Ron did a very great job of making sure athletes get checked-in for their specific running events on time. Ron makes sure the events are organized to where head-to-head competition is assured to ascertain the best possible running event finals will occur.

Ron handles his duties professionally, effectively, and efficiently.

START TEAM (Adrian Dixon, John Cotton, and Serina Williams) EVALUATION:

The Start Team, without question, is the highest visible officiating group on the track when it pertains to the running events. What can be perceived as success or failures in terms of how the events are started rest with the Start Team. Therefore, the Start Team plays a very critical role in the operation of the running events for the competing student-athletes. To insure the Start Team is highly successful in this endeavor, it’s very important the starters themselves to be highly knowledgeable of the rules governing the competition, the races they are starting, and the starting techniques used to insure a successful race.

The Start Team displayed professionalism and competence throughout the entire meet and handled all starting related issues with aplomb.

UMPIRES EVALUATION (Al Lawson – Chief Umpire):

In order for the running events to operate smoothly and effectively, a team of highly knowledgeable and competent Umpires must be positioned around the track. Umpires serve as the eyes and ears of the running events. Umpires are essential because what they observe what happens on the track which assists the Running Referee in making decisions impacting the outcome of the races as fairly and equitably as possible. The Running Referee cannot arrive at satisfactory decisions without the input of an effective team of Umpires.

It’s important for the Chief Umpire to be mobile in order for him/her to engage those Umpires, who are in stationary positions, observing the races occurring on the track. The Chief Umpire needs to solicit the observations of the Umpires, who may have witnessed possible incidents/violations, in order to assist the Running Referee to arrive at the appropriate decision pertaining to possible racing infractions/violations.

When it pertains to races (with or without lanes) involving turns, the Chief Umpire must insure there are an adequate number of Umpires in place around the turns and off the turns which come into the straightaway to oversee possible infractions/violations. This cannot be emphasized enough. A racing infraction/violation was missed in the men’s 200m final due to no Umpires being placed along the turn or off the turn. Due to the absence of the Umpires, no Incident Report was provided for the Referee to make a decision. In order to insure the proper decisions are made by the Running Referee, it’s essential a cadre of Umpires be selected to employ around the track.

FIELD EVENTS (Throws, Horizontal Jumps, and Vertical Jumps):

Due to the absence of the originally scheduled Field Referee had me wearing the Field Referee for the 2012 edition of the CIAA Championships. The event heads of each of the various field events did an excellent job by insuring the events went off in accordance to schedule. For those events that didn’t go on schedule, the respective officiating crews made sure the events started as close to the listed time. The event heads insured the events were conducted in a safe operating manner for the competing student-athletes.


Aside from the competition officials, volunteers serve a critical role in the success or failure of the CIAA Championships. Volunteers serve in various capacities throughout the meet. In the running events, volunteers are indispensible because they serve a critical role in making sure everyone, from the announcer to the spectators, are aware of the running result events. They are crucial in event set-up: hurdle set-up and placement, starting block set-up, and possible block holders to insure non-slippage when blocks are used by student-athletes.

It is critical the volunteers be present from the time the running events start until the running events end. The most crucial component of the volunteers is their help with the set-up of the hurdle races and the placement of the starting blocks. Considering there are two hurdle races in the running events’ program, it’s vitally important there be significant numbers of volunteers to insure the hurdles are set-up and removed without any significant time delays. The Meet Director needs to insure the Coordinator of Volunteers is aware of this fact so hurdle race set-up won’t be an issue.

Lessons learned:

1-  Time Schedule we have to hold strict accountability on ourselves, officials, coaches, athletes and field support staff.

a.  Facilities need to be opened at a minimum of 3 hours before the first scheduled running event is to be contested.

b.  Facilities / Venues and support equipment, we must ensure the facilities and all venues have been inspected for safety hazards: this includes starting blocks and hurdles. Break line cones (800m for example) should be provided & on-site for use.

c.  Implements (which include starting blocks and hurdles) should be checked 2 hours before the first scheduled running event is to be contested.

d.  It is recommended 16 pairs of starting blocks should be available for use. Rationale – in the sprint/hurdle preliminary heat races while the first heat is underway in terms of racing, subsequent heats can be setting their blocks without any undue delays in starting the event. As far as the sprint hurdle finals are concerned, one group of 8 starting blocks can be at the start of the 100m/110m hurdle start line while the second group of 8 starting blocks can be at the 400m starting line. This will minimize delays in gathering all the starting blocks and transporting them from one starting line to the other.

e.  All officials & volunteers should be at their respective venues at least 1 hour before the first scheduled running event is to be contested.

