Committee Meeting Minutes
(Meetings held prior to Association Board of Director's Meeting)
January 29, 2000
Hall of Fame Room, Montana State University, Bozeman
Bill Brist called the committee meetings to order at 10:20 am with a welcome and an introduction of those in attendance. Attendees included: Dave and Linda Skelton (Youth Athletics Committee) and Donna Bennett (Eagle Flight of Montana Youth Track Club); Garan Marty (Coaches Development); Rob Stark (Men's Track and Field); Mavis Lorenz (Master's Athletics); Bill Brist (Long distance running); Pam and Art Sikkink (Finance and Budget and Computer/autotiming consultant). Bill handed out the agenda for both the committee meetings and the BOD meeting.
Youth Athletics Committee Meeting (Dave Skelton, chair)
Dave Skelton began the Youth Athletics Committee meeting with a brief statement of his goals for the upcoming Junior Olympic Championships (June 8-10). This year's goals are to retain the quality and awards presented at the last JO meet and to increase participants to at least 350 athletes. Guidebooks will be pretty much the same format as last year, but sent out mainly to the junior highs/middle schools instead of focusing on all high school. In anticipation of his club athletes competing this year's racewalks in the Junior Olympics, Bozeman Track Club is hosting a racewalk clinic this summer to train young (and older) racewalkers of the state on the proper techniques of the sport. Timing of the clinic is still undecided, but the clinic will definitely be open to all Montanans and all ages. Rob Stark remarked on the importance of a weekly workout get together for the athletes, but Dave is looking at the clinic from a state-wide perspective, not just a Bozeman event. Mavis also reminded the attendees to the meeting that the Senior Olympics always has an informal racewalk clinic associated with it. Dave will try to do a group e-mail to present and potential track clubs to inform them on the clinic's plans and progress.
Dave's goals for the 2000 Junior Olympics included some additional plans to make the millenium competition more memorable. He plans to have bib numbers at the 2000 competition and skydivers. The concept of participation ribbons was again discuss. Dave plans to have participation ribbons that will go in individual athlete's packets, not be handed out with awards. Clubs will have a bundle of packets for their team. Dave proposed that USATF Montana pick up the cost for the 4-6th place ribbons. The proposal will be presented at the BOD meeting. The concept of team trophies was also discuss and whether they were valuable last year because some clubs don't have a "home" to keep the plaques. Bill suggested maybe a banner would be more appropriate and possibly less expensive. Donna said that Eagle Flight had looked into a banner in their community and found them to be around $200. Following the banners, there was lots of discussion on plaques and their merits. Bill suggested, however, that rather than focusing on what exactly the Youth Committee would like to present for awards now, that they concentrate on a proposal to the Budge Committee to allocate funds in a specific dollar amount that would be used for awards in general by the Youth Committee.
Dave reported that he and Mark Springer (Youth, National office) have been conversing on getting the USATF logo on the "Meet of Champions" medal given at the Junior Olympics to the top male and female in each event for high school. Since two USATF age groups are combined to create this champion, and they do not compete at the meet in head-to-head competition, discussion on correctness and procedure must go through the national office. Because we no longer have a Meet of Champions sponsored by the state high school associaiton, Bill said that it is important to have the Junior Olmpics act in this capacity in Montana. Dave would also like to extend the "meet of champions" concept to middle school, but Bill said that for this age group, unlike the high school, the Junior Olympics are a state championship anyway. Bill questioned the continuous duplication of awards that Dave would like to give at the lower age groups, and expressed concern on watering down the USATF medals with so many other, bigger medals at the same meet. Bill's point was that in a normal high school meet there is no medal at most levels; and that if we continue to give so many medals (most larger than the USATF medals we get for free from the national office) athletes may not appreciate just the "little" USATF medals. Donna said that her athletes did appreciate the USATF medals and they were a "big deal" to her athletes at the last meet.
Dave is also still working with Mark Springer to see if there is a problem with hosting non-USATF sanctioned events (i.e. coed relays) in conjunction with the Junior Olympics for insurance and records purposes. An alternatives is to sanction the co-ed relays separately, which would activate both insurance and possibility for state records.
Some discussion on the Junior Olympic regional championships followed the above business. The meet is tentatively being set for Butte, Montana, and hosted by the Butte Track Club, if they get their paperwork in order for club bylaws and sanctioning this year. Questions and discussions focused on software to be used for the meet, the automatic timing companies available to work the meet, and the J.O. entry form application and USATF membership application problems. Dave expressed frustration with the Junior Olympic entry form and its quality on the web site. He also expressed frustration with the membership application procedures, especially with regard to turn-around time after the state cross-country meets. Pam explained that new procedures for membership filing and receiving cards in a timely fashion were now in effect. These procedures include application to the state office (as usual), Pam electronically filing the applications with the national office, and the national office printing and sending out the cards from Indiana to individual athletes. The turn-around time at the national office could be up to 2 1/2 weeks, which is a concern during cross-country time. The solution will be that Dave will tell all applicants to nationals not to worry about the membership number because it will be taken care of for them. Those responsible for taking care of this for the athletes will be as follows: Dave will mail applications promptly to be processed; Pam will process, send file to national office, and send numbers by overnight mail to Mary Aude and electronically to Dave; Mary Aude will be in charge of putting all numbers on the regional applications for national Junior Olmpics.
