official who holds a rating of National or Master may attempt the assessment. You will need to provide your 10-digit USATF number, your Officials number, your level, and the name of your current Association. Even if you complete all elements, if a part of your certification is missing or lapsed (your background check, for example) you cannot earn NTO status.

Is the NTO a Requirement for the World Championships, or Similar Events? No, an official who applies to work at the 2022 World Championships, or any other meet under the auspices of World Athletics or NACAC, must be certified at the National or Master level. Those selected who do not hold the rank of NTO will receive NTO equivalency status for the duration of the event.

What does Holding the NTO Rank Get Me? The officials system in the United States differs greatly from those in other places. Many countries have apprentice officials and those who hold the Level I certification (the NTO level); and nothing else. Telling someone from another country that you are a Master or National official will (most likely) result in a blank look. If you plan to apply to work at an event in another country, like a World Masters Championship, you might be asked to provide evidence of your Level I status.

After several starts, stops, and delays, the on-line version of the Level I Technical Officials assessment – the National Technical Official test – will be ready to debut on August 15. Like other levels the NTO assessment includes a written assessment, followed by an oral section. The following is meant to help officials who want to pursue World Athletics Level I status by completing the process.


Please Wear a Mask


Did you get this newsletter from a friend?



Important Deadlines

  • Sept 1: Proposed USATF Competition Rule Amendments Due
  • Now: Review your background check status
  • You Are Late: Complete online SafeSport review

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 © 2020 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
130 East Washington Street, Suite 800
IndianapolisIN  46204

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