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Question for Garry Hill and others

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  • #16
    Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

    True dat

    Comment


    • #17
      Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

      >I thought gh's point was that the top needs
      >fixing and then you guys are saying that it's the
      >bottom. Which is it?>>

      I'm sure the others are sincere in their conviction that there's a bottoms-up fix needed. As I argued as far back as an op-ed piece in the New York Times (excuse me whie I dislocate shoulder patting self on back) in the late '70s, I think (far) too much of USATF's limited resources go towards promoting the youth end of the sport.

      While there's no doubt that the system isn't what it used to be (no more mandatory gym classes at too many levels, assaults from soccer and other "new" sports), I still maintain that the U.S. scholastic system is the greatest identifier and cultivator of young talent as exists on the planet. (At least since the DDR factories went out of business.)

      Any citation that "X number of Olympians started in the USATF or JO program" IMHO is no more meaningful than to note that they all drank milk. It might be a fact,but it's not a relevant one.

      At the risk of offending all the hard-working volunteers who maintain youth club programs, I think that the total medal haul at the senior international level would remain the same even if they didn't exist. That's how good the scholastic system is-- even with all its flaws. If you've got talent, they're going to find you, and yuou're going to compete.

      Indeed, it can be argued that age-group track does more to promote burn-out than it does culivate people for the realities of post-pubescent competition.

      As Dennis Miller would sorta say... That's just me; I could be wrong (but I don't think so).

      Comment


      • #18
        Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

        Regarding qualifying for worlds, it would be nice if there were some sort of compromise to get a few more athletes from certain nations/certain events in there. How about allowing up to 3 additional athletes per event/per nation that meet something like a Super 'A' Standard, like 3:32.50 in the 1500, or something that's a cut above the 'A' in the same way that the 'A' is above the 'B.'

        You could debate in this case, whether athletes meeting super standards could be auto qualifiers based on marks (not have to do nationals or Olympic Trials) or if they would just be taken from subsequent finishers after 3rd place/event in a given country's trials.

        Comment


        • #19
          Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

          I'm going to have to disagree a bit with you on this one, GH, especially with the specter of schools across the nation contemplating either dropping events completely, or charging participation fees that will make it tough for many to stay involved at the "scholastic" level.

          There is a definite place for youth programs in the "pipeline" if they are monitored carefully and used to help improve the skills of school coaches at the same time. I am a firm believer that many of our stars survived, rather than thrived, in their scholastic programs.

          Comment


          • #20
            Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

            I think both the elite and the development/participation levels of the sport would benefit from a separation of governing authorities. I'm not certain either side can be supported well by a single authority that has to decide between the two (three?, four?, more? sides of the sport) as to where funding should go.

            The money invested in the sport comes from many different sources, and with far different aims. Keep the aims separate and the number of sources may increase as the aims become more clearly identified.

            Most people seem to think the trickle-down effect from concentrating funding at the elite level will save the sport. I disagree. Let the elite side of the sport get and keep all the sponsorship dollars it can find. Let it run its own side of the sport with all the money available.

            I think the great majority of funding for the sport will continue to surface at the development level. Tax money for high school/college tracks/equipment/salaries/etc., plus all the money parents pour in to pay for little Billy and Alice to run. With a more clearly identified aim, there might be more corporate support for developmental track as a corporate social outreach than exists presently.

            If Verizon wants to sponsor both, fine. But let them see that it's not the "sport" they're sponsoring, it's track's major league baseball in one pocket and little league in the other.

            Different groups, different goals, different strategies, different funding. Get the groups separated and erverybody comes out the better.

            Comment


            • #21
              Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

              Good idea in principle, but why cant't one well-run entity have separate departments that can accomplish that. We really do need the left hand knowing (and supporting) the right hand. Just give more autonomy to each department with less budgetary infighting.

              Comment


              • #22
                Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

                Don't see how you're going to be able to reduce budget in-fighting unless you run separate budgets and separate funding structures.

                And if you have solved that, the in-fighting comes down to who gets to say how someone's hours are to be divied up.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

                  >Good idea in principle, but why cant't one
                  >well-run entity have separate departments that
                  >can accomplish that. We really do need the left
                  >hand knowing (and supporting) the right hand.>>

                  That makes the assumption that the pros and the amateurs are part of the same body. I'm maintaining that they're not. They can both be left hands if they want, on different bodies.

                  How effective a CEO would Pete Rozelle have been (I'll omit the current crop of pro-league leaders, as they're all pretty bad) if in addition to worrying about the NFL he also had to oversee Pop Warner football? Let Craig Masback run an organization that's devoted only to pro track and is run professionally from the ground up.

