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NABR decision on USATF Youth Executive Committee grievance


On March 3, the National Athletics Board of Review (NABR) panel issued a ruling in the grievance filed by USATF against the Youth Executive Committee (YEC) and in the YEC counterclaim filed against USATF. 
The NABR panel’s decision is attached. In summary, it states:
1. The panel ruled that USATF is responsible for managing all commercial aspects of USATF, “including the selection of an on-line registration service provider”.
2. The disciplinary action against Lionel Leach was sustained.  The panel has suspended his membership through May 25, 2017 and the decision precludes him from holding any USATF leadership position through May 25, 2018.
3. The disciplinary action against the YEC was denied.
4. The counterclaim of the respondents (YEC) was denied, including request for damages. The YEC’s counterclaim and the NABR ruling on each is listed below: 

Youth Executive Committee counterclaim alleged that USATF and its Board have violated the Ted Stevens Act, USOC Bylaw section 8.12(a), and USATF Article 14-E by suspending Respondents without notice or a hearing, regardless of the merits of USATF’s position- DENIED.
Youth Executive Committee counterclaim alleged that USATF and its Board have illegally circumvented and compromised the grievance and ethics procedures under USATF Operating Regulations 16 and 21, rendering them meaningless and moot- DENIED.
The Board, through its illegal action, has irreparably prejudiced Respondents’ rights to an impartial hearing and other due process protections within USATF – DENIED.

5. The decision makes no other ruling with respect to other matters pending between the parties.
USATF welcomes the outcome rendered by the NABR panel.   The question posed has always been simple and the answer clear: to clarify that the National Office has the sole responsibility to control the commercial aspects of USATF business, of which event registration is apart.  The panel was clear that the USATF National Office has that right. 
That it was necessary to suspend the entire youth committee while seeking this resolution was unfortunate, yet necessary to mitigate any further harm to the organization and sport as this dispute was brought toward resolution. As noted by the panel:

  • It is the decision of the Panel that the National Office is responsible for managing all commercial aspects of USATF including the selection of an on-line registration service provider.

  • Even throught [sic] the Panel was not ultimately persuaded by USATF that the actions of the remaining Respondents amounted to actionable events, we do not find the claims to be frivolous.  Accordingly, we deny Respondents’ request for sanctions.

  • The dissemination of information through youtube and e-mail that was not operational and the cancelling of zonal meets were potential legal concerns for USATF and interfered with its business affairs.

  • The actions of Respondents posed a threat, whether actual or perceived, to USATF and USATF’s being able to fulfill its stated purposes.

As noted by the Panel, this decision does not end the matter between the parties.   Such matters include:
a. The ruling by the Ethics Committee finding ethical violations by the YEC.  This matter is pending for Board action.
b. The civil litigation is ongoing and is now in the discovery stage.  There have been several preliminary motions made by the defendants in the course of this litigation all of which have resulted in favorable rulings for USATF.NABR decision on USATF Youth Executive Committee grievance

Jill Geer
Chief Public Affairs Officer
USA Track & Field

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