I'm heading to my first USATF Convention.
The biggest thing to be decided this year is who the next USATF President is going to be.This will be the official thread to discuss the candidates and also what you think the president needs to do.
Also half of the USATF Board will turn over at this convention.
Some basics. The President is voted on by all the delegates at the convention and serves a four year term. Current president is Stephanie Hightower. The new president will either be Jackie Joyner Kersee, the three time Olympic champion, current USATF board member, and philanthropist (the Jackie Joyner Foundation) or Vin Lananna, the Track Town USA President (group that brough World Indoors and Outdoors to USA), University of Oregon assistant athletic director, and former coach.
Before we breakdown the candidates it would be best to know what the president does The President's power isn't as powerful as it used to be as the President used to be the Chairman of the USATF board. Now that is not automatically the case. The President is on the USATF Board and their real power comes from being able to appoint many members to various USATF Committees and the chairs "of all non-sport committees".
(I'd love if someone can clarify what the non-sport committees are but for example the Law and Legislation Committee which determines the bylaws for USATF is a non-sports committee. )
The President also appoints the Counsel to the Board. The Chairman of the Board (with the Boards approval), not the President, appoints the members of the Ethics Committee, so the President is not in charge of all appointments.
Vin Lananna's platform statement is here:
Jackie Joyner has a website for her candidacy.
Ken Goe of the Oregonian breaks down the candidates here
and notes Vin's candidacy stresses more specifics and Jackie's candicacy more her biography and role as an ambassador of the sport.
Becca Gillespy of Pole Vault Power did a Q&A with the candidates.
Now it's time to discuss the candidates. When I first heard of Vin Lananna's candidacy, I thought there was no way he should be president without giving up his current role at Track Town USA. Not that it's because he isn't qualified, but because he has too many conflicts of interests. I joke Vin is the only person who gets stuff done in track and field in America. Success usually follows him around. TrackTown USA brought the World Indoors to Portland and will bring the World Outdoors to Eugene. Amazing accomplishments.Sure he can recuse himself issues involving TrackTown USA, but at the Olympic/professional end of the Sport, Track Town USA is the leader of everything in the USA.
Ideally I'd want someone to be President who isn't conflicted on some of the biggest issues facing USATF. My thinking was Vin would be great for CEO of USATF but why does he need to be president?
ThenI heard Jackie was the only person running against him, and she has a whole different set of conflicts and doesn't have the track record of success as Vin in terms of non-athletic accomplishments. With Jackie her conflict to me is she is on the current board. The Board needs to take its oversight role of the CEO seriously and I think they could do a better job in that department. Max Siegel, the CEO was a board member before becoming CEO, and the WashingtonPost had and expose on Max not following some of the best practices for a non-profit.
Ultimately I blame the Board for not putting better guidelines in place for the CEO to follow. Max has done a great job in increasing USATF's revenue, but not a great job in terms of transparency and leading a non-profit. Some of you may think these things don't affect the top end of the sport but they do. I think it's essential for example that the athletes know how much cash the Nike sponsorship deal is generating each year so they can advocate for their fair share. I don't have confidence a current board member will improve USATF in terms of putting better oversight structures in place as currently USATF is lacking in this area (the current USATF Ethics Committee doesn't have jurisdiction on the board for example).
Vin and the bid for the World Champs are not known for transparency either (they have been criticized for running around Oregon open record statutes) or conflicts of interests (Vin was and may still be a paid adviser of Nike) but he is an outsider to the current USATF hierarchy with a tremendous track record of success.
I'd like to know a little more on why Vin wants to be President.
So those are some of the issues I see. What about you all?