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Just a ridiculous situation:
ARBITRATION HEARING DROPPED BY ATHLETES: Attorney Jonathan Little, who was hoping to face off with USATF officials this afternoon, says the plan has been dropped because he could get no athletes to step forward and initiate the proceedings with him. “I’m very disappointed by this,” says Little. “I thought we had an excellent chance to make the system better for everyone.”
Little says the athletes and their coaches were afraid to step forward, beyond the appeals process that had already failed them, because they feared future retribution from USATF. In the case of at least one college athlete, Little claims the school athletic department put out an order not to do anything that might interfere with Nike support for the department.
“The runners who filed appeals to get into the 5000 and 10,000 were told their appeals weren’t even considered because the field sizes were set and were not going to be expanded,” said Little. “However, they made an exception for one athlete in the 10,000 that required leapfrogging over other runners with faster qualifying times. We bear no ill will toward Adam Goucher. We just think they should have stuck to the field-size rules, which have been strictly enforced in other races, or they should have included the other athletes with times as fast as Goucher’s.”
Meanwhile, USATF has released an official statement regarding the Goucher situation. It reads: “Any athlete lacking a qualifying mark in any event is allowed, under USA Track & Field rules, to appeal their entry into the U.S. Olympic Team Trials. A two-person Entry Appeals Jury examines all such appeals and rules on them on an individual basis. Several appeals have been granted into this meet in events ranging from the javelin to long jump, decathlon to the 10,000 meters. Adam Goucher appealed his entry into the men’s 10,000 meters last week, prior to the men’s 5,000m final. He is a five-time USA champion on the track and in cross country, who was a finalist in the 5,000m at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships. It is not unusual for past national champions who lack qualifying standards to be granted entry into national championship events, and Mr. Goucher’s case is no exception.”
On top of that, there is also this rule outlining exceptions for qualification:
Automatic Qualification [USATF Rules 10.3(b)i and 10.3(b)ii]
A Track & Field athlete is eligible for automatic qualification into the Olympic Trials in the same event if that athlete has:
* Earned an individual medal in an Olympic Games or in an IAAF World Indoor or Outdoor Championships during the year 2008, or during the four previous calendar years (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007)
* Won an individual 2007 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championship event
* For automatic qualification purposes only, the indoor 60m, 60m hurdles, mile, and 3000m distances are interchangeable with the outdoor 100m, 100m/110m hurdles, 1500m and 5000m, respectively
Which could not have any bearing on Goucher's entry into the 10,000m since he has never represented the USA nor won a 2007 US Outdoor title in that event.
Finally, Scott Bauhs's revealing insight into some of the principals within the administration of the sport: