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3K Races at Indoor Nationals

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3K Races at Indoor Nationals

Post by EugeneRunner on Wed Feb 26, 2014 12:58 pm

Has anyone been following the drama around the 3,000m races at the USATF Indoor Championships? What a mess. Maybe track and field needs some controversy to make it more interesting, but I like that track and road racing has a lot more camaraderie and sportsmanship than most other sports.
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Re: 3K Races at Indoor Nationals

Post by marathonman60 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:42 am

Too much drama. Isn't there a book of rules? And the man that was DQ'd wasn't even the right runner.
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Re: 3K Races at Indoor Nationals

Post by EugeneRunner on Thu Feb 27, 2014 2:37 pm

There is a set of rules, but they are pretty vague.

One thing people don't realize is the USATF doesn't put on ANY events. They simply license events to LOC (Local Organizing Committees). In this case, the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau were awarded the rights to put on the USATF Indoor National Championships. This group then assembles a group of officials. Those officials don't work for USATF, and technically don't work for the Visitors Bureau either since they are volunteers. They are normally certified by USATF which means they have some knowledge of the rules. Any official handling protests would normally be very experienced, as there is a lot of competition for those volunteer positions at nationals, so only the best are allowed to do it and spend their own money to get to the meet.

BUT, there are USATF people always lurking around at the big meets, often volunteers also. If an official is being told by a USATF person to do something, I imagine they would defer that decision. I know of a previous high profile case where that occurred.

In the case of the men's and women's 3K races, there were problems all the way around. First there were legitimate concerns about some of what happened on the track. Then there are problems with the rules, so it was unclear if anyone should get a DQ. Then there were problems with the process, making the protest/appeal process unfair. Then the unclear rules were violated. Officials also made a glaring error in the men's race that wasn't appealed. People got angry and were wildly unprofessional. Finally (so far), in an attempt to fix the women's race, the rules were violated again.

Seems like amateur hour to me, in part because it was. I have the utmost respect for all the people who volunteer to make track and field and road racing happen. But I feel things would be much better if USATF was run in a professional manner like an actual business. I think this is easier to do if the USATF actually had the budget to have employees instead of volunteers (they don't), but it is still possible in a mostly volunteer organization. It is mostly a matter of the people at the top doing their part and setting the tone for everyone else to follow.

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