MTF Chair Harvey answers critics, questions on LSU weather delays

LSU outdoor nationals held some events indoors.

Mike Travers, USATF Eastern Region masters coordinator, has posted on Facebook a memo from national masters chair Rex Harvey with the title “Weather Delays at Meets.” Here’s what Rex wrote Friday: “This past weekend at the Outdoor Nationals in Baton Rouge, the competition was interrupted several times by weather delays. Some people called them rain delays, but that is not accurate. We would not delay for rain alone, unless it was extremely heavy or it was an event that cannot be safely conducted in the rain (such as the pole vault). Lightning was the reason for the delays. Every facility has its own policy on lightning and the minimum allowable distance of the lightning varies from facility to facility.”

Rex continues:

LSU’s policy actually allows lightning much closer than many places, so that allowed us to keep going longer than might have been the case elsewhere. While it was the Games Committee announcing the decisions, it was actually an LSU staff member stationed high up in Tiger Stadium (where their lightning detection technology is located) who was making the calls and informing our Games Committee when it was necessary to suspend the meet and when it was ok to resume.

It was the same technology used by LSU when determining whether or not they can continue with their intercollegiate outdoor events and practices.

I think the Games Committee and referees did an excellent job of recovering from the delays by moving indoors those events that could be conducted in the field house and rescheduling those that could not be conducted indoors to early morning hours or doubling up events where the venues allowed.

The Games Committee itself officiated some of those doubled up events. We were extremely lucky to have the indoor facility to fall back on and should be thankful that the Baton Rouge LOC had arranged permission and paid to use that facility.

Some have asked what we were doing on the Gulf Coast in the summertime. The answer is that we can only choose from amongst those sites that bid to host our championships. If there is only one bidder, that obviously limits the options. Also the championship sites are chosen by a vote of the MTF Committee members at the USATF Annual Meeting.

I don’t think anyone would disagree that the LSU facility is excellent, and among the very best in the nation — so that was not an issue at all this year. If you don’t like the facilities being chosen, be pro-active and research and suggest possible venues and attend the Annual Meeting and have your vote counted in the selection.

I was very proud of the willingness of those in Baton Rouge to do what needed to be done. Athletes, officials and administrators all (that I was aware of) accepted and made the best of a less-than-ideal situation.

Of course, none of us like the idea of throwing the hammer at 7 AM or running the tighter curves of the indoor 200m track, but there really weren’t any other viable alternatives. All competitors were under the same conditions, so it was fair, although admittedly not conducive to records.

Your volunteer MTF administrators will continue to do what it can to insure a fair and honorable competition at our championships.

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July 23, 2017

9 Responses

  1. tb - July 24, 2017

    Who is the LOC? I’d like to write them and thank them.

  2. Susie - July 24, 2017

    Great job!

  3. Suzy Wojcik - July 24, 2017

    The games committee and the officials did an outstanding job at this venue under the most difficult of situations.

  4. Michael D Walker - July 24, 2017

    I thought that the meet was very well run and that the officials handled the weather issues as well as can be done. That LSU’s indoor track was also available was a plus. Overall a great meet.

  5. Francois C. Boda - July 24, 2017

    I agree that the LOC deserves a lot of credit for handling a very tough situation very well. The officials did a great job accommodating to the best of their abilities all athletes. Great job by all.

  6. John Impson - July 24, 2017

    I’m proud of my alma mater and really appreciate the hard work not only by the usatf crew but by the many LSU staff that helped make this meet a great one.
    The weather was a factor, not only hot but dangerous with the lightning strikes. Some of the sprinters I talked to did question the selection of LSU, but as one replied, “we deal with meets in cold climates as well.” All in all, they were very appreciate of how everything was handled.

  7. christel donley - July 24, 2017

    Nothing but praise for the LOC AND the officials.

    Now the hotel, Belle of Baton Rouge, they need a better manager… and the “ladies” at the reception: friendliness and being helpful – is not in their repertoire!
    Maybe, that’s only my experience?….

  8. bert bergen - July 24, 2017

    L.O.L great.Officials great.Volunteers great.Venue great.However when I asked a waiter if we would have thunderstorms this afternoon ,he said “we have thunderstorms every afternoon ” Right place, wrong time. P.S No one has ever died after being struck by cold.

  9. Bryan Pierce - July 24, 2017

    Jeff Mack and I train with a lightning detector at our home track, so I understand the weather concerns. What we would like to know is: how did we go from lanes 4 and 9 for our respective 200 heats, to 1 and 2 once we moved indoors?

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