Sad day for U.S. Track


USATF Board overturns members 392-70 vote

Sadly HighTower now is the U.S. rep to IAAF 

BEIJING - USATF President Stephanie Hightower on Wednesday was elected to IAAF Council as the highest vote-getter for one of six IAAF Council seats designated to be filled by women. Ten candidates stood for election.

Receiving 163 votes, Hightower easily exceeded the 105 votes needed in the first round of balloting. Nawal El Moutawakel of Morocco, an IAAF Council member since 1995 and IOC member since 1998, was second in voting with 160 ballots.

Hightower 2015 hi res_web

"I am humbled and thrilled to have been selected to serve on the IAAF Council," Hightower said. The United States has worked hard in recent years to step up and serve the sport internationally in the way we should, as the world's most successful track and field team. I am inspired and excited to embark upon this next phase of service to the sport of athletics and am extremely optimistic about the work the 'new' IAAF will undertake in the immediate future."

A world indoor and American outdoor record-setter in the women's indoor hurdles and an Olympian, Hightower was elected president of USA Track & Field in 2008. She has led the federation's efforts to better serve the sport of athletics internationally, working closely with IAAF leaders as well as colleagues in fellow federations. As an athlete, she was part of 10 U.S. international teams, and later was U.S. women's team manager at the 2004 Olympic Games, assistant manager at the 1996 Games and U.S. team leader at the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships. She was chef de mission at the 2003 IAAF World Championships and head team manager at the 1999 IAAF World Championships.  She has served USATF committees in many capacities, including Athletes Advisory Committee and Women's Track & Field, where she was chair. 




Hightower appointed Vice President of NACAC Athletics Association

11/23/2015
 

INDIANAPOLIS -- USATF president Stephanie Hightower has been appointed Vice President of North America, Central America and Caribbean (NACAC) Athletics Association.


Hightower was unanimously appointed to the position during the latest NACAC Executive Council meeting earlier this month. This is Hightower’s second international post, as she was voted in as an IAAF Council Member in August, receiving the highest number of votes out of all female nominees.


A world indoor and American outdoor record-setter in the women’s indoor hurdles and an Olympian, Hightower was elected president of USA Track & Field in 2008. She has led the federation’s efforts to better serve the sport of athletics internationally, working closely with IAAF leaders as well as colleagues in fellow federations.


As an athlete, she was part of 10 U.S. international teams, and later was U.S. women’s team manager at the 2004 Olympic Games, assistant manager at the 1996 Games and U.S. team leader at the 2005 IAAF World Youth Championships. She was chef de mission at the 2003 IAAF World Championships and head team manager at the 1999 IAAF World Championships.  She has served USATF committees in many capacities, including Athletes Advisory Committee and Women’s Track & Field, where she was chair.



More USATF Controversy: Stephanie Hightower Gets Angry Reaction From Youth Chairman Lionel Leach Accusing Her Of “Bullying” Law and Legislation Chairman Tim Baker

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by LetsRun.com
March 9, 2015

Below is a copy of a letter sent by USATF President Stephanie Hightower to Law and Legislation Chairman Tim Baker after the USATF annual meeting in December, where Baker spoke out and was “critical” about recent USATF decisions. Below that is an email sent to Hightower from USATF Youth Chairman Lionel Leach in response to Hightower’s letter to Baker. The email was posted in this thread by Becca Gillespy of PoleVaultPower.com.

More: *MB: Stephanie Hightower tries to bully Law & Legislation Secretary, gets called out by Lionel Leach
*LRC USATF Controversy Archive

Dear Tim:

You have a long history of contributions to USATF, and I appreciate your active engagement in USATF committee efforts in particular. I write today because your activities at the 2015 USATF Annual Meeting in Anaheim were cause for concern, particularly given your position and role in USATF.
As you know, USATF is experiencing tremendous growth, and this is an exciting time in the history of our organization. Along with this growth comes change. These changes are extremely positive, particularly our growth in revenue. Some changes are uncomfortable for some, but they are part of our evolution and necessary to move us forward.

Those of us who are constituent leaders must take care to engage in productive debate. But in the end, we must ultimately unite in the shared goal of improving and growing the sport.

During the Annual Meeting, in your public statements and committee activity, you were very outspoken and critical of decisions made by the board and committees, and critical of the overall direction of USATF. These statements were not part of constructive debate, they were destructive statements seemingly made with the intent of undermining the direction of the organization.

Tim, you have long been one of the leaders of the law & legislation committee, but you need to understand that this type of behavior is counter-productive to our mutual goals and is not conducive to the overall success of USATF. The members of the law & legislation committee are critical to ensuring the organizations governance structure is best suited to help the USATF achieve success. You are my appointee on my committee, but your statements and activities seem to indicate that your commitment to advancing mutual organizational goals may be waning.
If you would like to continue as my appointee, please call me so we can discuss.

Sincerely,
Stephanie Hightower Stephanie Hightower
USATF President

Download (PDF, 215KB)

http://www.letsrun.com/news/2015/03/more-usatf-controversy-stephanie-hightower-accused-of-bullying-law-and-legislation-chairman-tim-baker-gets-angry-reaction-from-youth-chairman-lionel-leach/



Email from Lionel Leach to Stephanie Hightower:

March 8,2015

Dear President Hightower,

As I lay in bed on Sunday, March 8, 2015, I was reminded of the great sacrifices that Martin Luther King, Jr., Congressman John Lewis, and 600 others made to register African-Americans voters in the south. As you know, 50 years ago this past Saturday protesters attempted to march from Selma to Montgomery only to encounter violent resistance by state and local officials and law enforcement. This day is known as Bloody Sunday.

Alabama state troopers wielding whips, nightsticks and tear gas threatened and attacked the marchers. Governor Wallace refused to protect the marchers and allowed the attack to take place, making this day one of the most disturbing days in our nations history. Wallace believed in discrimination, disenfranchisement, and plain bullying. We all recognize bullying as the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate those who are weaker and to force them to do the bullys bidding.

In the wake of this seminal American moment, a half century later, I am saddened to say I have heard about and then read a disturbing letter that makes our governor, Bully Supreme Chris Christie of the great state of New Jersey, look like an angel. You see, I have witnessed bullying in all its forms. Every day the members in the union I represent are bullied by their bosses all day long. I dont let them get away with it, and I most certainly will not allow it to happen in the USATF, the organization I love most in the world.

Our good friend Timothy Baker received a letter from you that was offensive, disrespectful and downright abusive. It was Bullying 101, intended to intimidate Mr. Baker to do what you want. He was shaken by this threat and I am appalled to know that you would send this travesty to him.

Mr. Baker has been a pioneer in the sport for several decades, from his time as meet director of the Penn Relays to his time on the Law and Legislation committee. As you wrote in the first line of your letter to him, You have a long history of contributions to USATF, and I appreciate your active engagement in USATF committee efforts in particular. In the face of that acknowledgement, how you can write such an abusive letter to him is astounding at best and intolerable at worst. This is the same man who spent thousands of dollars of his own money for your election nine years ago and got people to sign your petitions for you can become a candidate. He has been a loyal and dedicated solider for you for years; and, just because he holds a different belief than yours about the direction of the organization, you think you are allowed to write a letter like this to bully him.

You are right, the organization has seen tremendous growth both in membership and in revenue, and this came about from the tremendous work and the volunteerism of thousands of hard working members of USATF. In fact, in the youth program alone we have seen an increase of over 30,000 new members in the last 8 years. The growth in revenue has resulted directly from Maxs hard work to bring home the bacon, which helps our committees develop the tools to get the job done. By comparison, you have been little more than a bystander. In fact, you have divided this organization into the Haves and the Have-Nots. I dare say that Maxs legacy to the USATF far outdistances what you will leave.

As a constituent leader, I have an obligation to this organization and to the youth membership better known by all as my 85,000 babies to protect their rights, and to make this sport of track and field better than the way I found it. And I know Mr. Baker wants the same; but, your reckless behavior and bullying tactics with folks who do not see eye-to-eye with you are not in the best interest of track and field as a whole. Although he did not vote, Mr. Baker was not acting any differently than the 85 percent who have disagreed with you, in every voting session of the Law and Legislation committee.

I fear that you are starting to believe that as long as people disagree with you, they are not doing what is in the best interest of USATF. I fear that you are starting to rule like a dictator instead of respecting the democratic process, which has defined our organization for longer than I can remember.

Your goals are different from the goals of the rest of the organization. Its all right to disagree, but it is not all right to use your position as president of this organization to BULLY and intimidate anyone, let alone loyal and dedicated members of this great organization.

