USATF Officials Newsletter - December 2019

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December, 2019

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

Thanks to all who were a part of the USATF Annual Meeting in Reno, NV. It was a great gathering that was made possible by the efforts of many. You can find much of the meeting documented at the Annual Meeting Document Library. Plan now to be in Reno for next year's meeting on Dec. 2-6, 2020.

2019 was a year of continued progress for the National Officials Committee. Some highlights were:

  • It was a year to honor our mentors with 73 mentioned in our newsletter during 2019.
  • We currently have approximately 4,900 certified officials with an average age of 57. That age is down from recent years.
  • We have increased our efforts to develop officials with 15 Young Officials Grants, 2 Implement Inspectors Grants, 2 Technical Manager Grants, and a partnership with the Diversity & Leadership Committee on Apprentice Referee Grants.
  • We have increased our efforts in training officials in EDM and EDR by purchasing equipment and holding clinics in Texas, New York, and Oregon. Over 160 officials were trained in these areas and more clinics are scheduled across the country in 2020.
  • We have great involvement on our sub-committees with officials from across the country. Over 90% of our sub-committees are active. This broad-based input makes us stronger.
  • We have improved our evaluation process for officials. In 2019 we increased the number of evaluations by 50% from the year before and the number of disagreements decreased by over 50% from the previous year.
  • A Law & Legislation proposal that we put forward was passed. This will allow the N.O.C. to have one more voice on the Officials' Selection Committee. We will now have three of the ten standing positions.
  • I was able to recognize some of the contributors to the N.O.C. over the past year. Receiving 2020 Chair Awards were Curt Broek (Iowa Association), Bob Gidari (New England Association), Marvin Jones (Hawaii Association), Karen Krsak (Ohio Association), Rod Larsen (Florida Association), Phil Leake (Pacific Association), Patty Mitchell (Ohio Association), Delores Murray (Southwestern Association), Zack Raubuck (National Office), John Shirey (Pacific Association), James Williams (Florida Association)

Young Officials Grant: The deadline to apply for our Young Officials Grants is Dec. 15. These are designed to help officials 40 and younger gain championship experience at USATF Youth, Junior Olympic, or Masters' national championship meets. You can find more information on the Young Officials Grant web page.

New N.O.C. Grants for Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers: The N.O.C. is instituting a grant program to help Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers develop their skills by working with experienced officials in championship settings. The application deadline is Dec. 15. 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.

Take the Time to Update Your SafeSport: If you have not completed SafeSport in 2018 or 2019, you will need to do that. You can renew at The slower schedule during the holidays would be a good time to do this! Also remember that, starting in 2020, an annual "refresher" course will be required. This will take 20-30 minutes to complete.

2020 USATF Membership: Please make sure that your USATF membership is renewed for 2020. A current membership is needed for certification, along with a current background screen and SafeSport certification.

2020 Selections: There were 491 officials who applied for one or more of the 2020 Senior or U20 USATF Championship meets. Unfortunately, there were far more qualified officials who applied than there were positions available. If you were not selected to the meets for which you applied, I encourage you to not lose heart and to continue to work and apply. There are still many championship meets that need your skills and expertise and that will enhance your chances for future selections. The selection list can be found here.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Marty’s Training Tip

This month I would like to talk about some of the lessons learned at the recently completed USATF Annual Meeting in Reno. The Training Committee put on two sessions of the Referee Scenarios as well as four individual clinics. In addition, we heard presentations from both the US Center for SafeSport and the underwriter for the Officials’ liability insurance carrier. I would like to highlight a few points from those sessions:

Rules updates from the various ruling bodies (NFHS, NCAA, USATF, WA, WMA):

  • NFHS – will move to the 30m exchange zone with no acceleration zone similar to the zones used in both national and international competitions. If the incoming leg is 200m or less, the zone will be 30m. If the incoming leg is >200m, the zone will be 20m. There is no longer an acceleration zone anywhere.
  • NFHS – the practice of “running back” to determine the starting mark for athletes in the horizontals, pole vault and javelin is no longer legal. This has been a serious safety issue in the past, so make sure it’s not happening at your venues!
  • NCAA – the 30 second clock remains in force! The NCAA may revisit this issue with the 2021-2022 rule book, but for now the rule is unchanged.
  • USATF – even though this isn’t technically a rules year, USATF still considers rule changes to correct grammar, language, common usage or to conform to WA rules. Our NOC Vice-Chair for Rules, Ms. Laurie Boemker will be putting out a synopsis of the rules changes and distributing it to certification chairs in the near future. Make sure your certification chair has a copy for you as there is some great information included. With that said, here are a few highlights:
  • The USATF rule book now officially allows for the measurement of a mark under protest. This has been common practice at national championships where video review has been available, but now it is specifically allowed in the rule book.
  • The Plasticine rule adopted by WA (but not going into effect until November 2020 – after the Olympics in Tokyo) has been tabled by USATF. We’ll see how it plays out for WA and then make a determination.
  • Also, as a point of clarification from the Doha World Championships that started so late in the day because of heat/weather, both the decathlon and heptathlon must take place over two consecutive 24 hour periods – not calendar days.
  • The 30 second time period for USATF and Masters (according to the scorecard released at the conclusion of the annual meeting) events is gone.

