USA Track & Field Policy & Procedures for Evaluation of Requests for Accommodations Pursuant to the Americans With Disabilities Act
As of Oct. 16, 2004
In July of 2004, USA Track & Field (USATF) President, Bill Roe, appointed an Americans With Disabilities (ADA) Committee to look into and bring back to the Board a recommendation regarding how USATF should handle requests for accommodations made by individuals claiming rights under the ADA. The Committee consisted of Dr. Michael Frederickson, George Mathews, Linda Melzer, Barbara Chambers, Tony Cosey, and Rose Monday. Liaisons to the Committee were John Blackburn, USATF Rules Committee Chair and Jill Pilgrim, USATF staff. The following policy and procedures were proposed the Committee and approved by the USATF Board of Directors on October 16, 2004.
PROCEDURES FOR EVALUATION OF REQUESTS FOR ADA ACCOMMODATIONS
Accommodation Request: An individual submits a request for an accommodation, due to an asserted disability, either to an event/race director or a USATF Committee. The request must be specific to a particular competition and to a specific event discipline or activity at the relevant competition. USATF will not grant "blanket" accommodation requests applicable to multiple competitions, activities or event disciplines. (Note: Event/Race Directors are encouraged to have a space on the entry forms requesting whether an ADA accommodation is needed, and advising that it takes 4 to 6 weeks after receipt of all medical documents to evaluate such a request.)
Responsible Party: Meet/Race Director or USATF Committee.
Information Review & Privacy Waiver: The event/race director will collect the name, contact information, specific accommodation requested by the individual, and the reason for the requested accommodation and forward this information to the applicable USATF Committee chairperson. The Committee chair and USATF General Counsel will contact the individual and request any additional documentation needed, including medical records. A release/waiver of privacy/confidentiality must be signed by the individual requesting the accommodation in order to permit USATF to review his or her medical records. After review, these records will be maintained as confidential by the USATF Legal Department. The review of all relevant documents will not begin, and the 4 to 6 week clock will not start to run, until USATF has received all relevant documentation from the individual requesting the accommodation.
Responsible Party: USATF Committee Chairperson and General Counsel.
Determination of Whether Individual is Disabled, under the ADA: The General Counsel shall forward the individual's medical documentation to a representative of the USATF Sports Medicine & Science ADA Subcommittee for review. This body or individual will evaluate and report back to the USATF Committee chairperson and the General Counsel on whether the individual is disabled within the meaning of the ADA. (Note: A written release/waiver of privacy/confidentiality must be signed by the individual requesting the accommodation in order to permit USATF to review his or her medical records.) If the Subcommittee determines that the disability does not meet the ADA requirements, the request for an accommodation will be denied. In this event, the NABR procedures outlined in item 6 may be invoked.
Responsible Party: ADA Subcommittee of USATF Sports Medicine & Science Committee.
Determination of Reasonableness of Accommodation Request: If the USATF Sports Medicine & Science ADA Subcommittee decides that the athlete is disabled pursuant to ADA guidelines, the applicable USATF (National) Committee chairperson will then decide whether the requested accommodation is reasonable on its face, in relation to the disability and the nature of the accommodation requested. The essential question will be whether the requested accommodation "for a particular person's disability would be reasonable under the circumstances as well as necessary for that person"? In making this determination, the USATF Committee chairperson should receive comment from the race/event director on what, if any, hardship providing the accommodation would cause it or the competition. (This inquiry does not take into account what effect the accommodation would have on the essential elements of the sport.) If the USATF Committee chairperson determines that the request is unreasonable, then the request for the accommodation will be denied. In this event, the NABR procedures outlined in item 6 may be invoked.
Responsible Party: USATF (National) Committee chairperson.
[Note: If an individual has been through this process previously in regard to a different event, the USATF Sports Medicine & Science ADA Subcommittee does not have to re-evaluate whether the individual is disabled within the meaning of the ADA, unless the individual is asserting a different disability than the one previously asserted.]
Determination of Whether Accommodation would Fundamentally Alter the Sport: If the accommodation request is deemed reasonable, then the ADA Accommodations Committee will determine whether granting the accommodation would fundamentally alter an essential aspect of the sport of track and field, long distance running or race walking, either because: 1) the accommodation is unacceptable even if it applied to all athletes; and/or 2) the accommodation, regardless of whether it is "a less significant change", would nevertheless give the disabled athlete an unfair advantage.
Responsible Party: USATF ADA Accommodations Committee (includes a representative from the following groups: Officials, Athletes, Disabled Athletes, Event/Race Director, Medical Professional, and USATF General Counsel as staff liaison.)
An individual who has subjected him or her self to the above-described evaluation process, and has been determined not to be entitled to an accommodation, may appeal that decision to the National Athletics Board of Review in accordance with USATF Regulation 21-R.
GUIDELINES & SPECIFIC PROCEDURES
It will be the responsibility of the ADA Accommodations Committee, as it assesses how the process works in real time, to develop working guidelines and procedures consistent with the policy and general procedures approved by the USATF Board.
USATF COMPETITION RULE CHANGES
In addition to establishing the policies and procedures outlined above, the USATF Rules Committee will also clarify the rules of competition with respect to the essential aspects of the sport of track and field, long distance running and race walking.