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Meeting Minutes

USATF Board of Directors
Hyatt Regency Orlando, Tullamarine/Tegel Room
Sunday, March 8, 2009

Attendance: Stephanie Hightower, Jack Wickens, Darlene Hickman (Secretary), Kenneth Taylor, Willie Banks, Jeff Darman, Evie Dennis, Philip Dunn, Kim Haines, Bob Hersh, Aretha Hill, Steve Holman, Larry James (non-voting counsel), Deena Kastor, Steve Miller, Elizabeth Phillips, and Max Siegel

Staff: Doug Logan, Mike McNees, Lamont Jones, Jill Geer, and Patty Hogan

Other Attendees: Tim Baker and Fred Finke

A quorum was present. Stephanie Hightower opened the meeting at about 9 am (Eastern).

President Stephanie Hightower welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the newly restructured Board of Directors. All in attendance offered brief introductions.

Doug Logan reported on the finances. Currently, USA Track & Field (USATF) is on target on both the revenue and expense side. 2008 will end with a surplus of $1.5 million. The audit visits are scheduled for early April 2009. USATF is on decent financial footing with $4.3 million in reserve.

Logan also discussed the current reorganization of the National Office staff, the increased television ratings, and the challenge to the Jamaicans.

Dr. Evie Dennis, USATF’s representative on the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) National Governing Bodies’ (NGB) Council, provided a brief overview of the structure of the USOC. There was a brief discussion on Dennis’ role as USATF’s representative and the lack of diversity on the current Council. In the past, USATF’s two representatives to the Council included USATF’s CEO and Dennis. Moving forward, Logan’s recommendation to the USOC will be that Dennis and Hightower serve as USATF’s representatives.

Logan provided an update on the recent changes at the USOC with the departure of its CEO, Jim Scherr, the loss of significant sponsors, and the streamlining of its staff.

Bob Hersh, USATF’s representative to the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), provided a brief overview of the structure of the IAAF.

There was discussion regarding the relationships between USATF’s Board and national office and its IAAF commission members. Discussion continued surrounding the lack of communication with respect to the developments of the Diamond League series of meets.

There was discussion on the by-law changes approved at USATF’s Annual Meeting in Reno, Nevada in December 2008. Additional changes to the by-laws may be needed. Any recommended changes will be circulated to the Board in a timely manner for review/approval.

There was discussion on the recent restructuring of USATF’s Board of Directors. The current Board will be transparent and will act in the best interests of the sport. There was discussion on developing cultural and procedural guidelines for the Board and adopting Robert’s Rules of Order for future meetings.

Jeff Darman expressed his concern about having one 5E representative represent all six 5E organizations. It was agreed Darman and Lamont Jones will have a conversation outside of the meeting.

There was discussion on USATF’s current Directors’ and Officers’ Insurance Policy. Jones and Larry James will review our current policy and will report back to the Board.

MOTION: (Dennis/Hill) Nominate Stephanie Hightower as Chair of USATF’s Board of Directors. APPROVED unanimously.

The following election was conducted by ballot and tallied by Tim Baker and Darlene Hickman:

MOTION: (Phillips/Denna Kastor) Nominate Jeff Darman as Vice Chair of USATF’s Board of Directors.

MOTION: (Haines/Dennis) Nominate Jack Wickens as Vice Chairman of USATF’s Board of Directors. APPROVED by majority vote.

The following election was conducted by ballot and tallied by Tim Baker and Fred Finke:

MOTION: (Hersh/Kastor) Nominate Bill Roe as Secretary of USATF’s Board of Directors.

MOTION: (Hightower/Hill) Nominate Darlene Hickman as Secretary of USATF’s Board of Directors. APPROVED by majority vote.

MOTION: (Dennis/Hightower) Nominate Kenneth Taylor as Treasurer of USATF’s Board of Directors. APPROVED unanimously.

MOTION: (Hersh/Haines) Nominate Larry James as Counsel of USATF’s Board of Directors. APPROVED unanimously.
The terms of the following Board positions were discussed:

  •  USATF President – 4 years
  • Chair – 2 years
  • Vice Chair – 2 years
  • Secretary – 2 years
  • Treasurer – 2 years
  • Athlete Representation (Kastor) – 2 years
  • Athlete Representation (Hill) – 4 years
  • Athlete Representation (Philip Dunn) – 4 years

Logan provided background on the formation of the Project 30 Task Force. The Task Force formed by Logan was asked to impartially evaluate USATF High Performance Programs, analyze Team USA performance in Beijing, and chart a course for programmatic change to maximize Team USA performance in Olympic and World Championship competition. The Project 30 Task Force completed its report on February 9, 2009.

