The USA Track & Field convention, which starts Wednesday, December 3, and goes through December 7, is a pivotal convention. Several matters that require, no, demand
your attention, will be happening there:
a. The reorganization of the Board, which will be cut to 15. The re org, championed by Doug Logan, has been done, so far, with a certian amount of civility and little blood letting. Let’s hope that it stays that way.
b. The election for President of USATF. After the re organization, this will be the one thing that the constituency of USATF can still vote for. I encourage you to listen to the three following intereviews from FinalSprint.com:
Stephanie Hightower: http://www.thefinalsprint.com/2008/10/tfs-electioncast-2008-usatf-presidential-candidate-stephanie-hightower/
Dee Jensen: http://www.thefinalsprint.com/2008/10/tfs-electioncast-2008-usa-track-field-presidential-candidate-dee-jensen/
While I will make my endorsement tomorrow, I do encourage you also to read the series of articles by Final Sprint.com on USATF.
Here are my two cents: Within any organization, there are politics. Within the USA Track & Field, there are inherent politics: the national office, the board, the various groups of interest, from masters, to juniors, to elite, to roads, to track. Think of this like Yugoslavia.
When Marshal Tito, the ruler of Yugoslavia died, the country blew up. The age old hatreds, age old ethnic issues were used by various political groups to push their own agendas.
USA Track & Field should learn from that example. In 1998, USATF was both financially and morally bankrupt. Craig Masback used his skills, and those of CFO Jim Elias to bring the organization from the foot of bankruptcy to a federation that the USOC could no longer ignore.
The infighting within USATF during that decade changed in some ways, but it was and is still there.
Doug Logan is a different type of person than Craig Masback. He is looking at the big picture, which is what he was hired to do. The national office is expected to do their job, professionally and within parameters, but Logan, it seems, considers them adults and expects them to behave as such.
Logan’s ability to push the reorganization is critical. While I do not want nor believe the USOC will have control of USATF, I do believe that change was needed. It is time for our sport to grow up. But, and I consider this very, very important, USATF can not be the lap dog of the USOC.
The series of stories done on USATF were done by someone who means well, someone who believes in journalism, but also someone who is, an outsider from track & field. He was able to get to information, much of it accurate, some of it colored by agendas, but what is real is that, in my opinion, our sport gets caught on the tiny ego detrius that hurts us.
Our sport has a historic opportunity between now and 2012: we either think out of the box, rebuild our sport, and our relationships, professionalize the sport and its communications and media, or we continue to be a secondary player in the world of globlal sports and sports marketing.
In my mind, USATF should not be someone looking for crumbs on the side of the road, which is how we are portrayed at this time. We should be thought of as a dynamic sport, appealing to men and women, with exciting and new grass roots opportunities to encourage black and white, rich and poor, young and old to get active, stay active and celebrate the athletes who can run, jump and throw farther than we can!
Walt Murphy’s News and Results Service
(c)Copyright 2008-all rights reserved. May not be reprinted or retransmitted without permission.
USATF will elect a new president at its annual meeting, which begins this week in Reno, Nevada.
As with the recently concluded U.S. Presidential election, charges and counter-charges have flown between the candidates for the position–Stephanie Hightower, Dee Jensen, and Bob Bowman (Click on the links for audio interviews). (You can Google each name to find other articles).
TheFInalSprint.com has been publishing a series of investigative articles that attempt to shed some light on the issues facing USATF as it goes through a restructuring period and a change in its presidency.
Here are the links to the first five installments of the series–Parts six and seven are scheduled to be released over the next couple of days.
Part 1–USA T&F And the Need For Change
Part 2–How Did We Get Here?
Part 3–USOC Mandates and a Question of Authority
Part 4–(Lynn) Cannon’s Allegations/Financial Mismanagements
Part 5–“Jets vs Sharks” Mentality & Racial Tensions Fracture USATF Board
Part 6–“Overstepping/Conflicts of Interest (scheduled for Dec.1)
Part 7–“USATF Pres. Election / Reasons For Hope” (scheduled for Dec.2)
New USATF CEO Doug Logan’s blog
Come Together: http://www.usatf.org/about/leadership/ShinSplintsBlog/?b=15
Blog Archives: http://www.usatf.org/about/leadership/ShinSplintsBlog/archive.asp
For more on our sport, please click: http://www.american-trackandfield.com