All-star masters teams days may be numbered in cross country
All-star masters club teams — involving distance runners from widely varied areas of the country — have been common in recent years, especially at the national masters cross country championships. For example, M40 winner Brian Pope of Mississippi ran for SoCal Track Club at the 2004 club event in Portland, Oregon. So Masters LDR Chairman Norm Green is hoping to tighten the rules a bit. Item No. 49 on the USATF bylaws agenda (proposals for the annual meeting in December) addresses this issue.
Here’s how the proposal reads:
Amend Regulation 7, â€śRepresentation,â€ť as follows:
B Residency exceptions: Sport committees shall establish residency requirements for championshipsâ€™ team scoring, which shall be reflected in the Competition Rules. An Association may permit an athlete who is a bona fide resident to be a member of another Association by the agreement of the two Associations. Agreement may concern individual athletes or all athletes who reside in a certain area. An athlete who is unable to obtain agreement of the two Associations may appeal to the NABR, which shall conduct a hearing by conference call and make a determination on the basis of what is in the best interests of the sport and of the athlete.
Reason: Association clubs have been recruiting members from Associations across the country to attempt to create â€śall-starâ€ť teams for USA Masters Cross Country Championships. The concept of â€śnational teamsâ€ť is contrary to the spirit and intent of Masters team competition in cross country, especially at the USA Masters Club Cross Country Championships. Law & Legislation arrived at the conclusion that this
L&L recommendation: Acceptable substantive amendment.
Me again: I’m on the record for allowing any four sprinters from the same age group to join for a medal-eligible team in the relays at masters nationals. But the idea of an all-star club team is a different salami altogether. Here I tend to agree with Norm: It ain’t kosher to have a team from “Southern California” led by a different kind of Southerner.
Of course, having Brian Pope on the SoCal team in December 2004 didn’t guarantee a club title. The winner of the M40 group was Team Runners High (with SoCal fifth). But if Brian couldn’t find any other team to help with logistics and espenses, then maybe the rule change could hurt masters. We’ll see.