You are probably wondering why I am writing this letter to you and responding rather than Mr. Baker himself. I am writing this letter because I will not allow anyone to be bullied in any way whatsoever. The letter you wrote to Mr. Baker is offensive, plain and simple. This man has worked too hard for this sport and deserves to be treated with greater respect than you have shown him. If you decide to remove him from the committee, as he was your appointment, that is certainly your choice. However, this is not your committee and this should not be a case of agree with me or else.

In closing, this organization is called USATF not Ms. Hightower Track and Field. How dare you send this man a letter in this tone. The tone of this letter reminds me of October 20, 1973; it was known as the Saturday Night Massacre. That was the night when President Richard Nixon dismissed special prosecutor Archibald Cox and asked for the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus during the Watergate scandal. As memory serves, President Nixon was removed from office as a result of his abuse of power.

You may view that as a threat or a history lesson. Either way, I dont care. What I do care about is the integrity and leadership of USATF; hopefully, you will find it in your heart to display more of both.

Yours in Track,

Lionel A. Leach/
USATF Youth Chairman

If you don't think Bob Hersh is high on the pecking order look whom he is sitting next to 

I am sure the Stephanie would be standing in the back

IAAF Council, Monaco, 1st day of meeting, 14 November 2013 (IAAF)

COUNCIL

The IAAF Council consists of 27 elected members, including one President, four Vice Presidents, one Treasurer, one representative from the Area groups (6) and 15 individual members.

There is guaranteed minimum of six female members. Each member is elected by the Congress for a period of four years.

The Council administers the affairs of the IAAF, appoints the General Secretary and all Delegates to IAAF competitions, including the World Athletic Series.

It has the power to provisionally elect or suspend a Member Federation, and to take urgent decisions. It submits a report and a budget to Congress every two years. It promotes a Development Programme for the benefit of Member Federations who require assistance.









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by: LetsRun.com
February 12, 2015

Over the weekend, the USA Track and Field’s Board of Directors (at least part of the Board, as Bob Hersh is on the board) released a memo explaining why it overturned a 392-70 vote by USATF delegates for IAAF Vice President Bob Hersh to be the USATF nominee to the IAAF Council. Instead of nominating Hersh, the USATF Board of Directors voted to nominate one of its own, Board Chairman and USATF President, Stephanie Hightower to the IAAF Council.

Bob Hersh has released his own document today in response to the USATF Board’s memo. Bob says the USATF Board’s memo, “contains many incorrect and/or misleading statements.” He also said while the Board’s memo was meant to “allay some of the concerns that have been widely expressed about the Board’s decision to ignore the wishes of an overwhelming majority of the delegates to the 2014 Annual Meeting that I be nominated for re-election to my position on the IAAF Council. Instead, that memo should heighten those concerns.”

Bob Hersh Responds To USATF Board’s Memo That He Claims “Contains Many Incorrect And/Or Misleading Statements”

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by: LetsRun.com
February 12, 2015

Over the weekend, the USA Track and Field’s Board of Directors (at least part of the Board, asBob Hersh is on the board) released a memo explaining why it overturned a 392-70 vote by USATF delegates for IAAF Vice President Bob Hersh to be the USATF nominee to the IAAF Council. Instead of nominating Hersh, the USATF Board of Directors voted to nominate one of its own, Board Chairman and USATF President, Stephanie Hightower to the IAAF Council.

Bob Hersh has released his own document today in response to the USATF Board’s memo. Bob says the USATF Board’s memo, “contains many incorrect and/or misleading statements.” He also said while the Board’s memo was meant to “allay some of the concerns that have been widely expressed about the Board’s decision to ignore the wishes of an overwhelming majority of the delegates to the 2014 Annual Meeting that I be nominated for re-election to my position on the IAAF Council. Instead, that memo should heighten those concerns.”


February 12, 2015 Dear USATF Colleagues

, The memo that was recently sent out in the name of the Board of Directors appears to have been intended to allay some of the concerns that have been widely expressed about the Board’s decision to ignore the wishes of an overwhelming majority of the delegates to the 2014 Annual Meeting that I be nominated for re-election to my position on the IAAF Council. Instead, that memo should heighten those concerns.

 The memo contains many incorrect and/or misleading statements. Let me point out some of them: >>Mr. Hersh had addressed many committee meetings to present the case for himself as USATF’s IAAF Council nominee<<  I think many of you know perfectly well that this is simply not true. For the past 15 years, since I was first elected to the IAAF Council, I have always visited the Athletes Advisory Committee, the relevant Sport Committees, and other groups that are affected by what the IAAF does. There has never been any political content to my presentations. They are purely informational, and the constituent committees have always welcomed the opportunity to hear about current IAAF developments and to share their concerns through comments and questions.

 >>Mr. Hersh was elected as one of four IAAF vice presidents in 2011, and was at that time selected by Mr. Diack as Senior Vice President.<< More misinformation. In fact, I was elected as one of four IAAF vice presidents in 2007, and was reelected in 2011. In the latter election I received more votes than any of the other three vice presidents and was thus named Senior Vice President not by Mr. Diack, but by the Council. The IAAF Constitution gives that power to the Council and in recent years, it has become the practice to designate as Senior VP the individual who obtained the most votes in the election. (The vice presidents whom I out-voted included Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka.)

 >>Even though he has served ably since 1999, there is no guarantee of Mr. Hersh’s re-election.<< This is literally true—there can never be an absolute guarantee in an election. But the implication that there is meaningful risk of my not being elected ignores reality.

 I have been a candidate in 8 IAAF elections dating back to 1984. I have always been one of the highest vote getters in the category that I was running for. The last election for vice president was particularly significant given the others on the ballot. The fact is that I am very highly respected internationally; the IAAF voters have repeatedly demonstrated that. There is no reason in the world to suggest that I might not easily be re-elected this year.

 (On the other hand, Stephanie Hightower’s election could be much less certain, a factor that the Board’s memo does not mention.)

 >>Bob has served actively since 1999, but since that time there has not been a specific action at the IAAF that has actively advanced the interests of American athletes or teams.<< I can think of a number of actions at the IAAF that have advanced our interests. A few occur to me immediately. The awarding of the 2014 World Junior Championships to Eugene and the 2016 World Indoor Championships to Portland were very significant. The Juniors last year were the first time that U.S. athletes were able to compete on home soil in any IAAF World Athletics Series event since 1992. This, of course, had a unique benefit to American athletes. I worked very closely with the people at TrackTown USA in connection with their bid for that event.

 The creation of the Diamond League was another major action. It expanded the former Golden League beyond Europe, and significantly increased the number of events in which athletes had opportunities for good prize money. I participated in many of the discussions involving the creation of the Diamond League, and particularly in the inclusion of two U.S. meets (New York and Eugene) in the Diamond League program, and I have served on the Diamond League’s Board of Directors since its inception. I also championed the creation of a World Championships wild card for the Diamond League event winners. Our teams and athletes have benefited from that innovation. Of course, other countries ’ athletes have benefited as well, but because we have more top elite athletes than any other country, any IAAF initiative that increases prize money opportunities has a major impact on U.S. athletes.

 Another IAAF initiative that advanced the interests of athletes was the development of regulations governing the authorization of Athlete Representatives (agents) and prescribing certain elements of their conduct. I had been part of a small working group that had created a regulatory framework within USATF, in response to concerns expressed by our athletes. Once that was in place, I took it to the next level. Working with the IAAF Juridical Commission, I played a leading role in the drafting of the IAAF’s Athlete Representative Regulations and ancillary documents, and I have been actively involved in the administration of the IAAF’s regulatory program. This, too, benefits all of the world’s athletes, but more American athletes and Athlete Representatives are subject to these regulations than those of any other country. There are other examples as well; I intend to mention some of them at the next USATF Board meeting.

 >>The IAAF is under considerable scrutiny at the moment as the handling of doping protocols and charges of corruption related to certain business dealings within the highest level of the organization are currently under investigation. USATF is not a party to those investigations and, like the rest of the world, awaits the outcome of the investigations.<< I am not sure what relevance the Board thinks this has. There is a subsequent reference on the same page in the memo to “how closely Mr. Hersh is connected to the tenure and administration of the outgoing presidency”. This looks like a veiled attempt to link me personally to the doping issues and charges of corruption within the highest level of the organization. The suggestion that I am in any way involved in subjects of pending investigations is false and defamatory. For the record, it is well known that I am an advocate of strong anti-doping programs. Moreover, as part of my work on the IAAF Juridical Commission, I was very much involved in the creation of the IAAF’s new independent Ethics Commission and in the recent revisions of the IAAF Code of Ethics and ancillary regulations. If there are issues relating to doping and corruption, I have been part of the solution, not part of the problem.

 >>Given this climate of monumental political change at the IAAF, and given how closely Mr. Hersh is connected to the tenure and administration of the outgoing presidency, the board believes USATF would compromise the United States’ political position at the IAAF if we were to nominate a candidate for Council who is part of that past, outgoing power and leadership structure. . . . If USATF were to put him up for election amid all the change cycle, we are more likely to be perceived as backward-looking to the previous administration rather than forward-thinking to the next administration.

<< This seems to be at the crux of the Board’s position, and I believe it is entirely wrong. For one thing, the two candidates for the IAAF presidency have also been “connected to the tenure and administration of the outgoing presidency”. Will the election of either of them be perceived as “backward-looking”? Of course not. For reasons that I will explain to the Board, the change in the IAAF presidency makes this the worst time for us to replace an incumbent Vice President. I also believe that removing me from that position would be perceived negatively by the IAAF community. Numerous conversations and meetings that I have had with important people internationally have confirmed that I am correct in my view of this. In fact, the decision that the Board took in December has itself generated considerable negative reactions. I am looking forward to explaining the realities of the IAAF political situation to the USATF Board of Directors in greater detail at the March Board meeting. I will also try to give the Board a better sense of the many important IAAF activities that I have been involved with that were not mentioned at all in the Board’s memo and that were apparently not considered in reaching their decision.

 In the meanwhile, let me thank the USATF Associations, other groups, and individuals who have expressed their support of my re-election as IAAF Vice President.

 Bob Hersh IAAF Senior Vice President

 IAAF Executive Board and Council Member    IAAF Competition Commission Chairman     IAAF World Athletics Series Renovation Workshop Steering Group Co-Chairman     IAAF One-Day Meetings Athlete Identification Working Group Chairman        IAAF Juridical Commission Member       IAAF Doping Review Board Member  IAAF Technical Officials Education and Certification System (TOECS) Working Group Member      IAAF Athlete Representative Continuing Education Lecturer         IAAF Diamond League Board of Directors Member         IAAF Former Technical Committee Member North America, Central America & Caribbean Area Association (NACAC)    Elected Council Member USATF Board of Directors Member       USATF Former General Counsel        USATF Former Rules Committee Chairman           USATF Former Records Committee Chairman        USATF Former Men’s Track & Field Committee Member            USATF Former Women’s Track & Field Committee Member             USATF Former Law & Legislation Committee Member           USATF Former USA/Mobil Grand Prix Commissione


Becca Gillespy Peter (of PoleVaultPower.com) made the following post on Facebook in response to the latest memoreleased by the USATF board of directors. That memo addressed the controversy over Stephanie Hightower‘s selection for IAAF council over Bob Hersh, despite Hersh receiving 85% of the member vote.


Becca Gillespy Peter

I have a true story to tell…

In late 2010 and early 2011, the USATF National Office began placing restrictions on the logos athletes could wear at USATF National Championships. The restrictions were the same as for the Olympic Trials, which are basically the same as the IAAF restrictions, but they exempt colleges and longstanding clubs.

It began with the major National Championships but quickly spread to smaller meets. Athletes like Lauren Fleshman and Nick Symmonds began to speak out against this. I was told by several people on AAC that they had to do this because the IAAF said so. I know these people believed what they said was true. They were not making this stuff up, they were repeating what they heard from the National Office.

This issue struck home when the National Office changed the website for Club Cross to state that we would have to follow these rules as well. My Club and Association were hosting the meet that year. No one from the National Office bothered to tell the LOC about this, I found out about it via an athlete mentioning it on Facebook.

That just wasn’t going to work for us. The majority of USATF Clubs do not have IAAF-compliant jerseys because the majority of Clubs don’t have athletes competing in the Olympic Trials or Diamond League Meets. We had teams threatening to boycott the meet.

At the 2011 USATF Annual Meeting (one week before our event), these issues came to head at an AAC Meeting that Stephanie Hightower eventually kicked me out of, when she “closed” the meeting in violation of USATF and AAC policies.

But before she closed the meeting, our IAAF representative Bob Hersh made a startling statement: The IAAF was NOT telling USATF that they had to restrict logos at their domestic meets. In fact, the IAAF had just passed a new rule that eased the IAAF’s logo restrictions, allowing a second sponsor logo on the jersey for non-Championship IAAF meets (for example, Diamond League meets).

We spent a YEAR fighting this issue very publicly with the National Office. When did Stephanie ever fight for the rights of athletes? When did Stephanie ever try to find out the truth behind the matter? What I personally observed was Stephanie lose her shit when there was a miscommunication about filming the AAC Meeting, and kick everyone who was not an AAC member out of the room, despite her not having the authority to do so. The AAC meeting went into closed session without following the proper protocol to do so because when the President of USATF tells you to close the meeting, you close the meeting.

Interim-CEO Mike McNees told me everything would be resolved with Club Nationals in that meeting, instead myself and Club Council Chair Devon Martin were among the many people kicked out, and we only got the issue resolved by dragging Mike into the Club Council meeting where we convinced him to let it go.

USATF has released a letter saying that Stephanie is a better candidate than Bob because she has a “strong record of advocacy for USATF and our athletes at the international level.”

I would like to challenge anyone reading this to give me specific examples of this. Because I can’t speak for what goes on at the international level, but I can tell you that here in the US, Stephanie has NOT been advocating for our athletes. At no point in 2011 did she tell the National Office to cut out the bullshit and stop making up rules that HURT our athletes. All I saw her do was close an AAC Meeting because she said she had a fiduciary duty to USATF to keep Nike happy, and Nike wasn’t happy with the meeting being filmed. FI-DU-CI-A-RY this was emphasized several times.

You want another specific concrete example of Bob Hersh doing something to benefit American Athletes? In the first World Relays Championships, there was no Sprint Medley or Distance Medley Relays because these events are primarily run in the United States. The rest of the world doesn’t “get” them. Bob said at the end of 2013 that he was working on getting them added. The first World Relays was a big hit, but everyone realized that the 4x1500 was kind of a dud, that Kenya would always get too big of a lead if they sent their “A” team. So the IAAF listened to Bob and changed the 4x1500 to the Distance Medley Relay. That DIRECTLY benefits American athletes, we have a much better chance of being successful at the DMR than the 4x1500.

So please, tell me what I am missing about Stephanie? Tell me what she has done to benefit American athletes internationally? Heck, tell me what she has done lately to benefit American athletes here at home?

This latest letter from USATF makes me sick. I am so incredibly sick of hearing these lies about Bob being spread by Board members. So there. There are two specific, SIGNIFICANT, things that Bob has done to advance the position of American athletes using his position with the IAAF. And this is just scratching the surface of what Bob has done and can continue to do to advance the rights of our athletes and our sport both here and abroad.

Bob Hersh was not chosen by Lamine Diack to be Senior Vice President as the letter states. Bob earned that position be receiving the most votes of all of the IAAF Vice Presidents:http://www.insidethegames.biz/…/14141-american-hersh-succee… It is accurate that retention of either position is not automatic, but given that he was the most popular person in 2011, it is very likely that he would continue to hold a spot on the Council in 2015. While there is going to be a new President in 2015, both candidates are current Vice Presidents like Bob, and he enjoys a close relationship with both of them. There is no evidence that there will be much turnover within the rank and file of the IAAF.

Bob won’t be around forever. Someday we will have a different American representative at the IAAF. But I think there are many other people within USATF who would do more to defend the rights of our athletes and our country than Stephanie will. Despite the change at the top of the IAAF, this is not the right time for us to make a change.






USATF Board overturns 392-70 vote, will instead nominate Stephanie Hightower for IAAF Council
USATF Board Of Directors Responds To Extreme Backlash For Rejecting Membership IAAF Council Vote
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A Message From The USATF Board Of Directors

USATF Press Release
December 9, 2014

The Board’s selection of IAAF Representatives has been the topic of significant discussion within the USATF Community. The press release announcing our choices (http://www.usatf.org/News/USATF-Board-selects-IAAF-candidates.aspx) described the process as well as providing a brief statement about our discussion and rationale.

Articles 10 and 11 of the USATF Bylaws govern our Board of Directors, including the procedures for the selection of board members (http://www.usatf.org/usatf/files/88/887145bb-dfaa-4ed6-90f3-e5ef92d9bf1a.PDF ) . These Articles include a nomination process from committees, up through the Nominating and Governance Panel, for the board positions representing High Performance, Coaches, Officials, Youth, General Competition and Long Distance Running. These groups each nominate three candidates, one of whom from each group is selected by the USATF Nominating and Governance Panel. Three athletes are directly elected by their constituents, three independent members are selected by the Nominating and Governance Panel, and a representative of 5C organizations sit on the board, as well as our IAAF representative.

Since our 2008 Annual Meeting, nominations for IAAF positions have been submitted by committees through the Nominating and Governance Panel for consideration and selection by the board. The intent of that legislation – written by a board that pre-dated the current board – was to increase the likelihood of American candidates being selected to IAAF positions. This effort has been largely successful.

Leading into the 2014 Annual Meeting, a memo was circulated seeking to change the selection procedures for the IAAF Council position to have it be a position elected by voting members at the Annual Meeting. This memo specifically stated that the explicit purpose of the change was to achieve the outcome of having our current IAAF Council representative, Bob Hersh, being re-appointed. The memo made several references to USATF being a democratic institution.

Very few organizations in our everyday lives are “pure democracies,” where decisions are made by a straight popular vote. At USATF, we vote for our officers and leaders via democratic means, but it is through a delegate system. And while democratic institutions such as governments have governance as their sole function, USATF also functions as a business. Our governance therefore is a combination of governance and business principles, under the USOC charter.

In the last two years, USATF’s business has seen more positive changes in our bottom line than ever before. Those changes have come about because of the efforts of our CEO, Max Siegel, who has increased revenue from $19M to $34M, increased net assets from less than $4M to $17M, and entered into nine new partnership agreements. The public needs to understand that Max as CEO oversees business, not governance. He had and has no role, and no vote, in the selection of our IAAF representatives.

The IAAF representative position is a diplomatic position, representing USATF at a global representative body – the IAAF. Even in the world’s greatest democracy, the United States, our diplomatic positions such as ambassadors are appointed, not elected. This IAAF position is no different. It, as well as our candidates for IAAF committees, are selected by the board after input from membership and committees.

In the case of Friday’s selections, we took the recommendation of the USATF body that was present at the Annual Meeting very seriously. That body voted by more than 80 percent to suggest Bob Hersh for the IAAF position. Bob has been part of the IAAF in various capacities since 1984, and is currently Sr. Vice President. He serves the IAAF very actively and very ably in many capacities. Stephanie has been active in the sport internationally for more than 35 years and is highly respected in IAAF circles.

The IAAF is at the threshold of perhaps the biggest change in its history. Its President, Lamine Diack, will finish his time in office this August. Diack has been IAAF president since 1999; he was preceded by Primo Nebiolo, who served from 1981 until his death in 1999. Elite athletes currently competing have never done so under any president but Diack.

The top two candidates for Diack’s successor are Sebastian Coe, who oversaw the wildly successful 2012 London Olympic Games, and Sergey Bubka, one of the most successful track athletes in history. Coe has already declared his candidacy, writing a manifesto that discusses the need for the sport to modernize. Bubka is expected to declare as well. No matter which candidate is selected, it is clear the IAAF will move into a very new era and into a new direction.

Change is difficult for any organization. It is especially difficult when it involves long-serving officials. In 2015, there will be significant, structural change at the IAAF – with their leadership, with their direction, vision and politics. This is a different era and a different time. We think Stephanie Hightower provides us with the best chance to move forward as part of that change.

Far from subverting USATF’s democratic process, we followed it. An hour before the board convened our meeting, the membership enacted governance changes that enabled them to recommend an IAAF Council nominee to the board. That legislation required a super-majority, 2/3 vote of our board to reject and then select another candidate different than the one recommended by the body. The board that met on Friday included three newly selected board members in their first meeting. Only one person from a board comprised of representatives from officials, coaches, athletes, LDR, high performance and general competition dissented to the selection of Stephanie Hightower.

Leaders are charged to lead and to make difficult choices. This was a choice about the opportunity to be a key part of a historic change that will take place at the IAAF this August, and to have an opportunity to be among the leaders of that change. The next 10 years at the IAAF will bear little resemblance to the previous 30.

As a board, we follow USATF procedures and make hard choices. We recognize that this choice was unpopular among those in attendance at the Annual Meeting, but we believe we made the right choice for the organization for the right reasons. We are optimistic that the coming year will continue the growth of the organization at all levels.



Letters To The USATF Board Of Directors

Three powerful associations and the Athlete Advisory Committee still aren't satisfied with the Board Of Directors' decision to go against the popular vote at last November's Annual Meeting…

(this article has been edited to include the USATF New England Association's letter of January 15)




neusatf nominee letter


aac council nominee letter