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USATF Code of Ethics

October 14, 2006


The Board of Directors for USA Track and Field (USATF) has adopted this Code of Ethics for the Board of Directors, National Office employees, independent contractors, and members of committees, sub-committees, councils, task forces and any other decision making body of USATF (referred to as "Responsible Persons" in this Code of Ethics). It is of major importance to USATF that its leadership create a "tone at the top" that promotes ethical conduct throughout USATF. This requires that "Responsible Persons" maintain their independence when conducting USATF business and not use their positions to further their own or a friend's or "Family Member's" personal interest.

To ensure continued confidence in USATF leadership in the sport of athletics in the United States and internationally, and because we operate in the public spotlight, we are expected to conduct our affairs on a basis consistent with the great trust that has been placed in us. This requires that our behavior conform to the highest ethical principles. For these reasons, USATF requires "Responsible Persons" to conduct business with integrity and to maintain a standard of ethical conduct consistent with the laws and regulations of all countries and jurisdictions in which USATF conducts business. Furthermore, because the appearance of impropriety can be just as damaging as actual impropriety, conduct which appears to be improper is also unacceptable.

The policies set forth in the following provisions are intended to be a guide for the conduct of business activities and other matters involving, directly or indirectly, USATF. It is not all inclusive, as not every expectation or circumstance respecting proper and ethical business conduct can be anticipated.


The purpose of the Ethics Committee is to assist the Board of Directors in its oversight of the integrity and ethical conduct of USATF affairs. In furtherance of this purpose, the Ethics Committee has the following authority and responsibilities:

