The USATF is in the process of restructuring and is seeking input from its members. Here are the most relevant changes that are being considered, followed by my opinion on what these changes mean:

Youth Division

A youth division is being created to place more of an emphasis on developing elite talent in the country and to help improve the level of fitness of our population at large.

15 Member Board

Currently, the USATF has a 32 member board, and it is a bit bloated and difficult to get anything done. In an effort to become more nimble, the board is going to reduce its size by over 50%, with the 15 seats consisting of:

  1. The USATF President
  2. 3 athletes
  3. 1 representative from each of the following groups:
    • High Performance
    • Long Distance Running
    • General Competition
    • Youth
    • Coaches & Officials
  4. The IAAF representative
  5. 1 representative from “5E” organizations such as the NCAA
  6. 3 Independant Seats

Each constituent group will nominate 3 people for each seat that they have on the board, with nominations for the independent seats being selected by a nominating committee.

The Board Will Elect Its Own Chair

The board will also elect its own chair, with the USATF President serving as the vice-chair if he is not elected as the board chair. This allows the board to select its own leadership while maintaining the seperate duties of the President, who is elected through popular vote. The President would still preside over the annual meeting and the volunteer leadership group.

Full Time Employee for High Performance Plan

A full time employee will be assigned to be responsible for and accountable to the programs put in place to develop our elite athletes, which should make the high performance plan more efficient and streamlined.

National Team Staffs will Require Board Approval

The board will have to approve the national team staff selections, who will then be accountable to the CEO. This will provide oversight and accountability to the positions and allow for greater service to the athletes.

My Opinion on These Changes

I think that streamlining processes and trimming the fat from the board is going to help create a more nimble organization that is going to be better respond to changes in our sport. I hope to see administrative costs go down while providing better services for the athletes, which will also allow more work to be done with youth and volunteer organizations.

One concern that I have, though, and this is a concern that I have had since Doug Logan was named CEO, is that too much emphasis is going to be placed on the elite athletes and the high performance plan and not enough emphasis will be placed on the competitive amateurs in the regional USATF clubs that make up the bulk of the organization’s constituents.

I think that developing our elite program is very important and I want it to succeed, but more attention needs to be paid to the average member of USATF. Doug has a lot of experience dealing with high profile athletes through his work with Major League Soccer in the late 90s, and I worry that sometimes he misses the tree while concentrating on the apples.

(More Info: Existing BylawsProposed Bylaw Changes [PDF: 338k] – Doug Logan’s Take)