“It is unacceptable for the collective voice of the athletes to be disrespected and dismissed.”
Press Release From TFAA
March 26, 2014
As track and field fans, athletes, coaches, agents and sponsors are aware, the integrity of the results of a national championship was compromised at the USATF Indoor Championships in February. Proper procedure was not followed after the women’s 3000m, resulting in the disqualification of the winner, Gabriele Grunewald. In the men’s 3000m, Andrew Bumbalough was disqualified for contact he never made, which is clearly evident in the race footage.
USA Track and Field reinstated Grunewald as the winner of the women’s 3000m two days after the race, but with no explanation as to why proper procedure had not been followed and how they would prevent this from happening in the future.
USATF has not responded with regards to the disqualification of Bumbalough.
The Track and Field Athletes Association proposed to the USATF that there be athlete representatives observing the protest and appeals process at future USATF championships. This proposal intended to improve transparency and accountability going forward for all parties involved. The proposal was sent directly to the USATF and was also presented openly to the public, garnering almost 1000 signatures in a matter of days.
USATF canceled a conference call initially scheduled for Monday, March 10, 2014, to discuss this proposal and since then has ignored all follow-up requests to reschedule from both the TFAA and the USATF Athlete Advisory Committee.
Why would the national governing body ignore the athletes association, their own athletes advisory committee (which is required by the Ted Stevens Act) and the 1,000 athletes, coaches, agents, sponsors and fans who signed the petition calling for change?
The lack of action is the most recent in a long-string of failures to engage in meaningful dialogue with the TFAA and the AAC. We’ve identified a number of issues that would enhance the professional side of our sport: improved transparency in the processes for protests, greater visibility into the bid processes for national championship sites, revenue-sharing opportunities and more.
We support USATF in their mission of driving “competitive excellence and popular engagement in our sport” and we recognize them in their role as a national governing body, but we do not agree with the tactic of shutting out THE ATHLETE VOICE.
It is unacceptable for the collective voice of the athletes to be disrespected and dismissed. We are aligned with our fans in our quest to improve our sport. We cannot sit idly by while its integrity is compromised and our calls for action and change fall on deaf ears.
This communication is just the first step. The TFAA is preparing a series of important initiatives.