  • To help "Responsible Persons" identify situations that present potential "Conflicts,"
  • To collect and review Code of Ethics disclosure statements,
  • To manage issues and resolution of ethics charges and/or violations brought by one or more members of USATF against one or more other members,
  • To work with the Compliance Officer (as the appointed staff liaison) to develop, administer, enforce and periodically review the Code of Ethics for the volunteer segment of the federation, for staff at all levels and the Board,
  • To make every effort, within the limits of the law, to maintain the confidentiality of any information received regarding a "Responsible Person," friend or "Family Member" or any individual who reports concerns or misconduct,
  • To periodically review the ethics and compliance processes in general and the corporate ethics and compliance education, disclosure, and reporting processes in particular; in connection with these reviews, the Ethics committee will meet, as deemed appropriate, with the Chief Executive Officer, Officers of the Board, and the Compliance Officer.
  1. Policy on Code of Conduct (COC):
    1. Basic Principles applicable to all "Responsible Persons"
      1. Maintenance of honesty and integrity in all actions taken while representing USATF.
      2. Exhibition of the highest degree of ethical standards when developing and executing programs for the advancement of track and field in the United States.
      3. Fair treatment of everyone and respect of basic human rights regardless of a person's national origin, race, color, sex, age, marital status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, political beliefs or any other such characteristic.
      4. Recognition of the contribution of each individual and his or her right for freedom from physical or sexual harassment.
      5. Prohibition from any attempt to direct or influence any other "Responsible Person" to assist in obtaining a position, volunteer or paid, or financial or other benefit from USATF, for himself or herself or for any "Family Member" or friend.
      6. Prohibition from hiring or supervising a relative or cohabitant or determining or influencing his or her promotion or pay, if staff, or any financial or other benefits, if volunteer.
    2. Conduct for USA National Team coaches and staff members: In addition to the Basic Principles noted above, the following applies to USA National Team coaches and staff members.
      1. Sign and comply with the USA National Team Statement of Conditions and the National USA Team Statement of Representations.
      2. Fair play is mandatory. Fair play is more than playing within the rules of the sport. It is a way of thinking and acting. It is the elimination of cheating, doping, gamesmanship, physical and verbal violence, exploitation, unequal opportunities, and corruption.
      3. Follow and respect the Rules of Competition.
      4. Eliminate the use of prohibited drugs or other disallowed performance enhancing substances or practices.
      5. Conduct oneself in a supportive and positive manner for the team.
      6. Disclose any "Conflicting" relationships.
      7. Attend all team functions and activities as required.
      8. Dress appropriately for all official functions, wearing designated official team uniforms when required.
      9. Honor the commitment to complete all tasks to the best of one's ability.
      10. Comply with USATF procedures, including team staff's responsibility to complete a report back to USATF within the timeframe designated.
    3. Conduct for competition officials: In addition to the Basic Principles noted above, competition officials must abide by the Officials Code of Ethics.
  2. Policy on Conflicts of Interest (COI): This Conflict of Interest Policy is designed to help "Responsible Persons" of USATF identify situations that present potential Conflicts of Interest and to provide USATF with procedures to address Conflicts of Interest.
    1. Any one of the following circumstances shall create a Conflict of Interest.
      1. Transactions greater than $100 in the aggregate per year between USATF and a "Responsible Person". This includes any employment or payment for services with USATF.
      2. The following payments shall constitute exceptions to the $100 in the aggregate per year limit.
        1. Expense reimbursements paid by USATF, as long as such reimbursements comply with Board-approved expense and other policies.
        2. Amounts paid to individuals for programs requiring a particular expertise necessary to achieve the program's objectives. These amounts are limited to an aggregate of $2,000 in any calendar year. A "Responsible Person" shall not take part in any decision resulting in his or her receipt of payment. These amounts are commonly referred to as "honoraria."
        3. Prize money paid to athletes based on their competitive performance.
        4. Appearance fees paid to athletes from sponsorship dollars as designated in the sponsorship contract.
      3. Transactions greater than $100 in the aggregate per year between USATF and a "Third Party" (including, but not limited to, sponsors, vendors, and meet organizers), in which a "Responsible Person" or "Family Member" is a director, officer, employee, or other representative of the "Third Party." This does not preclude expense reimbursements paid by Third Parties for expenses incurred in the normal course of USATF business, including site visits, championships oversight and business meetings, as long as the reimbursement is consistent with USATF payments under similar circumstances and does not constitute taxable income under IRS regulations.
      4. A "Responsible Person" directing staff, volunteers, or Third Parties to help a "Responsible Person" or his or her "Family Members" or friends obtain benefits (financial or otherwise) or other preferential treatment for which he or she would not otherwise qualify.
      5. A "Responsible Person" soliciting or receiving gifts or favors in any form, including money, services, loans, travel, apparel, equipment, entertainment, hospitality or promise, under circumstances in which a reasonable person would infer that the gift was intended to or could reasonably be expected to influence the "Responsible Person" in the performance of his or her official duties, or was intended as a reward for any official action on his or her part.
        1. This provision does not prohibit arrangements or contracts between athletes and coaches and sponsors, vendors or meet organizers that occur in the normal course of business. Because such instances do represent Conflicts of Interest, they must be disclosed to the Ethics Committee when established and to the relevant decision making body at any time there is a related discussion, at which time the "Responsible Person" shall "Recuse" himself or herself.
        2. The following circumstances are not considered Conflicts of Interest and do not require disclosure:
