USATF masters records get big rewrite; ratifications are expedited

Regina Jacobs now owns 6 masters American records.

My Hero of the Year is Jeff Brower, USATF Masters records chair, who has done a massive rewrite of the AR books and reformed the ratification system. Quietly updating USATF age-group records, he’s added marks as old as 1985 (an M60 5000 of 16:52 by Jim O’Neil, wiping out a recently listed 16:56.9 by Nolan Shaheed in 2012) and reached back to old IAAF world meets to remove two W35 records by Latrica Dendy. In this Google doc showing dozens of approved records, Jeff lists a half-dozen indoor and outdoor W35 middle-distance marks by Regina Jacobs between 1999 and 2003, when she retired after testing positive for the steroid THG. (Her earlier marks apparently stood as legal.) Olympian Jearl Miles-Clark is now credited with W35 indoor and outdoor records in the 400 and outdoors in the 800 — marks dating back to 2002 and 2004. Sandra Glover’s PR 53.32 in the 400 hurdles at 2005 IAAF worlds displaces the previously listed W35 record of 61.19 by Latrica at 2009 Lahti WMA worlds. Another notable update: Jackie Joyner-Kersee finally gets credit for her 6.79 (22-3 1/2) long jump at a 1997 Athens meet. (The previously listed AR was 6.50/21-4 by Willye White in 1974.) Just as momentous is Jeff’s announcement that masters records can be vetted and posted ahead of the annual meeting in early December.

These middle-distance marks are now listed as USATF age-group records.

Here’s what Jeff posted this week:

A new record ratification process was implemented for USATF Masters T&F (MTF) in September of 2017. Instead of a single formal ratification process at the end of each year at the USATF Annual Meeting, the MTF Records Committee will submit record reports throughout the year to the elected officers of MTF, who will share and review the report. Any objections to the report will be communicated to the Records Committee, and affected items will be removed from the report (to be reviewed at a later date.) The remainder of the items will be ratified formally immediately.

Reasoning: The current annual process for formal ratification increases the workload of officials and confuses everyone. What is the current record and who is the current record holder? With a more frequent ratification process:
Officials will waste less time processing performances at meets that actually aren’t records; New records and record holders will be recognized for their performance quicker; Interim record holders (whose records were surpassed later in the year) will get recognition for their accomplishment.

Even after ratification, an approved record may still be questioned and rejected. A rejected record may still be resolved and approved.

In response to queries, Jeff graciously told how the new system came about:

Based on the comments of numerous individuals that had become disgruntled with the single, delayed ratification procedure that Indy has been following for a long time, I investigated and worked to develop a procedure to ratify records faster.

The other Sports Committees didn’t seem interested, so I focused on just Masters T&F. Gary Snyder had approved the procedure to ratify Masters T&F records more often throughout each year, and Rex [Harvey] also supported it so we fine-tuned the actual procedure and implemented it last September.

How was it shaped? The goal was to expedite ratification, and the nature of record performances meant a procedure would need to be repeated throughout the year as records were broken. I worked with Gary and Rex to polish the procedure and then worked with the Records Committee to confirm we could have our own ratification process (apart from other Sports Committees.)

Many people believed that record ratification required approval of the general body at the annual meeting, but that’s not accurate. So no “Indy HQ” sign off was needed or pursued.

All this is marvelous, but the job isn’t finished. How about letting the U.S. open record in the women’s discus become the W35 American record as well? (See my rant from November 2014.)

Any other old marks worth revisiting?

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October 20, 2017

5 Responses

  1. chuckxc - October 20, 2017

    Bravo to Jeff Brower for streamlining the records process. As for the new female W35 mid distance records, I’ll guess we’ll have to take the bad with the good.

  2. Ken Stone - October 20, 2017

    Here’s my story on the Regina Jacobs records:

    I quote Jeff Brower in the report.

  3. Matt Spiller - October 20, 2017

    Having elite athletes hold Masters WRs seems like a joke.

  4. Ken Stone - October 20, 2017

    I’ve added comments from Alisa Harvey, who says she heard rumors before 2003 of Regina doping:

  5. what the? - October 21, 2017

    How disheartening to now look back at a person who was a proven cheater taking designer steroids that at the time defied detection and now to be approving any type of record in their name. To allow this means that if you can “get away with it”, go for it. In other words, take all the crap you want to take and break all the records you want as long as you don’t show up at a tested meet. Everybody on board with this? How is fair to those of us who do not cheat or logical?

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