                  Let another equally competent person oversee the sprawling, multi-tentacled beast that is USATF.

                  I may be dreaming, but I say the funding of each is "easy." The pros live off the TV money and whatever big sponsors they retain. The amateurs, I project, would then be able to get as good or better sponsorship, being free of the stigma of drug testing and "dirty athletes." Clean, fresh-faced kids only.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

                    I'm sure the
                    >others are sincere in their conviction that
                    >there's a bottoms-up fix needed. As I argued as
                    >far back as an op-ed piece in the New York Times
                    >(excuse me whie I dislocate shoulder patting self
                    >on back) in the late '70s, I think (far) too much
                    >of USATF's limited resources go towards promoting
                    >the youth end of the sport.

                    While there's no
                    >doubt that the system isn't what it used to be
                    >(no more mandatory gym classes at too many
                    >levels, assaults from soccer and other "new"
                    >sports), I still maintain that the U.S.
                    >scholastic system is the greatest identifier and
                    >cultivator of young talent as exists on the
                    >planet. (At least since the DDR factories went
                    >out of business.)

                    Any citation that "X number
                    >of Olympians started in the USATF or JO program"
                    >IMHO is no more meaningful than to note that they
                    >all drank milk. It might be a fact,but it's not a
                    >relevant one.

                    At the risk of offending all the
                    >hard-working volunteers who maintain youth club
                    >programs, I think that the total medal haul at
                    >the senior international level would remain the
                    >same even if they didn't exist. That's how good
                    >the scholastic system is-- even with all its
                    >flaws. If you've got talent, they're going to
                    >find you, and yuou're going to
                    >compete.

                    Indeed, it can be argued that
                    >age-group track does more to promote burn-out
                    >than it does culivate people for the realities of
                    >post-pubescent competition.

                    I'm not a youth club coach or volunteer, but I disagree. At least with most sprinters, one of the main reasons why the scholastic system is even aware of their talent is because of the youth clubs. Most elite U.S. sprinters started off first in the youth clubs, not the scholastic system. Re: sprinters, the youth clubs are right up there with the scholastic system -- if not higher -- as America's greatest identifier & cultivator of young talent. We'll see it on display in this week's World Youth Champs. Want to bet that America's medal haul comes primarily from sprinters with youth club ties?

                    However, I strongly support your proposal to streamline USATF. I do believe there should be one organization that exclusively focuses on pro track, the other on grassroots track.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

                      I didn't state my position well. I agree with GH that this in little DIRECT effect from USATF youth programs. What I am saying that Masback et al have failed to do is to stir greater overall interest at the lower levels which has to have a positive effect over time. No, I don't think that you can/should point to medal winners at the worlds and trace back to the USATF youth efforts, but a greater interest when kids are young has got to keep more people in the sport. Greater numbers will help in many ways, including, perhaps making people think twice about hitting college track programs when they run short of money.

                      I also see a failure on the part of USATF to connect the dots from some very healthy "local" road racing situations around the country to the elite level. I have repeatedly tried to start conversations at races here in New Jersey with other runners about what's going on at the elite level and most often goteen blank looks. Can you imagine a player on a men's softball team that doesn't know who Barry Bonds is? How about a runner at a 10K race who doesn't know who Gebrialasse is? I know that this experience is empirical, but I think it does indicate an opportunity that should be addressed. When I think of the thousands of runners in these local raod races, I think of perspective fans who can stir up more interest, increase the popularity of the sport and increase participation at all levels, which can only help over time.

                      I know I've strayed from the primary topic. Sorry.
                      Joe Lanzalotto

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Question for Garry Hill and others

                        The pre-Masback era was much better for US distance running, and it is very easy to prove by the times. Currently, their are no 3:50 milers or sub 8:20 steeplechaser in the US distance arsenal.
                        Look at these fast US runners from the not so distance past. None of our runners today can touch the runners listed below. Heck, Lunn can't even get the "A" standard qualifying time.

                        Steve Scott - 3:47 (mile)
                        Jim Spivey - 3:49 (mile)
                        Joe Falcon - 3:49 (mile)
                        Steve Holman - 3:50 (mile)
                        Johnny Gray - 1:43 (800m)
                        Mark Crogan (?) - 8:09 (Steeplechase)
                        Bob Kennedy - 12:59 (5000M)
                        Mark Nenow - 27:24 (10000)
                        Ken Martin - 2:09 (Marathon)
                        Brain Abshire - 7:22 3000m

                        I could name more but is there any point.
                        These are dark days for US distance running.

                        Comment

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