USATF Newsletter - January, 2020

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January, 2020

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Notes from the Desk of the Chair

On Dec. 22, as my wife and I were driving to Kansas for the Christmas holiday, I received the call informing me of the passing of Rex Harvey. Since that day, I have thought of Rex often, as I am sure is true of many. Rex influenced our lives and our sport in many ways. His accomplishments have been highlighted by USATF and others, so there is no need to repeat them.

But I do want to recognize his influence as an official on officials. Not only did Rex serve as the N.O.C. Vice-Chair of Training and was an inductee into our National Officials Hall of Fame, but he was a model of a mentor - a value we have highlighted over the past year. He made our sport better through his investment in the lives of officials as a mentor and a friend.

Rex knew how to think “out of the box” as an official and Referee. For example, he taught me how to put a Pole Vault plant box in a Long Jump pit so that athletes could jump with a favorable wind.

Rex brought people along with him, providing opportunities and access to his experience and wisdom. Many of us have had opportunities, across the country and around the world, because of Rex. Rex found ways to pour into the lives of others, stretch them, and make them better.

I have often told others that good officials know rules and procedures, but great officials know people and make others better.

Rex was a great official, a great mentor, and a great friend. We are all better for having known him.

Mentors: Since our last newsletter, these have been recognized one ones who have mentored the officials around them: Bill Bartel, Robert Benoy, Mike Bowers, Dick Connors, Shirley Connors, Bill Hawkes, Teddy Hayes, J.R. Heberle, Jim Hume, Sonny Maynard, Leroy Milam, Gary Rush, Alonzo Taylor, Terry Thurber.

Plan now for future selections: The selection process for USA Championship meets is always difficult. These are meets that many desire to officiate and for which hundreds apply. With the 2021 World Championships and 2028 Olympic Games approaching in the US, the numbers will continue to grow. If that is your desire to officiate USA Championship meets, whether you are a new or experienced official, begin to take steps now to position yourself to be considered for these competitions. Though there is never a guarantee of selection, as there are always more qualified applicants than spots available, there are things you can do to position yourself for consideration. After going through this year's selection process, some recommendations are:

  • Travel to meets outside of your association. Traveling allows you to see how events are conducted in other places and learn how to function as a part of a team of officials from different places. This can include NCAA meets, conference championship meets, and major relay meets.
  • Work USATF Youth, Junior Olympic, and Masters Championship meets. These meets give you a chance to work in a championship setting using USATF rules. Most of these meets also include evaluations by head officials which provide valuable information to selection committees and to you on how to improve as an official.
  • Make sure that you are certified in the areas for which you apply. There are many officials who have not kept their areas of certification up to date with the areas they are officiating. Look at the back of your certification badge and make sure it is accurate. If it is not, talk with your Certification Chair.
  • Begin applying now and continue to apply. Don't be discouraged if you aren't selected. It is not unusual for officials to not be selected every year. But if you don't apply you can't be selected.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Marty’s Training Tip

As we end one year and head into a new season of track and field, we should all have spent a bit of time in personal reflection. I know that the start of a new season brings excitement, challenges, and questions for me. Each year I ask myself if I have done all of the little things that are necessary to get ready for a new season:

  • Is all of my gear in good shape (maybe now is the time to replace that frayed measuring tape before it breaks at the most inopportune time)?
  • Have I done all of the paperwork necessary to start a new year (SafeSport, background check, USATF membership renewed)?
  • Do I have copies/access to the rule books for 2020 yet (NCAA, WA, NFHS, USATF – the Best Practices site has links to the latest copies in PDF form or a location to buy a hard copy)?
  • Am I personally ready for the new season (physically fit, mentally sharp, and excited to get back out on the track this indoor season)?

That takes care of me personally, but what happens if you are the official’s coordinator for a meet, school, or conference:

  • Have you made sure you have an updated address list and meet schedule so you can reach out to all of your folks?
  • Has refresher training been scheduled for your returning folks to make them aware of rule changes, current practices and points of emphasis?
  • Have you contacted the coaches/facility coordinators to make sure any safety issues from the past year have been addressed? We don’t want to start a new season with old safety issues hanging over our heads!
  • Have you been recruiting new officials? Often the head coach of the host school at your facility will send out an email blast to all of the faculty/staff letting them know of the upcoming meet schedule and opportunities to help out at meets. If they haven’t, write a letter for them, and see if they will send one out – it’s a great way to get a few new folks and replenish your shrinking crew of stalwarts.

As an officials coordinator, there is another problem that crops up – what do you do with aging officials? Click to continue reading, good information . . .

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


Boathouse Outerwear Store Open

The USATF Outerwear Store has opened their doors and will remain open thru January 13. You can access the store via the following link:


2020 Track & Field Rule Book Differences

Do you work track meets at different levels and sometimes wonder if a certain rule is a high school, NCAA

Or USATF rule? Would you like to know who allows pacing by LED lights, has strict restrictions on visible undergarments, does not allow the use of GPS watches, or has a 30-second time limit for field events?