f.  Breakline cone markers (M-F Athletics, $4.50 per cone…buy six cones or more, save 15% )

g.  Eight Starting blocks/block cart package (M-F Athletics $800.00)

h.  Competitor hip numbers (Lanes 1 – 8 are priced at $44.95 for 100 sets, $13.25 for 25 sets…available through M-F Athletics)

2-  Volunteers are what really make things work needed at every venue for the entire day of each meet. Insure this is stressed to the volunteers by whoever the coordinator is. If volunteers are working in shifts, then a time-schedule (e.g. two-hour block increments) should be maintained to insure each venue is adequately staffed to assist the competition officials in making sure the appropriate event operates as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Also, volunteers should be advised there should be no usage of electronic devices (e.g. Cell phones, I-Pods, MP3 players, etc.) in the area of competition.

a.  Student volunteers (Non-participating team members, P.E. majors, ROTC, Alumni )

b.  Volunteers are definitely needed for the following areas to insure the running events adhere to the established event schedule as close as possible: clerking area, hurdle crew, starting block crew, medical personnel (trainers, team physicians) should be on hand to staff & maintain a table containing the appropriate fluids for hydration purposes in addition to being able to respond quickly to any injuries occurring on the track.

3-  In a championship event, like the CIAA, it is important to have the appropriate number of competition officials to insure the meet continues to run safely and efficiently. Since the conference now has 12 member institutions, the increased number of participants demands the conference respond appropriately by securing the proper number of competition officials to staff both the running & field events in order for the both of them to occur in a safe and timely manner. The appropriate number of competition officials for a championship event like the CIAA should be at least 50:

a.  Ten (10) Umpires to insure the running events occur safely and in a time-efficient manner. Umpires are essential for reporting any running event incidents/violations to the Referee in order for an appropriate decision to rendered pertaining to said incident/violation. Umpires oversee the relay exchange zones to insure relay races are conducted within the rules governing the event. Umpires also assist with the hurdle set-up for the appropriate races by insuring the hurdles are at the appropriate height and spacing for each race.

b.  Three (3) Starters/ReCall Starters who are responsible for starting all the running events. They are responsible for the call of any false-starts that gives a competitor an unfair advantage over the others.

c.  Two to Three (2 - 3) Clerks who are responsible for athlete check-in for each running event. The clerks insure the athletes have reported to the appropriate event in a timely manner then escort the checked-in athletes to the starting line for each running event and turn them over to the starter. The clerks should be responsible for issuing instructions regarding the start when the athletes have checked in for their particular running event.

d.  Six (6) Marshals are responsible for event safety and to insure athletes adhere to the commands/instructions of the officials. Marshals report any unsportsmanlike conduct calls to the appropriate Referee for a decision.

e.  Three (3) officials for the Pole Vault (plus volunteers provided by the host institution).

f.  Three (3) officials for the High Jump (plus volunteers provided by the host institution).

g.  Six (6) officials for the Horizontal Jumps (plus volunteers provided by the host institution). The number of horizontal jumps officials can be raised to twelve (12) if two jumping pits are being used simultaneously.

h.  Six (6) officials for the Throwing Events (shot-put, discus, and javelin) in addition to the volunteers provided by the host institution.

i.  Three (3) Marshals for the Throwing Events (shot-put, discus, and javelin). Two Marshals to assist with monitoring the sector lines to insure no one inadvertently wanders into throwing area when the event is being conducted or if warm-ups are occurring. One Marshal to monitor where the athletes are sitting to insure no electronic devices are being used and to keep coaches, spectators, and non-competing athletes out of the competition area.

j.  One to Two (1-2) Implement Inspectors and one (1) Marshal to oversee and secure the implement inspection area if the Inspectors are away delivering implements to the various throwing events.

As the competition quality of the conference championships continues to improve so must the quality of Meet Management in order to meet and exceed the expectations of the student-athletes and coaches we serve. In order for that improvement to continue, it is important for a timely and up-to-date Championship Manual to be available prior and during the Championships.

The Championship Manual should list the given dates the championships (and possible rain date) are conducted, competition rules governing the championships, event entry deadlines for competing student-athletes, penalties for late event entries of student-athletes, tentative schedule of events, event seeding procedures, the listing of event records, event check-in procedures by competing student athletes, the wearing of competition numbers & their non-alteration, duties of both the Running & Field Referees, protest procedures (including fees), and make-up & duties of the Games Committee (including the Jury of Appeals if appointed by the Games Committee).

The more this information is spelled out and provided in a manual, which is distributed to the coaches of the member institutions, the more uniform and streamlined the process will be in terms of meet conduct. I believe in being as transparent as possible when it comes to decision-making. While everyone may not like or agree with a decision, when it comes to procedures being spelled out in a competition manual along with the competition rulebook, I believe it lessens the controversy that may arise.

Michael McCoy

Running & Field Referee


Certification #018090