          1. The acceptance of items or entertainment/hospitality totaling less than $100 in the aggregate per year which are not related to, nor appear to be related to, any particular transaction or activity of USATF.
          2. The acceptance by athletes or National Team staff of team gear, merchandise and equipment provided to all such persons in the normal course of participating on a National Team.
      6. Prohibition of use of confidential information and exertion of undue influence: In the event a "Responsible Person" for any reason ceases to provide services to USATF, whether as a paid employee or as a volunteer, such person shall not utilize any confidential information obtained during such period of service for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of any "Third Party" for a period of two (2) years from cessation of such service. Any attempt by the "Responsible Person" to utilize that confidential information or to exert his or her influence over USATF employees or other members of USATF in an attempt to benefit himself or herself or a "Third Party" in any transaction with USATF shall subject that person to continued compliance with this Code for that two (2) year period including, but not limited to, disclosure, oversight by the Ethics Committee respecting his or her conduct and recommendation by the Ethics Committee for termination of such transaction.
      7. A "Responsible Person" or "Family Member" having an ownership or investment interest in excess of 5% of the equity value of any "Third Party."
    2. The National Office staff has a separate Conflict of Interest Policy that is attached as exhibit A and incorporated by reference herein. Each National Office staff person is expected to comply with the disclosure and reporting requirements of such policy. To obtain guidance on an ethics or compliance issue or to report concerns, National office employees, if comfortable and appropriate under the circumstances, should first raise the concern with one's supervisor. If this approach is uncomfortable or inappropriate, the employee may discuss the matter with the Compliance Officer or any other member of management, up to and including the CEO. Individuals are always free to contact the Ethics Committee or use the USATF Ethics Help Line(s). USATF makes every effort to maintain, within the limits of the law, the confidentiality of the identity of any individual who reports concerns or possible misconduct. There is no retribution or discipline for anyone who reports a concern in good faith.
    3. Any conduct which does not rise to the level of a Conflict of Interest as defined in this sub-section shall never the less constitute prohibited conduct if, when viewed through the eyes of a reasonably prudent person, the conduct has the appearance of impropriety.
  3. Definitions: All defined terms are indicated as such by quotation marks throughout this document.
    1. A "Responsible Person" is any person serving as a Board member, National Office employee, independent contractor, or member of a committee, sub-committee, council, task force or any other decision making body of USATF.
    2. A "Family Member" is any member of the immediate family or household of a "Responsible Person."
    3. A "Transaction" is any agreement or relationship involving the sale or purchase of goods, services, or rights of any kind; the providing or receipt of a loan or grant; the awarding or selecting of any event city or venue; or any other type of financial relationship.
    4. A "Third Party" is any entity that does or is seeking to do business with USATF, including but not limited to, sponsors, vendors, and meet organizers. This definition also includes any entity that is a competitor of USATF or any of its sponsors, vendors, meet promoters or other business partners.
    5. A "Conflict" is any circumstance or behavior that is inconsistent with or in violation of any provision of this Code of Ethics, including a Conflict of Interest.
    6. "Recuse" means to remove oneself from participation to avoid a "Conflict." The "Responsible Person" shall not participate in or be permitted to hear the discussion of the matter except to disclose pertinent facts and to respond to questions; and shall not attempt to exert his or her personal influence with respect to the matter, either at or outside the meeting.
  4. Duty to Disclose
    1. A "Responsible Person" must disclose, in writing (see attached reporting statement) or orally, in advance, any "Conflicts" to the chairperson of the committee or other decision making body in which he or she is participating, whether personal or observed in other "Responsible Persons." In the event the committee or other decision making body cannot address the "Conflict" internally, it must bring the matter before the Ethics Committee as outlined in item V-B below. Any information regarding a "Responsible Person" or a friend or "Family Member" shall be treated as confidential and shall be made available only to the Ethics Committee.
    2. Timing of Disclosure for "Conflicts"
      1. Members of USATF's Board of Directors, all standing committee or council chairs, and Budget Committee members must submit a Code of Ethics Reporting Statement to the Ethics Committee once every year, even if no "Conflicts" exist, to participate in Board of Director or committee activities and meetings. Ethics Committee member statements are to be submitted directly to the President of the Board of Directors. The Conflicts Statement must include any potential or existing "Conflicts." New members of the Board of Directors, new standing committee or council chairs, and new Budget Committee or Ethics Committee members must report "Conflicts" occurring any time within the preceding year.
      2. As "Conflicts" arise throughout the year, all Board Members, standing committee or council chairs, and Budget Committee members must submit an updated Code of Ethics Conflict Reporting Statement to the Ethics Committee immediately. Ethics Committee member statements are to be submitted directly to the President of the Board of Directors. All such statements shall fully disclose the nature of the "Conflict."
      3. Members of all USATF committees, sub-committees, councils, task forces or other decision making bodies must disclose all "Conflicts" or potential "Conflicts" to the chairperson of the committee or other decision making body prior to the discussion of applicable meeting subjects. The chairperson may require that disclosure be made in writing at his or her discretion.
        1. If the chairperson is the member with the "Conflict," he or she must disclose his or her "Conflict" to the Ethics Committee.
        2. All "Responsible Persons" taking part in decisions that have a significant financial impact must report all "Conflicts" in writing to the Ethics Committee. For example, site selection committee members for significant events would be required to complete a Code of Ethics Conflict Reporting Statement upon joining the committee, even if there were no "Conflicts" to report. They would then be required to complete another statement at any time throughout the process that a "Conflict" arose.