SafeSport is valid for officials through 2020, however, we are encouraged to take the online course as soon as possible if it has been more than two years since you took the class online or in person! Once this is complete (approximately 90 minutes online), annual refresher training over one of the modules will be required. This is a legal requirement for all persons in our sport under S.534. We are also Mandatory Reporters. If you’re not sure what that means – take the SafeSport training.

USATF national office pays for the liability insurance policy for certified officials at both sanctioned and non-sanctioned events. The event still must be an organized sporting event competition by a recognized sports entity (this includes schools). This is a huge benefit for officials, and should be something we emphasize when recruiting and retaining officials.

The clinics at the annual meeting are always a huge benefit for officials. The referee scenarios generate not only great discussions, but they are an insight into the decision making process employed by referees. Next year we will have a clinic on the referee decision making process – separate from the referee scenarios. After the Throws Safety clinic was interrupted by so many questions on how to actually conduct a throwing event, we decided it was time to have a clinic on the actual process of conducting a throwing event. Our third clinic will be on clerking – the details of call room versus line clerk have yet to be decided, but we will definitely have a clerking clinic.

Every year I come home from the annual meeting an unlikely combination of exhausted and energized. Exhausted, because over a three day period I will attend, chair, or present in fourteen or more meetings. Energized, because interacting with all of the great officials, hearing their ideas, and seeing the enthusiasm they bring to the sport gets me ready for another year of track and field. My 2020 season starts Saturday morning – I hope you find time to get out on the track and support local youth, high school, collegiate and open events in your area very soon. ()

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


Misc. Tidbits from the N.O.C. Secretary

New USATF Website: The new USATF website is up and running. As with any change, it’ll take some getting used to, and it definitely has had some growing pains.

For the basic USATF website, go to For officials’ matters, in the menu bar at the top of the page, select ”Programs”, then scroll down and select “Officials”. There you’ll see three rows of icons depicting the major sections of our pages. Click on the one you want and get more detailed information on the succeeding page(s). And, when you can, click through the other sections to see what content is there.

Best Practices: You can navigate to the Best Practices library as indicated above, or at this link.  Note: On the Best Practices page there are six major field buttons. After you click on any of them, you’ll get a screen with several blue banners; click on a selected banner to bring up a “booklet” with all of the individual Best Practices & Resources documents.

Check out the following items which have been updated in recent months:

  • All Field Events – Flight Coordinator Activities
  • Pole Vault - Officials Duties
  • Safety – Training Outline
  • High Jump – Rules Comparison; Instructions to Athletes
  • Certification – Upgrade Application; Cert Chair Guide
  • Throws – Instructions to Athletes - - Throws, Ultra Weight
  • Evaluations – Eval Guidelines; Evaluation Forms
  • Officials’ Coordinators – Championshp Planning; Pre-Meet Notes

As always, if you have a suggestion for a new item, or a revision to an existing Best Practice, send that to the Editor at

Officials’ Meet Applications: Be sure to check officials’ applications for national, regional, and conference championship meets. In the Officials Area of the USATF website, go to “Meets Needing Officials”, and be sure to check back from time to time for newly posted applications.


December 2019 USA Paralympic Athletics Update by Carroll DeWeese

This past year the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee has not been fully staffed in its leadership positions in Para Track and Field. Anyone that has questions related to United States Para Track and Field can contact Sherrice Fox, the Associate Director of Para Track/Field Sports Operations for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee. She may not initially have the answers since she is still getting up to speed on all the activities of para track and field. She will, however, follow up to get answers and take necessary actions.

According to Sherrie, in the coming months, steps are being taken to simplify the testing and notification processes for officials. More on that when I get the details.

In other news, Minneapolis has been selected as the site for the 2020 Paralympic Trials which will be held from June 25 to 28, 2020. Up to 400 athletes are expected to compete for a chance to represent Team USA at the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which will run from August 25 – September 6, 2020 with nearly 4,250 athletes from 160 expected countries. No details are yet available for selection of officials that wish to help officiate the Paralympic Trials.

Sherice Fox can be contacted as follows:
    Sherrice Fox | Assoc. Dir., Para Track/Field Sport Ops
    United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
    1 Olympic Plaza
    Colorado Springs, Colorado 80909
    +1 719-866-3353[o], +1 719-439-6850[m], +1 719-866-2029[f]


Update on National Technical Officials Testing from Betsy Reed

On December 3, World Athletics released the on-line version of its new rules book. All rules have been re-numbered, and can be found at:

During an executive session at the annual meeting, the National Officials Committee Board voted to move forward with an on-line assessment. Once new test questions have been developed (in light of the rules changes approved by the World Athletics Congress and posted last week) it will be available, most likely, at some point in January.

