USATF Code of Ethics
October 14, 2006
STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
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"
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.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS CHARGE TO THE ETHICS COMMITTEE REGARDING THEIR
AUTHORITY, RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES
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
- To help "Responsible Persons" identify situations that present
- 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
- 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
- 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.
- Policy on Code of Conduct (COC):
- Basic Principles applicable to all "Responsible
- Maintenance of honesty and integrity in all actions
taken while representing USATF.
- Exhibition of the highest degree of ethical standards
when developing and executing programs for the
advancement of track and field in the United States.
- 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
- Recognition of the contribution of each individual and
his or her right for freedom from physical or sexual
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Sign and comply with the USA National Team Statement of
Conditions and the National USA Team Statement of
- 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.
- Follow and respect the Rules of Competition.
- Eliminate the use of prohibited drugs or other
disallowed performance enhancing substances or
- Conduct oneself in a supportive and positive manner for
- Disclose any "Conflicting" relationships.
- Attend all team functions and activities as required.
- Dress appropriately for all official functions, wearing
designated official team uniforms when required.
- Honor the commitment to complete all tasks to the best
of one's ability.
- Comply with USATF procedures, including team staff's
responsibility to complete a report back to USATF within
the timeframe designated.
- Conduct for competition officials: In addition to the Basic
Principles noted above, competition officials must abide by the
Officials Code of Ethics.
- 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.
- Any one of the following circumstances shall create a Conflict
- Transactions greater than $100 in the aggregate per year
between USATF and a "Responsible Person". This
includes any employment or payment for services with
- The following payments shall constitute exceptions to
the $100 in the aggregate per year limit.
- Expense reimbursements paid by USATF, as long as
such reimbursements comply with Board-approved
expense and other policies.
- 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."
- Prize money paid to athletes based on their
- Appearance fees paid to athletes from
sponsorship dollars as designated in the
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- The following circumstances are not considered
Conflicts of Interest and do not require
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A "Responsible Person" or "Family
Member" having an ownership or investment interest
in excess of 5% of the equity value of any "Third
- 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.
- 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
- Definitions: All defined terms are indicated as such by quotation marks
throughout this document.
- 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.
- A "Family Member" is any member of the immediate
family or household of a "Responsible Person."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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
- Duty to Disclose
- A "Responsible Person" must disclose, in writing (see
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
- Timing of Disclosure for "Conflicts"
- 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.
- 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."
- 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.
- If the chairperson is the member with the
"Conflict," he or she must disclose
his or her "Conflict" to the Ethics
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- Any action of the Board of Directors as the result of an
Ethics Committee recommendation shall be by resolution
rather than by simple motion.
- 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.
- 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.
- The following process shall govern ethics complaints filed by
complainants regarding a "Responsible Person":
- The ethics grievance process shall commence upon receipt
of a Complaint, which may be either in writing or
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- A hearing shall be conducted in accordance with the
rules which are attached to this code and which are
included herein by reference.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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