  5. Violations
    1. All violations with respect to the limitations contained in II.A.2.b. shall be remedied either by declining payment from USATF or resigning from the applicable volunteer position.
    2. All other violations of this Code of Ethics and incorporations by reference, including failure to disclose or submit required statements, will be subject to review by the Ethics Committee. Upon notification of a "Conflict" from a "Responsible Person" or upon failure to comply, the Ethics Committee shall determine appropriate action(s). Such action may require that the "Responsible Person" "Recuse" himself or herself from discussions, transactions and decisions surrounding the subject matter of the "Conflict" or resign from all USATF appointments and assignments. The Ethics Committee may initiate disciplinary proceedings under Operating Regulation 11. If the resigning member is an athlete representative, then it is important that USATF stay in compliance with the Amateur Sports Act by replacing the athlete representative with another athlete. Prior to any action on the part of the Ethics Committee, the "Responsible Person" will be given the opportunity to disclose all the facts and circumstances surrounding the "Conflict."
      1. The Ethics Committee may also recommend that the Board of Directors remove a director or terminate USATF's contract, agreements or other arrangements with the "Third Party."
      2. Any action of the Board of Directors as the result of an Ethics Committee recommendation shall be by resolution rather than by simple motion.
      3. In the event the Board of Directors rejects any recommendation of the Ethics Committee, the Resolution shall contain, at a minimum, the full text of the resolution as passed, a summary of the reasons presented in support of the rejection and a tally of the votes for, against and abstentions.
      4. A copy of the Resolution shall be sent to the Chair of the Ethics Committee within five (5) days following the meeting at which the Resolution was voted upon.
    3. The following process shall govern ethics complaints filed by complainants regarding a "Responsible Person":
      1. The ethics grievance process shall commence upon receipt of a Complaint, which may be either in writing or verbal.
      2. Upon receipt by any member of the Ethics Committee of a Complaint, it shall be referred to the Ethics Committee Chair or designee, who shall evaluate the information received and, within ten (14) days, determine whether the complaint alleges facts which, if true, would constitute unethical conduct as defined by this code. If it would not constitute unethical conduct, then upon the Chair or designee reporting to the Ethics Committee, the Ethics Committee may decline further action. The complainant, if known, shall be promptly notified of the determination in writing. There shall be no appeal from a determination to decline.
      3. In the event the Ethics Committee determines that the Complaint, if true would constitute a basis for a finding of unethical conduct, then, within ten (10) days of such determination, the Chair shall cause the complaint to be mailed to the "Responsible Person" (respondent) together with all evidence or other information supplied by the complainant. The complainant shall also be advised, within ten (10) days of such determination.
      4. The Chair shall then cause an investigation to be undertaken and shall assign an Ethics Committee member(s) to that task, with the support of the Compliance Officer. One of the Ethics Committee members assigned to the investigation shall be designated to prosecute the complaint. Any investigation shall be concluded within forty-five (45) days, unless circumstances require a more expeditious conclusion. The Chair shall make the ultimate determination of the time to be allowed for the investigation to be completed. Any person assisting the Ethics Committee with an investigation shall be subject to the utmost confidentiality with respect to any information obtained in the course of the investigation.
      5. A hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the rules which are attached to this code and which are included herein by reference.
      6. All hearings shall be conducted before a three (3) or five (5) person panel of Ethics Committee members, one member of which shall be an athlete. The number of panel members shall be determined by the Chair, who shall also designate a Panel Chair.
      7. The Panel shall render its written decision within thirty (30) days, unless a more expeditious time period is required, upon receipt of which, either the complainant or the "Responsible Person" may appeal in accordance with Operating Regulation 11-P.
      8. No member of the Ethics Committee nor any other person who has participated in the investigation of a Complaint and no member of the Ethics Committee who has prosecuted a complaint or been a Panel Member hearing a Complaint shall be subject to being called as a witness in any subsequent proceeding, whether judicial or non-judicial, relating in any way to the Complaint, the hearing or the resultant opinion, nor shall Panel Members' notes of the hearing or of the thought processes or mental impressions of any such person be subject to disclosure by subpoena or otherwise, but shall remain confidential.
  6. Amendments to this Code of Ethics: Amendments to this Code of Ethics shall require a recommendation of the Ethics Committee and the approval of two-thirds of the voting power of the directors present at a meeting of the Board.
  7. Confidentiality: USA Track & Field makes every effort, within the limits of the law, to protect the identity of any individual who reports a concern or misconduct. Any information regarding a "Responsible Person" or a friend or "Family Member" shall be treated as confidential and shall generally be made available only to the Ethics Committee and the Compliance Officer. A "Responsible Person" will not disclose confidential information acquired in connection with such status. Furthermore, a "Responsible Person" will not disclose or use information relating to the business of USATF for personal profit or advantage of the "Responsible Person" or a "Family Member", which disclosure or use shall be considered both a breach of this Code of Ethics provision and shall subject that person making such use or disclosure to further action including, but not limited to, monetary damages.
  8. Associations: USATF associations are expected to comply with both the letter and spirit of this Code. Each association should adopt a similar Code of Conduct. Violation of an association's code should be addressed by the officers of that association. However, any association may seek the assistance of USATF's Ethics Committee in any situation that they feel necessary.

Code of Ethics Conflict Reporting Statement

Exhibit A - National Office Staff Conflict of Interest Policy

Exhibit B - USA Track & Field, Inc. Code of Ethics Rules For Hearings

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