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Sun Sep 10, 2006 9:57 pm

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Junior Masters Athlete
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I was chatting today with fellow OR resident, Dave C. and he mentioned the probable rule change regarding club membership. We live in a state which, surprisingly, has few masters club opportunities and so we both run for clubs in a different USATF association than OR.

Dave mentioned that we might be forced to switch clubs if there is a club in OR that we could join. Right now, I do not run for an OR club because there isn't one that offers a masters women's team for xc, my primary sport.

So, here's my question -- what if there IS a local club that exists and has masters women, but they won't let me join? There was a local team headed by a guy that I HATE and he'd never let me join it (even if I wanted to). Would I be forced to run for them (and would they be forced to let me join), even if neither of us wanted it?

And what if they had masters women, but didn't offer a team for nationals in my particular sport or emphasis?

To whom do I direct these questions? It would totally suck to have to run for that team, with people I truly don't like -- it would take all the fun out of competing.

Is there an appeal process? Won't this take up a lot of time? Surely I'm not the only one who has problems with a particular club.



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Sun Sep 10, 2006 10:22 pm

 
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Master Masters Athlete
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Location: San Diego

Kelly,

Although Bob Fine is a masters enchilada, his proposal to ban "association clubs acting as national clubs" leaves a bad taste in the mouths of masters delegates to the USATF national meeting. Most people think the issue has been decided, so why revisit it?

My blog post on the subject is here:
http://masterstrack.com/blog/000971.html

But you'll notice that four dozen people react to Bob's proposal. So people "out there" have strong feelings about it.

To influence any vote at Indy (where the national meeting is set in late November and early December), you should write the leadership of your USATF association.

Here's the overall USATF associations page:
http://www.usatf.com/associations/

Here's the Oregon association:
http://www.usatf-oregon.org/

My prediction: The status will stay quo.

_________________
Ken Stone
http://www.masterstrack.com



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Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:37 am

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Master Masters Athlete
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Location: Massachusetts

I agree with Ken, the issue has been batted around, the rule Bob Fine wants to have changed is not likely to be changed. No one is going to be forced to join a club they do not want to join. Lots of folks will remain unattached, some will join clubs in states outside their local association, and a few will continue to complain about national clubs. Meanwhile the status quo will continue to be static.



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Tue Sep 19, 2006 12:20 pm

 
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Location: Portland, OR

Kelly et al--

The issue of club membership will come up again at the USATF convention in December. There are still folks in USATF who take issue with athletes who prefer to join and compete for clubs outside their resident association.

This year, the issue at hand is not whether you can join a club outside your home turf association. You may do so, according to USATF rules (if you obtain permission from the associations involved). Instead, the focus will be whether or not you can score points for your club, if you do not reside in your club's geographical region. In other words, if you live in Mississippi and belong to a club in California, new rules may disqualify you from scoring points for your club in track and cross country competitions.

Each sports committee is tasked with formulating its own separate rules on this issue. Masters T&F will consider a proposal by Bob Fine which could prohibit non-resident club members from scoring for their clubs in almost all team scored track meets. LDR has a more complex proposal on the table, which provides exceptions for athletes whose resident association (and adjoining associations) do not provide club scoring opportunities in their competitive category. Either of these proposals may pass, fail or be ammended at the convention.

My view is this: I am not in favor of Fine's proposal. However, I don't have a problem with the intent of the LDR proposal. An athlete who does not have team competition opportunities in his/her association should be allowed to chose another club in another association to represent. I would, however, remove the language refering to "adjoining associations" which really confuses the issue.

To get to Kelly's question, the LDR proposal might provide the flexibility needed in your case to represent a club outside your association (if the local club does not field teams in national competitions, for example). It also provides for an appeal process that should allow an athlete, under extremely peculiar circumstances (such as being denied membership in a local club), to represent a non-local club.

These rules change proposals are not yet posted on the USATF web site, but hopefully will appear soon. If you are consider about the imposition of restrictions regarding which club you may or may not compete for, then I recommend you either attend the convention (in Indianapolis) or contact someone from your association who can represent your intetests.


-Dave C.



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Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:25 pm

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Senior Masters Athlete
Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 6:40 pm
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Location: Hong Kong

It's odd that this proposal should be pushed by Bob Fine, considering that he's a racewalker and racewalking clubs are so rare.

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Quick Silver
Hong Kong



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Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:57 am

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Junior Masters Athlete
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Southern Cal. Club has been recruiting all over the country. Including Oscar Robinson, a sprinter/jumper who lives in Boca Raton. (Oscar will join FAC). Technically, if the resident Association and the S. Cal Association agree a transfer is legal. Legislation is being proposed to stop this. If it does not pass then FAC may also recruit outside of Florida, with the intention of having enough people upset to stop the practice.