Do you sometimes need to look up a rule quickly? Are you watching the Olympics next summer?

Do you hate to carry around five rule books and find that some contain very poor indexes?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” help is available. Track and Field Rule Book Differences is a lightweight, paperback book that can easily be carried with you at track meets. In an easy-to-read chart format, it shows high school (NFHS), college (NCAA), open (USATF) and international (World Athletics & WMA) rule differences. Click here to download the Flyer and Order Form.


January 2020 USA Para Update by Carroll DeWeese

With the beginning of the New Year, not much news exists yet for Para Athletics activities in 2020. World Para Athletics (WPA) has yet to publish its new rule book for 2020-2021. Only one WPA event has been sanctioned yet in the USA. It is a WPA Grand Prix event: the Arizona 2020 World Para Athletics Grand Prix - Desert Challenge Games, April 2-5, 2020. The contact email for information and possibly becoming an official is The US Para Track and Field Trials has yet to receive a WPA sanction and no information is available yet on how to become an official. I will put this is the newsletter once information is available. The US Para Trials will be held in the greater Minneapolis area June 25-28, 2020.

Adaptive Sports USA maintains a calendar of events each year. They have a process for meets to register their events for sanctioning. Once they have applied and have been approved, they are put on the calendar. The link to the list is as follows: . Unfortunately no events are yet listed on their calendar for 2020. Check their website for updates.

One option to find para meets is to go online and look under the names of past meets and get their current information. All of them can use knowledgeable para officials. The following is a list of some of the para meets held typically each year:

Hopefully in February, more information will be available that I can share on opportunities for para officials.

Note: Prefer to have a printed copy of Carroll's Update? Click here . . .

Hayward Field to Open in 2020 by Phil Sutton

The renovation of Hayward Field at the University of Oregon recently made the New Year’s turn toward the finish line in 2020.

The historic track and field venue was completely demolished in July of 2018 and the construction project vaulted into an ambitious 22-month timeline to have the new facility ready during the 2020 outdoor season.

The anticipation among USATF Oregon officials and the Track Town community (Eugene, OR) is growing as the multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art stadium rises on the Oregon campus.

The new Hayward Field has been described as a “theater” for track and field. The seating capacity will increase with 12,650 permanent seats; expandable to nearly 25,000. All seating will be in the form of spacious 22-inch seats with generous and an expansive 44-inch tread depth throughout the stadium. Unobstructed sight lines are provided throughout the venue. The first row of seats will sit on the track level, mere feet from the outside lane. A new nine-lane track and new infield will offer the athletes an ideal competition stage. The fans will experience improved acoustics as well.

The athletes will enjoy modern men's and women's locker rooms, an equipment room, a video room, and a weight room. An indoor practice area includes a six-lane, 140-meter straightaway, as well as areas for long jump, triple jump, throws (surrounded by netting), and pole vault. There will be areas for training and sports medicine, including a hydrotherapy room, treatment and rehab area, anti-gravity treadmill room, and passive and active recovery spaces.

The renovation project is fully funded by gifts from Penny and Phil Knight and more than 50 other donors.

The first meet scheduled at Hayward is the PAC-12 Track and Field Championships on May 16-17. On June 6-7, the World Athletics (formerly IAAF) Diamond League Prefontaine Classic will be held for the 45th time at Hayward Field. The University of Oregon, Eugene, and the entire state will welcome athletes, coaches, fans, and USATF officials from all over the country to the premiere 2020 track and field event, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials on June 19-28. This will mark the seventh time the Trials have been held at Hayward Field. Go here for Olympic Trials ticket information.

Tickets hyperlink:


Bill Kelly: Mentor, Trainer, Teacher by Scott Phoenix

Those officials working national meets or attending meets at Hayward Field will no doubt recognize Bill Kelly at the high jump venue. What people might not realize is that they are watching more than one person work when they see him going about the business of officiating. Bill is a product of his mentors.

Bill’s officiating career began in 1985 at Hayward Field after he was hired the previous year as a middle school head track and field coach. Becoming better acquainted with the rules and observing highly-skilled collegiate athletes up close were two reasons he chose to get involved at Hayward. His decision evolved into a decades of participation in a sport he loves. Click to read the entire article . . .


NCAA Rules Corner ~ Rules Interpretations

The newest rules clarifications and interpretations (2019-2020) are being posted at

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


Laurie’s USATF Rule of the Month
RULE 144 - Assistance to Athletes

4. The following shall not be considered assistance: 

(h) Electronic lights or similar appliance indicating progressive times during a race, including a relevant record.


Are You Ready for the New Season?


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Important Deadlines

  • Now: Renew your background check
  • Now: Renew USATF Membership
  • Now: Take the 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.

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