This is a sad tale because it could have, nay should have, been avoided.  You regular readers know the rule.  Those of my former mates that bothered to listen know the rule.  The leadership of our USATF Nebraska Association Clubs know the rule.  In fact, anyone that has been within ear shot of me for the last 10 years knows the rule.  Our Elite Development Club Council knows the rule. The Shamrock Shuffle knows the rule better this morning.

This appears on the Shuffle’s webpage:  “Eligibility for the Elite Club 8K Competition is based on USATF Club Competition Rules. All participating clubs must be registered with USATF for 2015, and all athletes entering as part of a club must be affiliated with that club as part of their current USATF membership.”

Bridget Montgomery, the Elite Club Competition Coordinator for Shamrock Shuffle, and I were discussing rules this morning.  Rules are there to protect the Integrity of the Event as well as to offer a fair and level playing field in our USATF Sanctioned events.

Only two possible scenarios can describe what happened at yesterday’s race.  1) Ignorance of the rule.   This is an almost absurd notion given my long and loud history on the subject. 2) Calculated effort to ignore or break the rules.  I’ll let you readers decide which held sway given the Facts:

* A note necessary here to reveal that my interest in this based primarily as a founding member of the Elite Development Club Council, and secondarily as founder of Team Nebraska.  There are many around the United States that still associate the club with my good name.

**Another note here- I have nothing but the utmost respect for the athletes I am going to be discussing.

Ashley Miller moved to her hometown of Tipton, Iowa last September.  She had been a USATF Nebraska Association, and Team Nebraska member, for approximately 18 months before leaving the Good Life.  At the start of this year she again relocated to Oklahoma.

I alerted my colleagues on the Elite Development Club Council last December when I noticed Ashley was incorrectly registered as a Team Nebraska athlete going into our USATF Club Cross Country National Championships.

I’ve described Grandfathering an athlete on to a club many times here and elsewhere but in short:  Athletes that have represented a club for 3 or more years prior to moving outside that association are “grandfathered” and allowed to represent their former association and club as long as no more than 10% of the entire team is made up of such exemptions.   Period.

Ashley was the top scorer for Team Nebraska at yesterday’s Shuffle, propelling them to a 10th overall finish.

Again this morning I had to notify my EDC Chair Devon Martin , as well as Bridget Montgomery, that our rules were broken.  But it wasn’t just Ashley.   Cassie Mitchell, listed on the roster as the third place finisher for TN, does have a Nebraska residency and USATF # but does not have a current cub affiliation.  Please refer to the rule above again.   Fortunately, Leslie Van Winkle and Kayte Partch are bona fides and will satisfy the 3 necessary for Team Nebraska to score in the Elite Team Competition.  Bridget will be following up with Kelly Crawford.

Sad day for me indeed.

On a brighter note, congratulations to the Lincoln Running Co. Racing team for having all their USATF ducks in a row.  I’ll post a link to the results once they become official.