Any USATF official who holds the rating of National or Master may attempt the assessment by sending a request to: Once the request is received and eligibility is verified, you will receive an email with a single use access code and link to the test. The test must be completed in a single session of two hours. Later, you will have the opportunity to complete the oral assessment, which is administered by two examiners and consists of three questions/situations: one track, one field, and one from the combined events. The written assessment requires a passing score of 80, and two of the oral assessments must be answered correctly; everyone who takes the written assessment will have the opportunity to take the oral part.

The NTO assessment is guaranteed to be available for in-person testing during the Olympic Trials, and at the 2020 Annual Meeting. Other administrations might be possible, depending upon meet schedules, and will be announced in the newsletter if circumstances will permit.


The N.O.C. Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet

The National Officials Hall of Fame and Awards Banquet was a success thanks to all of those who attended. We had a record number of people attending at 304. Mike Armstrong handed out the Chair Awards, the Hall of Fame speakers were all excellent and each deserving of the award and entry into the Hall of Fame.

Gordon handled the National Awards and all went to very deserving individuals. The evening ended around 9:30 pm with pictures.

I’m looking forward to another year of nominations and awards at our banquet next year.

Karen Krsak
Chair, National Officials Hall of Fame


Thank You Note from Hall of Fame Inductee Carroll DeWeese

“As many of you know, Doug Allen, Roger Burbage, John Shirey, and myself were inducted into the USATF Officials Hall of Fame at the 2019 USATF Annual Meeting at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, Nevada. Many people asked to get a text copy of my acceptance talk. I spoke from the heart and did not have a text. I tried to recall what I said or meant to say and have made a copy for those who are interested in my acceptance talk. I have attached a copy for those who are interested." Carroll’s Acceptance Speech.

"Thank you for my selection and for all that each of you do.”


National Officials Awards Ceremony and Hall of Fame Induction

The 2019 USATF National Official’s Committee Award Program and Hall of Fame Inductions ceremony was conducted at the Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada. This year’s award winners were:

Hall of Fame Inductees

  • Doug Allen – Kentucky Association
  • Roger Burbage – North Carolina Association
  • Carroll DeWeese – Michigan Association
  • John Shirey – Pacific Association

Andy Bakjian Outstanding Service Award

  • David Snyder – Southern California Association

Horace Crow Outstanding Field Event Award

  • Patrick Lavelle – New England Association

Charles Ruter Outstanding Running Event Award

  • Larry Henning – Indiana Association

John Davis Humanitarian Award

  • Zakia Haywood – New York Association

James Grey Leadership Award

  • E. Scott Rose – Ohio Association

Lori Maynard Race Walk Award

  • Dan Pierce – Colorado Association

N.O.C Chair Awards

  • Curtis Broek – Iowa Association
  • Robert Gidari – New England Association
  • Marvin Jones – Hawaii Association
  • Karen Krsak – Ohio Association
  • Rod Larsen – Florida Association
  • Phillip Leake – Pacific Association
  • Patty Mitchell – Ohio Association
  • Delores Murray – Southwestern Association
  • John Shirey – Pacific Association
  • James Williams – Florida Association
  • Zach Raubuck – USATF National Office

Congratulations to each and every one of these deserving individuals. View pictures of the N.O.C. Award winners by clicking here.


NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

The newest rules clarifications and interpretations (2019-2020) are being posted at As of this writing, there appears to be no recent updates since our last newsletter but you should be checking periodically.

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


USATF Rules Update from Laurie Boemker

The scorecard and final report that was approved at the closing general session in Reno, Nevada can be viewed at the clicking here.  In addition, if you need a copy of the original proposed rules can be found via the link below. The original proposed Amendments were due to World Athletics (IAAF) Rules of Competition changes:

The new World Athletics Book of Rules has been posted on-line at the following link:

They have combined the constitution and competition rules into a single document. Note: They have also re-numbered the rules (now in the C section).

In the past, the Rules Committee usually has a draft of the new USATF Competition of Rules Book for the Rules Committee to edit and complete the review by New Year’s Eve, so the on-line version can be posted early in January. The hard copy is normally not available until sometime in February. I will keep everyone posted regarding the status of the new USATF Rules of Competition Book.

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


Laurie’s USATF Rule of the Month


2. Inspector of Implements: The Inspector of Implements shall weigh and measure implements used in competition, and shall place a designating mark on each implement passed as complying with all relevant specifications. He/she shall impound the noncomplying ones for the duration of the competition. In an event that includes a qualifying round, he/she shall impound all implements that will be available for the final competition between the qualifying round and the competition proper. Under special circumstances (e.g., implements are damaged), the Referee may authorize the Inspector of Implements to certify additional implements between the qualifying round and the competition proper.

Additional information regarding Inspector of Implements can be found at the following this link:  In addition past issues of the Equipment & Facilities Newsletters can be found here.


Happy Holidays from the Newsletter Staff


Did you get this newsletter from a friend?



Important Deadlines

  • Now: Renew your background check
  • Now: Renew USATF Membership
  • Dec. 15: Young Official Grant Application
  • Dec. 15: Implement Inspectors and Technical Managers Grant Application

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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