I agree, really good column. Even with some improvement, the system remains paltry below the top elite levels. It is trying to coax something out of a system that fundamentally does not support it. The shoe companies still wield too much power and so long as corporations are pulling the strings and calling the shots behind the scenes there will be little more than token efforts at grassroots development. If not for the NCAA/collegiate system, the U.S. would have been completely hosed in distance running, if not athletics on the whole. And there has been enough flux in the NCAA system recently to suggest that it could certainly change radically for the worse for Olympic sports in the not-too-distant future. Do not expect USATF to do anything meaningful to pick up the slack. Wilson knows well that the USATF does not give a rip about grassroots, they let volunteers with delusions of grandeur run Associations like their own little fiefdoms. We had a fine grassroots development system for post-collegians in the U.S. and too many top elites, as Robinson notes, were content to shortsightedly allow it be gutted by corporations for their own benefit. The most successful sports I can think of (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, even UFC) have strong administrators calling the shots, not athletes and their agents (or vice versa) or corporations.