IBJNews

USA Track & Field repeals controversial rules

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

USA Track & Field has repealed restrictions on uniform advertising that angered athletes across the country, but it remains to be seen whether athletes will take advantage of their renewed freedom.

The board of directors of USA Track & Field, headquartered in Indianapolis, decided recently to repeal guidelines that were handed down last year. Under those rules, only the athlete’s name, his or her club’s name or logo and the manufacturer’s name or logo could appear on uniforms. And those names and logos were to be small, 30 square centimeters to 40 square centimeters.

The repeal means athletes can turn their bodies and uniforms into virtual racecars if they choose to, covering themselves with advertisements.

“This is going to be more beneficial for lesser-known athletes who don’t have contracts with shoe companies,” said David Greifinger, a Santa Monica, Calif., attorney who represents the USATF’s athletes advisory committee.

Shoe companies typically sign top athletes to exclusive contracts, but there are hundreds more who can’t get those deals, either because they don’t rank high enough or because they don’t compete in a popular event.

The repeal comes in time for USATF’s championship road-racing series, which attracts top names in distance running to events across the country with more than $900,000 in prize money. The races, ranging from a mile to the half-marathon, are scheduled in cities across the country this spring and summer.

The first runner to take advantage of the repeal was Oregon-based 800-meter champion Nick Symmonds, who sold the rights to his left deltoid on eBay for $11,000. The buyer was Milwaukee-based Hanson Dodge Creative.

Symmonds offered to wear a temporary tattoo of a sponsor’s Twitter handle under the advertisement, “Your name on an Olympic athlete in 2012.” He won’t be able to wear the tattoo in international competition, which has a different set of uniform-advertising rules.

USATF adopted the rules out of concern for its own contract with Nike, which is worth $9 million under a deal signed in 2009. Interim CEO Mike McNees told IBJ he thought the organization should adopt some kind of uniform-advertising guidelines. Mirroring international guidelines made the most sense.

Geer said USATF’s board repealed the rules because it wasn’t comfortable enforcing another organization’s rules on its own events.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Good job
    Good to hear this, if Nike wants exclusivity they should doll out money to more athletes, like all of them and since that won't happen let them get sponsored. Heck I'll wear Nike Officials uniforms if they pay for it, as it is I wear my J.O. Regional polo when I officiate a meet, evan NCAA meets. I'm giving my time but have to buy an officials uniform? I understand some officials don't do any events but I would gladly buy a polo if I were to get compensated after (X) amount of meets worked.

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

ADVERTISEMENT