Logan presented his response of March 8, 2008 to the plan and noted his openness to additional suggestions/ideas.

As noted below, there was in-depth discussion on the findings of the Task Force and Logan’s response:

Recommendation 1: Hire a General Manager of High Performance
Logan’s proposed plan recommended the title of Managing Director of Competition. He or she would oversee all areas designated by the Task Force in its recommendation. Logan hoped to have this person in place by June 1, 2009.

Steve Miller commented on the recommended salary/benefits for this position and asked whether it would be sufficient to attract a top candidate.

Recommendation 2: Create a transparent, criteria-based Team Staff selection system
Logan discussed the controversial past of selecting Team Staff. Logan spoke on it being too soon for him to say how the selection system would ultimately look, but the system would indeed reflect the Task Force’s philosophy.

Kastor spoke on her participation on the Task Force and expressed the need to have a fair system in place.

Recommendation 3: Restructure the composition of Team USA staffs
Logan would immediately implement the Task Force’s suggestion for a new Team Staff composition of up to 18 credentialed positions.

Recommendation 4: Shorten the U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field to five days
Logan is unsure how the schedule would ultimately look like, but it would be decided in consultation with the Managing Director. Discussion focused on a possible schedule with a youth event on one weekend, a master’s event on the other, and the Trials in the middle. Miller expressed his concern about sending a mixed message to USATF’s consumers by including youth and masters events. Logan stated he would have additional discussions with USATF’s stakeholders and would obtain more information.

The short-program format of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field is expected to be finalized by July 1, 2010.

Recommendation 5: Terminate the National Relay Program
Logan felt the Task Force presented a wise recommendation, and the program has been terminated.

Elizabeth Phillips asked if there was a need for Board approval prior to the termination of the program. Discussion ensued regarding what matters need Board approval. Max Siegel commented on the importance of empowering the CEO to run the day-to-day business in accordance with clear strategic objectives.

Recommendation 6: Establish a comprehensive 2012 team preparation program
Extensive discussion took place on the establishment of a comprehensive preparation program. Kastor expressed the need to provide an incentive program for the athletes. Jack Wickens expressed his support of the goal, but did not feel the program was designed properly.

Brief discussion took place regarding the Task Force’s recommendation to have past Olympic athletes mentor current athletes. There was also discussion on USATF’s current athlete Alumni Association and the move to make serving as a mentor a requirement for membership in the Alumni Association. Logan discussed his proposed plan to provide a part-time USATF executive to serve as a professional coordinator for the Alumni Association.

Recommendation 7: Target technical events for medal growth and develop those events—Logan discussed the Task Force’s recommendation for a nationwide network of High Performance Training Centers. Logan also discussed the proposed plan for USATF to develop two High Performance Training Centers in the United States. Wickens mentioned much could be learned from the success of the Distance Centers.

Logan discussed the Task Force’s recommendation for a more professional USATF Coaching Education system. Currently, USATF does not have a true coaching certification program. Minimum coaching standards should be established. USATF would only give its approval to those coaches who have conducted themselves professionally and ethically.

Recommendation 8: Create a well-defined Professional Athlete designation
Logan discussed the Task Force’s recommendation that USATF create a well-defined Professional Athlete designation. Logan discussed the proposed plan to create a two tiered Professional Athlete designation by establishing the following:

· Rookie Contract. The Rookie Contract would be signed by all newly declared professional and/or post-collegiate athletes. The contract would provide the athlete with the professional athlete designation and would list the necessary duties the athlete would need to fulfill.

· Statement of Conditions. The athletes would be required to sign a more stringent Statement of Condition prior to acceptance to an international team and would be required to fulfill specific obligations.

Recommendation 9: Establish a more stringent anti-doping reinstatement system
Logan agreed with the Task Force’s recommendation to establish a more stringent anti-doping reinstatement system. Logan discussed the need to also establish a mechanism for certain individuals, who are truthful and dedicated to fighting doping, to return to the sport.

Recommendation 10: Promote and foster a self-sustaining professional athlete’s union—Logan agreed the creation of a professional union would make for a more professional sport – but, did not feel it appropriate for USATF to pay the salary of a union leader.

Hill distributed the Athlete Compensation Proposal prepared by USATF’s Athletes Advisory Committee.

The establishment of the standing committees and the recommendation of how they would operate will be reviewed/discussed at the next meeting.

The 2009 board calendar will be established soon and sent under separate cover.

The meeting adjourned at 2:15 pm (Eastern)

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