USATF's Board Needs to Improve, by James Dunaway, Intro by Larry Eder

The opening ceremony of the 1896 Summer Olympics.

I

The Exit column is the last editorial page of American Track & Field. The column is the territory of James Dunaway, the editor of American Track & Field.

Dunaway and I penned a column on the Coaching Registry in June, which caused a bit of controversy. Our take was, the timing of the Registry, not the Registry itself showed that Doug Logan was not in touch with the 80,000 coaches who work with over 3 million athletes in cross country, track & field and race walking in junior highs, high schools and colleges.

Our issue with the removal of Doug Logan was why he was there in the first place. Todays actions where the USATF Board hired a search firm, is, in the eyes of one heavy hitter in the running industry, " the first professional thing that USATF's board has done."

James Dunaway is 82 years old and has been credentialed for the last fifteen Summer Olympics. He is, full of "piss and vinegar", to use someone else's description. He also loves the sport and is amazingly well-connected. The vitriol that has been spilled to him over Doug Logan, the removal of Logan and the concerns over how the new search would be handled could fill a very large pool. Suffice it to be said, the various constituencies are watching every move of USATF's Board.

I did not sign this note with James Dunaway. My operating style is not to hit someone over the head. But, I am concerned and I am worried that the sport that I love will continue to flounder, and get caught up with the task at hand: to build our sport both inside the country and out.

As Dick Patrick just noted, for forty years, we had two CEOs-Ollan Cassell and Craig Masback. Craig changed the sport in his eleven year tenure. So did Doug Logan and he only had twenty-six months.

Is our board strong? Time will tell. I believe that there are good people on the board, and they need to look into themselves to find out how they can make our sport better. James Dunaway is trying to wake up the board and give them some talking points. Tell us what you think, please email us at runblogrun.com with your thoughts!
USATF's Board Needs to Improve


To the Board of Directors of USATF:

In the last few months, you have done considerable damage to our sport.

Most recently, your clumsily carried-out dismissal of Doug Logan has given track and field a black eye. For many people in business and the media, track and field has become a laughingstock. Don't expect many new sponsors in the next few years.

What's more, you've done it all in secrecy, while the hundreds of thousands of people in the sport who care about its governance--elite athletes, officials, coaches, meet directors, agents, the shoe industry, journalists, and many, many fans--have been kept in the dark. Over and over in the past three months people have asked, "What the hell is going on?"

It's time to stop. USATF's leadership is fond of talking about "transparency," while practicing the opposite. Now it's time to walk the walk.

Here are two steps you can take immediately to begin to fulfill your obligation of keeping the track and field community fully informed about the governance of the sport.

1. Immediate and continuing publication of the complete minutes, verbatim, of all USATF Board meetings from January 1, 2008 on, to be published online--without passwords or encryption--so that everyone interested in the sport can learn what those who govern the sport have been doing over the past three years and are doing now, and will do in the future. If verbatim transcripts of the meetings aren't available, we need to know why.

2. Full disclosure of all meetings, conversations, correspondence, records, etc., concerned with the hiring of Doug Logan. We need to know, in detail, how USATF hired, for its most important job, an individual who knew absolutely nothing about the sport, had only three years' sports management experience, and whose previous employment for most of his business career was as a rock concert promoter.

That's a start on measuring up to your responsibilities.
                                                                                                                      
                                                                -- James Dunaway

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