by Jon Gugala
March 28, 2014
In a series of emailed questions with Chief Public Affairs Officer Jill Geer, USA Track and Field has shed light on what it defines as “new conclusive evidence” used to disqualify 3,000-meters national champion Gabe Grunewald at the 2014 USA Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M.
In the official USATF release on February 24 regarding Grunewald’s reinstatement, Geer wrote that “enlarged, digital footage of the legs and feet of both athletes” was used to disqualify Grunewald. What Geer and USATF did not answer, despite calls from athletes and fans alike, was whether this footage was new, or if it was the same footage previously viewed by the Women’s Running Head Referee and a three-person Jury of Appeal, all of whom initially confirmed the ruling of no foul.
According to USATF competition rule 119, section (c), “The decision of the Jury of Appeal shall be final. There shall be no further right to appeal. The Jury of Appeal may, however, reconsider decisions if new conclusive evidence is presented.”
When asked to clarify the nature of the “new conclusive” footage, Geer wrote, “The jury had access to video that provided a more close-up view but also they viewed it on a different medium (computer rather than projected).”
When asked to clarify if there was new footage, she wrote, “It was enlanged [SIC] and enhanced footage. It was supplied by our videographer.”
After a third request clarification, Geer wrote, “It was a different viewing and presentation of the footage (enlarged, enhanced, different medium).”
By this definition, USATF has defined “new conclusive evidence” as the same footage, from the same angle, but enlarged and on a different screen.
USATF is satisfied with the above definition of “new conclusive evidence,” but will Grunewald and the other athletes which it represents feel the same way?
Editors Note: LRC has a new article today that argues USATF did not follow it’s own rules when it reinstated Gabe Grunewald as champion. In that article, Team Indiana coach Greg Harger says that it’s up to the call of the Jury of Appeals to define what they consider to be “new”.