Big Apple dumps 2007 masters indoor nationals

Let the bad times roll. The Armory track in New York City has decided that, oops, it can’t host the 2007 USATF Masters National Indoor Championships. On Monday, Norbert Sander Jr., president of The Armory Foundation, notified USATF Masters T&F Chair George Mathews of its decision to scratch. George’s reaction? “I’m not happy about my kinfolks in New York,” he wrote me. That’s putting it mildly. Lots of folks will be disappointed and angry over the Armory’s antics a year ahead of the meet.

Here’s what Sander wrote:
Norbert W. Sander, Jr., M.D.
The Armory Foundation
216 Fort Washington Avenue, NYC
(212) 923-1803 ext.10
Dear George:
As a follow-up to our conversation on Saturday February 25th, 2006, the Armory must regretfully withdraw its bid to host the 2007 Indoor USA Master Track & Field meet. After our meeting with Jim Flanik and yourself, it was clear that the cost to stage a meet of this complexity here in New York City could not be met through the entry fees of the athletes. Other important costs such as admission fees for spectators and the current rates for hotels in New York City also appear by your input considerably above the expectations of master competitors. While we in New York feel the experience of this great city is worth the added costs we understand your own positions and responsibilities to offer relatively low budget competition to your constituents.
Many thanks for your understanding and we hope with over a year until 2007’s competition you can secure a suitable site.

Me again:
New York City’s bid in December 2004 for the 2007 indoor nationals included the assumption that spectators would be charged admission to the meet — something USATF masters simply doesn’t do. New York also was well aware of the expensive lodging. So what’s changed?
At the end of my report from Portland on NYC being chosen to host it first nationals, I wrote:
“The meet may be four days instead of the usual three, the New York reps said, to be able to feature an indoor weight pentathlon on the opening day, without lots of other events going on around the track at the same time. This got the dander up of a few delegates, who wondered out loud whether the Armory folks were trying to usurp authority from USATF on what events to stage at an indoor nationals, since apparently the weight pentathlon is not a traditional indoor event.
“But when it comes to throwing weight around, New York is world-class. We’ll see how potential disputes pan out in the next couple years.”
Well, now we see. NYC simply took its implements and went home, leaving USATF Masters without a host site in 2007. The board will meet on securing another 2007 site, I’m told. In 2004, NYC beat Boston for the 2007 meet by a vote of 38-12. We’ll see if Boston will step into the breach, or another city steps up to the plate.
If you’d like YOUR town to host nationals, contact your local USATF association and see if they’d consider entering a bid. Don’t assume your local association will know the meet is in play. Tell them. Anyone interested in hosting the 2007 indoor nationals should contact George Mathews.

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February 28, 2006

13 Responses

  1. Dan - February 28, 2006

    How about Albuquerque, NM….they have a brand new indoor Mondo track…also, Brad Winters is on the City council and is a Masters Pole Vaulter…they could pull it off, someone should ask them, it is a track friendly town

  2. Chuck Greene - March 1, 2006

    Truth Be Told:
    Masters athletes pay annual USATF dues…just like the younger folks.
    Masters athletes are denied equal status.
    Can someone please hook me up with the phone number for the ACLU?

  3. Mary Harada - March 1, 2006

    not surprised but disgusted at the short notice – I was looking forward to a few days in the Big Apple.- so perhaps back to Boston and Reggie Lewis! I know that folks prefer to shift the meet around so that those far from the right coast can get to the meet without spending alot of money. OTOH -how about a host who knows how to host! And especially with the short notice – I have nothing against New Mexico – but it is a short time to get things going and better to look to those with experience and have those who might wish to host the meet have the time to line up sponsors, hotels, etc.
    Just my personal point of view

  4. keith royster - March 1, 2006

    NYC Aromry. first class facility. management…another story.
    Jersey City Armory has a new indoor 200m mondo track.

  5. Emil - March 1, 2006

    Anyone support Boise as a potential host?

  6. George Ragan - March 1, 2006

    I know that there has been some discussion among “us” (potential new LOC’ers) in Boise that we would not mind hosting this meet again.
    This being an unexpected situation, I’m sure we could put someting together to help the Masters committee out. Don’t expect a rose garden, but we can do it.

  7. John - March 1, 2006

    I think Nampa (they callled it Boise) did a hell of a job last year and I would love to have it move back there for 2007.

  8. Mary Woo - March 1, 2006

    What about Fresno? Or Reno if they get their new track in time? Boise is also an excellent choice.

  9. Tony Plaster - March 2, 2006

    With respect to all the nice people out there Boise was no Rose Garden the first time. 30 mile hotel shuttles (The hotel was not inexpensive) , enough altitude to begin to be a problem for the middle distances, but mostly difficult and expenseive to get to. A meet there might be low budget for Mr Mathews who lives there but it was not for his constituents.
    There are more than 100 track meets per season at NYC Armory, many big multiday events , thousands of competitors and their familys some how manage.
    A few thousand of the best cross country runners in the country just came to Van Cortland for a couple of days…..

  10. John Kuhi - March 2, 2006

    I would like to see the 2007 Nationals at the fairly new, Landover,Maryland sportscomplex. Easy access from DC airports and nice tourist attractions in DC. Particapation would be much more than remote towns in the mid-west, with no direct flights.

  11. Jerry Bookin-Weiner - March 2, 2006

    Here’s a big NO vote for Nationals in Landover from someone who is local. The facility is nice enough, although the track is NOT banked. The problem is that the folks who run meets there aren’t athlete friendly. At the Sportsplex Masters Championships a couple of weeks ago although they had said that they’d take walk up entries (at a $35 premium I might add!!!) 45 minutes before the meet was to begin they announced they were no longer taking them. When they had the Eastern Regional Indoor meet there a few years ago the organization was about the worst I’ve ever seen. Things have improved, but not enough to host the Nationals.

  12. sallie parker - March 3, 2006

    Dr. Sander’s decision to back out of the 2007 hosting was doubtless based on several delicate considerations, beginning with a lack of administrative personnel to run such an event. The Armory just doesn’t have ’em. Nor is the local chapter of USATF up to providing the support for a masters meet. They don’t have enough seasoned officials, and their track-and-field agenda does not include the encouragement of masters athletes. If you read the mission statement on the chapter’s poorly managed website, it appears that they think their main purpose is helping “at risk” teenagers (i.e., what in the 60s we euphemistically referred to as “inner-city youth”) stay out of trouble. This is the political environment that Norbert Sander has to deal with.

  13. Mark Cleary - March 4, 2006

    I for one would go back to Boise. There were hotels available in Nampa for those who didn’t want to brave the shuttle.In fact as I recall there was a large hotel that shared the parking lot just about with the Track facility–it however was not one of the hotels on the LOC’s list for some strange reason. People will find all kinds of reasons to complain about the meet locations–usually because they don’t want to do the leg work to find alternative hotels or don’t want to rent a car–hey nothing is perfect and although I like Boston and like to run there–having the meet there every year is not the answer. Our team had 27 athletes in Boise and felt it was a good meet and the access to hotels and restaurants was ample–I hope they consider hosting another Masters Indoor Nationals there.

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