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USATF Letter To USOC Today


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  • USATF Letter To USOC Today


    Also sent via facsimile and Fedex (Tuesday delivery)

    February 1, 2004

    Bill Martin
    United States Olympic Committee
    University of Michigan
    1000 South State Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2202

    Dear Bill:

    We write in response to your letter of January 29 with the sincere hope and desire of resolving an issue of great importance to both our organizations and the Olympic Community. As we have stated many times in the past, we share your concern for the disruption and damage that this case has caused to our own organizations and others. We appreciate the scores of private conversations held between our two organizations concerning this topic dating back to 2000.

    We realize that the USOC decision to reveal Jerome Young’s name to the IOC last fall was made with the utmost gravity. We are sure you understand that USA Track & Field has also approached the issue of confidentiality with great seriousness, has been concerned throughout that we do not signal to athletes that rules related to doping or any other important topic will be retroactively altered, and has also been concerned that we not expose our organization to the risk of substantial, uninsured liability.

    We wish to assure you that we have worked vigorously since the October USOC Executive Committee meeting (and our own Board of Directors meeting that weekend) to achieve something the entire Olympic Community, including USATF, has desired – putting the Jerome Young case on a path to final resolution.

    As we proposed to you in the USOC Executive Committee meeting – which you welcomed as one "possible solution" and which our Board specifically approved – we have played an active intermediary role between the USOC and the IAAF in helping both parties identify documents in their possession that would allow the IAAF to move forward and take the case to CAS arbitration (and to definitely resolve it). We now know from the IAAF itself, news reports, and the USOC, that the IAAF has concluded it has enough information, including the widely-circulated redacted appellate opinion, to identify the athlete and proceed against him. We never breached USATF confidentiality rules or the January 2003 CAS edict, but we engaged in a sometimes daily dialog with the IAAF and USOC as they shared and collected documents.

    USATF Cooperation

    In the December 5, 2003, report of your USOC Track & Field Panel and your December 19 letter to us, you informed us that – to the USOC and IOC – "the primary issue remains USATF’s refusal to either confirm that 1) the redacted exoneration opinion relates to the Jerome Young matter; or 2) to simply provide an unredacted copy of that opinion to the USOC or the IAAF." Although we had hoped that IAAF action to initiate a new CAS arbitration to determine Mr. Young’s guilt or innocence would resolve the issues between us, your January 29 letter makes clear that disclosure of the appeals panel decision by USATF is the only acceptable means of cooperation, and the only way to avoid sanctions that will harm our sport. We respect that position.

    In recognition of the fact that the USOC has stressed the need for demonstrable cooperation on the part of USATF, we hereby confirm that the name of the athlete in the redacted opinion is, in fact, Jerome Young, and will fax and Fedex the unredacted Doping Appeals Board opinion.

    USATF Apology

    We are certain the issues that divided us in the Jerome Young case will never arise again. Our actions in this case were motivated solely by our desire to abide by our rules in effect at the time. USATF vigorously prosecuted this athlete, convicted him, and fought hard to uphold that conviction on appeal. As the independent McLaren Commission found, there was no effort by USATF to cover up this case in any way. Nevertheless, we fully understand that USATF’s strict confidentiality rule created suspicion, and may have caused harm to the public’s perception of the Olympic Movement, which we deeply regret. We are pleased to say that we have amended the USATF confidentiality rules that existed since 1989 and during the time that this case was adjudicated, allowing us in new and future cases to share with all relevant bodies information that we previously would have kept confidential.

    USATF sincerely regrets and apologizes for the difficulties that this case has caused for the USOC, IOC, IAAF, and our own organization. By adhering to our confidentiality rules, we never intended to embarrass the Olympic Movement. >From the time we founded our out-of-competition drug testing system in 1989 to the time we handed all responsibilities for drug testing to USADA in October 2000, we did the best job we could within our resources to administer a fair, honest, and effective anti-doping program. We were not and are not perfect with respect to anti-doping activities, and we are sorry for any mistakes we made.

    We share the USOC’s goal of furthering the Olympic Movement. We are proud of the place that our sport, our organization, and the USOC hold in the Olympic Family, and we do not wish to jeopardize it. Our Board has reviewed our position in this case, and has endorsed the route we are taking, and has specifically requested that we make this letter public.


    Bill Roe

    Craig A. Masback

    cc: USATF Board of Directors
    USOC Board of Directors
    USOC Executive Committee
    USOC Track & Field Advisory Panel
    Jim Scherr, USOC Chief of Sport Performance
    Jeff Benz, Esq., USOC General Counsel
    Darryl Seibel, USOC Chief Communications Officer

  • #2
    Re: USATF Letter To USOC Today

    So USATF finally blinked. Like they had a choice. Does this open the door for a Jerome Young lawsuit? That seemed to be their sticking point to begin with. They had to violate the confidentiality protocols they they themeselves had made in 1989, and then amended retroactively. Well, at least we can move on now. Wherever that leads us.


    • #3
      Re: USATF Letter To USOC Today

      "VIA E-MAIL
      Also sent via facsimile and Fedex (Tuesday delivery)"

      ...just to be sure they got it...


      • #4
        Re: USATF Letter To USOC Today

        My amateur legal mind says that USATF could be named as a 3rd party in the dispute, but Jerome would have to sue the USOC as it was under their rules (given to them under the ASA) that USATF is being forced to act in this way. Basically, USATF is being compelled under Federal Law, the one that established their charter to exist, to answer the USOC request for complete disclosure in this instance.

        There's probably some language in USOC Operating Procedures that they can fall back on to make Jerome think twice about a lawsuit too. My guess is they have some sort of protection for damaging the image of the Olympic Movement that they can hold over his head for 2004 (no going to Athens) if we to seek damages. They could claim that the very lawsuit breaches the athlete conduct agreement that everyone has to sign to compete after the 4x100 stunts in Sydney.


        • #5
          Re: USATF Letter To USOC Today

          Brilliant date of release...Superbowl Sunday, it'll be buried in the papers tomorrow.


          • #6
            Re: USATF Letter To USOC Today

            And...I was wrong, it's on the front page of the LA Times sports page.