THIS IS A QUOTE FROM THE FLORIDA ATHLETIC CLUB WEBSITE WHICH IS BOB FINES CLUB AND MAY SHED SOME LIGHT. IT SPEAKS FOR ITSELF ESPECIALLY THE LAST SENTANCE.[/quote]



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Wed Sep 20, 2006 6:22 pm

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Master Masters Athlete
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Location: Massachusetts

The adjoining associations issue has to do, as I understand it, with situations such as in the New England area where Maine is a separate association and not part of the New England Association, yet some folks who live in Maine want to run for a club that is in the NE Association - I use that simply as an example. This is true for my club - we have members who lived in the NE Association area but have retired to Maine and they wish to continue to compete for our club. This hardly constitutes recruiting "stars". I have no problem with people wanting to run for clubs outside of their association. Frankly I think the club championship stuff is a bit of a crock. Perhaps it is Jealousy on my part, my club is quite small, we manage to field a team for x-c meets now and then and get a relay team or two if the meet is in Boston. Our teams are almost entirely in the upper age groups so we are hardly a threat to the larger clubs that seem to spend enormous time and energy recruiting far and wide. When it comes to fielding age-group teams in the 50's 60's and upward, it is very difficult to find 3-5 athletes who actually turn up to compete. If we are confined to our association alone, then it becomes almost impossible.
For sprinters wanting to compete in relays - recruiting only within an association really limits opportunites for good competition especially for older age groups. It will be difficult for men in the upper age groups and virtually impossible for women.
We need to encourage competition, not find ways to make it difficult.



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Wed Sep 20, 2006 7:11 pm

 
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Junior Masters Athlete
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Location: Portland, OR

Here's the text of the rules change proposal regarding restrictions on athletes who are members of clubs outside their association. Note that this is a preliminary version, which may be changed before or during the convention:

Item 9 – Submitted by George Kleeman, Rules Committee, on behalf of Mark Winitz, Irene Hermen, Lloyd Stephenson and David Coyne for the LDR Committees
Amend Rule 13.4 by adding:
Pursuant to USATF Regulation 7-B-2, for purposes of team scoring in long distance running competitions, an athlete who is a bona fide resident of one Association may be a member of another Association pursuant to the following rules and procedures:

1. Upon application of the athlete, he or she may be a member of an adjoining Association by agreement of the two Associations;

2. Upon application of the athlete, he or she may be a member of a non-adjoining Association by agreement of the two Associations, if and only if the athlete’s Association of bona fide residence and all adjoining Associations do not conduct team long distance running competitions in the relevant category;

3. If the athlete has submitted a written request for membership in another Association pursuant to subsection 1 or 2 above, and neither Association has denied that request, and one or both Associations have failed to respond to the request with an approval or denial within 30 days of the date on which the athlete submitted the request, the request shall be deemed to be approved upon the date of the athlete’s submission of the request and all supporting documentation to the National Office;

4. The athlete or one or both of the Associations involved may appeal an adverse determination to the NABR pursuant to Regulation 11-P, which shall make its determination on the basis of the best interests of the athlete and the sport;

5. An agreement between Associations pursuant to subsection 1 or 2 above shall become effective 30 days after the date on which the athlete submitted the request. This 30-day period may be reduced or waived by agreement of the two Associations.

An agreement between Associations may concern an individual athlete or all athletes who reside in a designated area. In the event of an agreement between Associations concerning all athletes who reside in a designated area, that agreement shall become effective immediately upon announcement of the agreement.

Reason: To foster, in USATF LDR competition, geographically oriented, homogeneous clubs composed of athletes with strong local ties, and to prohibit geographically disperse “all-star” teams composed of across-association athletes in these competitions. Note: Pursuant to Reg 7-B-2, the Men’s LDR, Women’s LDR, and Masters LDR Committees adopted the above as committee policies at the 2006 Annual Meeting.

--------------------------------------------------
Me again:
My problem with the "adjoining association clause" is that an athlete who does not have competition opportunities within his/her association must then seek those opportunities in geographically contiguous associations. Only after failing to find opportunities in the those associations, is he/she free to compete for a club of his/her choice in any association. Some associations have two adjoining associations. Others have seven or eight. Too arbitrary and too limiting. I think an athlete who does not have bona fide competition opportunities in his/her association should be free to join any association.

-Dave C.



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Thu Sep 21, 2006 4:24 pm

 
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Master Masters Athlete
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good grief - why so complex - why make an athlete jump through so many hoops to join a club that happens not to be in one's association. This is worse than the UN or the EU - by the time an athlete has managed to dot all the i's and crossed all the t's, he/she may have moved/ stopped competing/ gotten slower/ or maybe just plain disgusted. This sort of convoluted rule making requires that an athlete who wants to compete for a team across the country must first hire an agent to represent him/her hiire a lawyer to straighten it all out, and then hope and pray that no injuries prevent him/her from competing.
This is not for the Olympics folks, this is supposed to be about MASTERS Competition -no one is earning a living running masters track - in fact the vast majority of us are not among the top 400 billionaires, we are just working stiffs - or retired from being working stiffs, and engage in masters track and field as a hobby - does the world of masters swimming, masters tennis, etc, have such stuff?



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