INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field passed a series of bylaw changes by voice vote acclamation Sunday morning during the Closing General Session of the organization's 2009 Annual Meeting.
In 2008, membership passed governance reform that primarily dealt with USATF's Board of Directors. As was the case last year, the main principle of the newly passed changes is to clearly state where responsibility lies for business-related decision-making in the organization, to decrease potential liability for volunteers and the National Office, and to establish clear lines of accountability.
Passed unanimously by USATF's Board of Directors during their November 18 conference call, the approved amendments establish the primacy of the Board of Directors as the organization's fiduciary and the group that establishes USATF policies; gives the CEO discretion to act, under the Board's direction, in the best interest of the sport, or to protect USATF from liability or other financial risk in emergency situations; gives the CEO authority to accept or reject meet management and officials if their participation poses a risk to USATF; codifies an ethics committee; and amends the process by which Team USA staffs are selected.
Team staff selection changes affect Olympic, Outdoor World Championships, and Pan American Games coaches and managers. Men's and women's subcommittees will maintain qualified pools of candidates for coach and manager positions. The Chief of Sport Performance; the Director of Coaching; the Chairs of the Men's and Women's Track and Field, Race Walking, and Coaches Advisory Committees; the Long Distance Running Division Chair; the Athletes Advisory Committee Chair; and an International Athlete of opposite gender named by the Athletes Advisory Chair will select proposed lists of coaches and managers from the pools for background screening by the CEO and Board approval. A second amendment enables individuals to serve as head Olympic coach or manager more than once, if qualified and selected to do so.
The amendments also simplify the Bylaws by moving procedures from the Bylaws to the Regulations. The Bylaws are reserved for basic corporate structure and principles and members' rights. (For example, the Bylaws state who has the right to vote, and the Regulations state when and where voting takes place.) The amendments also eliminate legal jargon, to communicate in plain English.
USATF's Board of Directors previously adopted a $21 million budget, which signals a 40 percent increase over recent years and includes five "Excellence Challenge Grants" to go directly to proposed programs promoting competitive excellence in the Youth, Masters, Race Walking, Long-Distance Running and Disabled disciplines. Total grant money, which will be distributed by USATF's Board of Directors' standing committees, ranges from $25,000 to $50,000 for each group.
For a complete summary of bylaw changes, visit USATF.org.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.