Wednesday, March 26, 2014

USA Track & Field finally releases statement regarding way championship meets are administered...

In the iconic 1980s movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", one of the most memorable scenes is when the economics teacher, played by Ben Stein (left/photo courtesy Paramount Pictures), calls roll.

When he calls Bueller's name three times,  Simone answers, " Um, he's sick. My best friend's sister's boyfriend's brother's girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who's going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it's pretty serious."

Bueller?

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
— MOVIECLIPS.com

The Track & Field Athletes Association, which was supposed to have a conference call with USA Track & Field officials a few weeks ago to discuss the Gabe Grunewald and Andrew Bumbalough disqualifications at the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico, must feel like that econ teacher.

After a release from the TFAA earlier on Wednesday in which they accused USATF of "shutting out THE ATHLETE VOICE" in the discussion, and stated that "It is unacceptable for the collective voice of the athletes to be disrespected and dismissed…and our calls for action and change fall on deaf ears,", the federation finally came out with a prepared statement. 

USATF president Stephanie Hightower said, "CEO Max Siegel and I have engaged in a discussion of how best to address these issues in a deliberate, thorough and thoughtful manner. As USATF President and Chair with oversight of governance, I have asked USATF Board Member and IAAF Senior Vice President Bob Hersh, one of international track & field’s foremost experts on competition rules and governance, to lead a USATF working group that will look into these matters. We will announce other members of this group in coming weeks. Athletes will be a very important part of this process, as well as others in our organization. We appreciate the passion of all our stakeholders. Because it is far-reaching, this process will take place over weeks and months."

The statement from Hightower does not address the two disqualifications, the TFAA petition and cancelled conference call, or the enhanced video evidence used to DQ Grunewald and Bumbalough.

Just from reading Hightower's statement, you get the sense the athletes are getting the same answer Simone gave.

Buckle up.  This could be a while.

In other news, Washington State freshman Alissa Brooks-Johnson is in 19th place in the women’s heptathlon after the first day’s competition at the 87th Annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays in Austin.

Brooks-Johnson, scored 2,952 points in the first four events. She ran the 100m hurdles in a wind-aided time of 14.90 seconds, high jumped 5-feet 3 inches (1.60m), threw the shot put a lifetime-best distance of 35-0 1/4 (10.67m), and ran the 200m in a wind-aided time of 26.11. Brittney Howell of Penn State leads the 24 women in the heptathlon with a first day total of 3,442 points.

WSU freshman Dino Dodig from Serbia strained his back while warming up for the decathlon’s first five events Wednesday morning. Dodig ran the 100m dash in a wind-aided time of 11.23, fouled all three attempts in the long jump, and threw the shot put 38-6 3/4 (11.75m). He tried to high jump but the back pain shot down into his takeoff leg and after several warm-up attempts he dropped out of the decathlon.

The Texas Relays, held at Mike A. Myers Stadium, continues Thursday with Cougars competing in the women’s 400m hurdles and the men’s javelin as well as Brooks-Johnson in the heptathlon. Competition goes through Saturday.



NOTE:  The Track & Field Athletes Association, USA Track & Field, and the sports information offices of the University of Texas and Washington State University contributed to this report.

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