USATF National Officials Committee Newsletter

May, 2017

Chair Report

First of all, I want to say "Thank You" to those who have taken on the often unappreciated task of being Association Certification Chairs. This is really the "front line" of service to the officials of USATF. These individuals have endured through a sometimes frustrating period of transition and have dealt with questions to which they didn't always have answers and complaints about situations which they did not cause. They put in untold hours of in front of their computers and communicating, educating, grading, and more to serve their fellow officials! The new certification system is running and they are doing a great job of learning it. Please take a moment and let your certification chair know you appreciate the work they do on your behalf!
Be Safe: Safety is the responsibility of EVERY OFFICIAL! We all have to be proactive in promoting safety and in making sure that proper protocols are being followed. Do not be timid about speaking up if you see an unsafe situation or if you see others not being vigilant, whether it is officials, volunteers, coaches, athletes, media, spectators, etc.

Many of us have heard about the accident (April 23, Wheaton College) in which a volunteer died after being hit by a hammer. I do not know the details of the incident, but it is a tragic reminder of the danger of many events we work and the need to be vigilant and proactive when it comes to safety for officials, volunteers, athletes, coaches, media, and spectators.
  • Do not turn your back to the ring or runway.
  • Do not engage in conversation with others in or close to the sector.
  • Do not use phones or other electronic devices.
  • Control access to implements, rings, and runways.
  • Maintain a safe distance from the cage.
  • Be proactive in making sure other officials and/or volunteers are aware of safety
  • procedures and are following them.
Membership Profile: Your USATF Membership Profile has been updated so that you can enter your shirt size and upload a photo for your official's credential. The photo has to be a jpeg file less than 100kb. In the near future, your USATF Membership Profile will also be your point of access for viewing your certification information, as well as your USATF membership information. To access your profile, you will need your USATF membership number. You can access your profile at
Shirts: The bug that changed shirt sizes on the Membership Profile has been fixed and hundreds of shirts are in the mail to officials. However, there are over 1,000 officials certified for 2017-2020 who have not selected a shirt size! Please go to your Membership Profile and do this or reach out to your Certification Chair. Until you select a size, USATF will not send you a shirt. Also, with the new system, officials do not receive a confirmation email when they are certified or instructions on ordering shirts. Shirts will automatically be processed when their certification is complete and a shirt size has been selected on their profile.
Certification Deadline: The certifications of those officials who were certified in 2016 but who have not completed the recertification process will expire on May 31, 2017. So please complete your recertification.
Be Fair: Last month I mentioned the course I teach at a local university on Track and Field Officiating. Each class session begins with the four points of my "officiating philosophy", the first of which is Be Safe. The second is Be Fair. In summary, that means:
  • Know the appropriate rules for the meet and event you are officiating and apply them consistently. Don't make up rules. Know the rules.
  • As far as it depends on the officials, no athlete should be allowed to gain an unfair advantage and no athlete should have to suffer an unfair disadvantage.
  • All athletes should be regarded as equals, regardless of their ability or the level of competition.
Mike Armstrong;
Chairman, USATF National Officials Committee

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USATF Rule of the Month

Relay Races ~ USATF Rule 170.17

Rule 170.17 - The baton shall be passed entirely within the exchange zone. The passing of the baton commences when it is first touched by the receiving runner and is completed the moment it is in the hand of only the receiving runner. Each of these actions (the first touch and the baton only in the hand of the receiver) shall occur within the exchange zone. In relation to the exchange zone, it is only the position of the baton that is decisive. Passing the baton outside the exchange zone shall result in disqualification.
Do you have a rule that you would like to see addressed by our Rules Chair? Email Laurie Boemker ( with your suggestions and maybe it will be featured next issue.

NCAA Situation


One flight of 12 competitors will compete in the shot put. During check-in you learn that two athletes will not participate, leaving ten competitors. Nine will be taken to the finals. During the preliminary competition, athletes 1 and 4 make three valid attempts but foul on all of them. The question is: do you take all ten competitors to the finals since athletes 1 and 4 had valid attempts and "tied" for the ninth spot? No tie breaking procedures were determined by the games committee prior to the competition.


Rule 6-2.5 states: “In the throwing events and the horizontal jumps, each competitor shall be allowed three trials. In scored competitions with five or fewer teams, not more than one competitor more than the number of scoring places, including representation from more than one team, shall advance by best mark in the preliminary rounds to the final rounds, provided each has a valid mark in the preliminary rounds. The number of advancers shall never exceed nine, except that competitors tying for the last advancement position, by mark, shall advance to the final rounds, unless tie-breaking is designated by the games committee before the competition.”
Athlete #1 and #4 did not fulfill the requirement for advancement (valid mark) therefore only 8 contestants shall advance to the final.
Email Mark Kostek, NCAA Secretary-Rules Editor at for NCAA Interpretations or questions.

Para Athletics – Arm Pads

Arm amputee athletes or those with short arm(s) may use arm pads on which to rest stumps at the start or to improve balance. The pads must be completely behind the start line and not interfere with any other athlete. The pads should be a similar color to the track or of a neutral color.
To access the 2016-2017 Paralympic Rule Book and any 2017 amendments, you can go to

Did You Know?

Pole Vaulting, known as Pole Jumping, was originally used for distance rather than height, where the athlete landed on their feet. Various types of Distance Pole Vaulting competitions are still a popular sport or event in some areas around the world. The American record holder for Pole Vault Distance is listed as 28 feet and 2 inches set in NYC in 1910.

Officials Hall of Fame Nominations

As we begin the month of May, it is now time to think about the Officials Hall of Fame and who will be our inductees or 2017.
Please think about those officials from your association to deserve to be considered for the Officials Hall of Fame and get their information to me.
You can find the information to complete the on-line form on the website.
Please take a few minutes and review the information on the website and get your nominations in for the 2017 class.
Karen Krsak
Chair, Hall of Fame

Be Safe Out There

Important Links

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