Letter from the AAC regarding the progress on USATF Uniform Guidelines; note by the TFAA

posted on February 28, 2012 at 2:30pm CST

The following letter is from USATF Athletes Advisory Committee Chair Jon Drummond regarding the progress made recently in the fight for less restrictions on athletes' uniforms in USATF-sanctioned meets.

Athletes,

On February 25th, history was made in USA Track and Field. The USATF Board worked together to lift the IAAF logo restrictions from all USATF meets. This momentous vote demonstrates the strength of the AAC and USATF when they work together for the common good - the sport of track and field.

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to your Athletes Advisory Committee Board Representatives Aretha Thurmond, Deena Kastor, Hyleas Fountain and Philip Dunn. In addition, I want to recognize the tireless efforts of our AAC Officers and our Athletes Advocate, David Greifinger.

I would also like to extend a special thanks to our President, Stephanie Hightower and Chief of High Performance, Benita Fitzgerald Mosley. They have proven that they are behind the efforts of the athletes.

Finally, I'd like to thank of all the athletes and TFAA members. We appreciate your continued support.

Best of luck. Go for the gold!

*** POINT OF CLARIFICATION ***

Athletes Advisory has received questions regarding the USATF Board of Directors' action to suspend the enforcement of logo guidelines at USATF events.

Please note that this suspension of logo guidelines applies only to events that USATF "owns" and operates, such as national championships. Events run under the jurisdiction of the IOC, USOC, IAAF, or independent event directors are subject to the rules of those organizations or event owners/promoters. This includes IAAF permit meetings on U.S. soil.

Most important, the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field in Eugene are conducted under the rules of the USOC and IOC. USATF will be sending out information directly to athletes about those logo restrictions.

Finally, let me be very clear on this point - please consult with your current sponsor(s) with regard to any of your marketing efforts, including the possible use and placement of logos. Neither the Athletes Advisory Committee nor USA Track & Field encourages or advocates that athletes undertake any activity that could jeopardize any agreement or tenets you have with your current sponsors.

If you have any questions regarding the Board's action, please contact Jill Geer at Jill.Geer@usatf.org

*********

Jon Drummond

Chair, Athletes Advisory Committee


Note from the TFAA:

We realize that the logo issue is not completely settled and it's, actually, more symbolic of some larger changes that need to occur within the entire Olympic movement. Some rules are made to protect the athlete - the concept of lanes, starting blocks, dedicated jumps and throws areas. Those rules establish a physical set of circumstances for optimal competitive performance. The IOC, IAAF and USATF expect to receive athlete feedback on these rules. And often, they make changes based on the feedback of the competitors.

On the other hand, the rules limiting your ability to market yourself freely are not handled so democratically. They were established a long time ago and made on your behalf in the best interests of the sport - not the athlete. Athletes applauded these rule changes as a major victory as it allowed for the first generation of legitimate, "professional" track and field athletes. Unfortunately, we stopped pressing this issue and first step in the right direction never advanced any farther. Like a neglected muscle, it has atrophied and now limits our ability to optimize our financial performance.

In team sports we are taught to exploit an opponents weakness. It's a particularly effective strategy when a team exploits an unknown weakness or a weakness that cannot be disguised or compensated for by another strategy. For years we have been unwittingly exploited as our governing bodies sell (or limit) our marketing rights without commensurate compensation. This often happens in business when your competitors see you as weak. We are not weak. We are quite strong. We just lacked knowledge and organization.

This issue is not over. We need to remain vigilant and determined to create permanent change. Otherwise an initial victory will become a colossal failure - again.

In addition to the gratitude expressed in the letter above to the people involved in this victory, the TFAA would like to express our gratitude to Jon Drummond himself as well as AAC Secretary Dexter McCloud and athletes' advocate David Greifinger. Your work behind the scenes has not gone unnoticed. 

Regards,

The TFAA

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