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2017 Athlete Criteria and Tier System

2017 TIER SYSTEM AND ATHLETE CRITERIA
(January 1, 2017 – December 31, 2017)
 
In cooperation with the USATF Athletes' Advisory Committee and HP Division Executive Committee, the Tier System was instituted in 2011 and 2012, with criteria developed to ensure the participation of the highest potential open athletes and their coaches in all Olympic event-related USATF and USOC high performance and athlete support programs.

Applicable events are the forty three (43) individual + four (4 relay) events on the Olympic Games and IAAF World Outdoor Championships program, as well as events approved by AAC and the High Performance staff as being those that contribute to the development of Olympic and IAAF World Outdoor Championships participants. Athletes who qualify for the various Tiers will have primary access to USATF HP Programs such as: domestic competitive opportunities, domestic relay program, international competitive opportunities, sport performance workshops, medical reimbursement, stipends, elite athlete health insurance, St. Vincent's and USOC medical programs, and coaches' stipends.
 
Tier 1: Athletes will qualify for all USATF and USOC benefits, and are those who have achieved any/all of the following:

  • Medaled in either/both of the two (2) most recent world-major championships (2015 World Championships in Athletics [Track & Field-Outdoor] and 2016 Olympic Games; or

  • Have achieved a top-10 world rank in 2016 by Track & Field News (year-end ranking for 2016) or All-Athletics.com (year-end ranking for 2016); or

 

  • Have achieved a top-5 world rank in 2015 by Track & Field News (year-end ranking for 2015) or All-Athletics.com (year-end ranking for 2015); or

 
The above medal winning criteria will also apply to athletes who competed in the first round and/or final on a medal-winning relay team at either/both 2015 World (Outdoor) Track & Field Championships and 2016 Olympic Games.
 
Tier 2: Athletes will qualify for most of USATF and USOC benefits, albeit at a lower dollar amount, and are those who have achieved any/all of the following:

  • Placed among the top 8 place finishers in either/both of the two (2) most recent world-major championships (2015 World Championships in Athletics [Track & Field-Outdoor] and/or 2016 Olympic Games; or

  • Have achieved a top 20 world rank in 2016 by All-Athletics.com (year-end ranking for 2016); or

 

  • Have achieved a sixth through tenth (6-10) World Ranking in 2015 by Track & Field News (year- end ranking for 2015) or All-Athletics.com (year-end ranking for 2015).

 
Tier 3: Athletes will qualify for a select number of USATF and USOC program benefits. However athletes in this category, who are defined as Immediate Post Collegians (IPC’s), will have exclusive access to the Post Collegiate Scholarship Fund unless qualified for a higher tier stipend in 2017. To be qualified for Tier 3, athletes must have achieved the following:
 

  • Be an Immediate Post Collegian (IPC) in the first year out of college (completed or forfeited collegiate eligibility during the 2015/2016 track and field or Cross Country season) and have achieved the 2016 Olympic Games qualifying standard in their respective event, during the 2016 Indoor or Outdoor seasons.

 
Tier 4: Athletes will qualify for a limited number of benefits, albeit sometimes at a lower dollar amount, and they must have achieved the following:

  • Be ranked among the Top 2 U.S. by Track & Field News in its 2016 year-end rankings, and/or

  • Achieved a Top 2 place finish at the 2016 US Olympic Team Trials – Marathon, 50kRW, or Track & Field.

 

  • For both of the above, the athlete must have also achieved the 2016 Olympic Games standard in the event that applies to the criteria above.

 
USATF recognizes that there may be elite and emerging elite athletes who do not meet the above criteria and, therefore, will be excluded from receiving the related program benefits. There are also athletes who have achieved these standards in the past, but have experienced a recent injury, illness or maternity leave, which may have caused an interruption in their competitive schedule. To provide funding for these additional athletes, USATF, through its budget, supports an annual “developmental funding” program to assist identified, elite and emerging elite athletes who will not be Tier qualified in 2017.
 
Many of these “developmental” athletes will be included in a number of HP Programs that are available to Tier athletes, such as domestic and international competitive opportunities, HP summits and Sports Performance Workshops.  The provision of these benefits and programs supported through USATF’s budget will be limited to the number of positions available for that program and the extent of available funds for such.  However, it remains that the first priority for all HP Programs will be given to Tier qualified athletes.
 
To receive any or all 2017 tier benefits, an athlete must currently be training and competing at elite level or, if injured, expected to recover and be able to compete at an elite level.

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