Finally, in preparation for the BOD meeting, Dave reiterated that youth comprise the largest part of the association and that fact needs to be considered in distribution of funding. He also stated his needs to get more people involved (i.e. Dave needs to build youth committee). Discussion and arguments followed on the need to build other programs with an influx of money, rather than contribute heavily to youth, because youth was already established and other committees needed initial funding just as youth has received in the past. Bill reiterated the need for all committees to build their membership, which will create more money to fund their activities, as well as meet our national office directive of a minimum of 1000 members.
Budget and Finance Committee Meeting (Pam Sikkink, chair)
Bill began this meeting by stating that the organization only has a set amount of dollars and that was broken down according to the financial statement given at the annual meeting. He stated that the organization was exploring the possibility of setting up a budget by discipline so that everyone would get at least some money for operating expenses. He stated that the purpose of this committee meeting was to look for ideas and possibilities for budgets on how to spend the association money.
Pam gave a report on the income that comes to the association. We have maintained a consistent membership of around 400 members. Of the membership fee, the association keeps $6.50. The association grosses only $5.00 off each club, and at least $2.00 of that goes to make their renewal mailings. The number of clubs also fluctuates considerably each year. In 1999, it decreased by three, giving us less income from individual clubs. Clubs that put on events can sanction the event for the national fee plus only $15 to the association. Sanctions coming from non-clubs are rare, but we gross $40 from the non-club sanctions. At this point, expenses have been reduced to their maximum amount, according to Pam. E-mail, web site, and bulk mail expenses are at minimum rates by obtaining non-profit status for each item. The newsletter has not been put out, which usually takes about $300 and goes out to between 500 and 700 past and present members, clubs, officers, and officials. There is very little more that can be done to cut expenses. In 1999, income will technically exceed expenses by about $800. However, this excess is a feature of when the new year's bills were paid. The year 2000 started with a $1200 deficit because of the purchase of validation stamps ($825) and sanctions paid to national office ($375). The excess of 1999 is really an artifact of when these bills were paid. Although some deposits are still to be made, the January 1999 expenses will still exceed income. Therefore, cuts must be made in some expenses for 2000. This past year, as in most of the past 10 years that we have detailed financial records, the profits of the association have gone to two committees (distance running and youth) and to convention delegates ($1000). If membership doesn't increase, we need to look at cuts in these items. Pam stated that it is hard to plan for other needs within the association and to set a budget that is fair to all committees with approximately half of the association profits going to convention delegates. However, the goal is to reexamine the current distribution in the Budget and Finance committee and make proposals to the board of directors and/or annual meeting on a line-item budget for each committee. Pam will investigate and plan a preliminary budget within the next few months to present to the BOD or the annual meeting.
Bill stated that with restructuring there are 8 or 9 directives that the national office has set for each association. These have to do with number of sanctions, number of delegates, number and distribution of event championships, number of officials, number of coaches' clinics, etc. We must hit 6 of the total directives, with the directive of 1000 members being required. We need to decide, as an association, which of the optional objectives will be our goals.
Open discussion followed on ways to manage expenses or generate new revenue for the association. The discussion was in an opinion-only format to create a forum for all ideas. No action was taken in this discussion.
Opinion Bill: Increase in fees for clubs and individual membership is not a preferable choice. Need to explore ways to create more revenue.
Opinion Mavis: Change $1000 requirement for delegates. Question, "is this a requirement, or don't we have to spend?" (Pam summarized the annual meeting directive to give $1000 to convention delegates. If less than three delegates are funded, each gets a maximum of $333 each. If more than three, the money is split equally among the attendees. Convention money distribution is not part of the by-laws but a directive of annual meeting attendees in the past). Mavis said the requirements for delegates adopted at the previous board of directors meeting should be strictly enforced and, if not followed, delegates not paid. Mavis also suggested that we can get individuals to sponsor individual events at track and field meets in order to raise some money. However, she admitted this was minimal.
Opinion Rob: Convention support is over-allocated for our Association. Rob has been to convention and questioned what the delegates actually bring back and do for the association that is specifically attained from going to convention. Rob suggested we find a corporate sponsor to assist with expenses of the association, although he admitted that the tact has been tried in the past with little success.
Opinion Dave: Using a large portion of our revenue to send delegates to convention brings nothing back to the association and the money is vital to starting and building our programs. He recommends a change in the directive at the general meeting. He says he will find ways other ways, such as corporate sponsors, to help benefit the youth club program. One way to initiate interest is through the coaches clinic that is planned for 2001. However, the coaching education and other programs may need to have startup money.
Opinion Garan: The convention delegates are currently getting too much of the association budget. He is working on plans for the coaches clinic in 2001 and it will hopefully generate more revenue if coaches become USATF members.
Opinion Pam: Eliminate money to send people to convention and use the $1000 each year to build programs within the association. Convention money distribution is not a by-law, but a directive made at an annual meeting. Since the current expenses cannot be cut anymore, any new allocations will have to come from convention moneys, corporate sponcer, or an increase in membership. The convention moneys, if not required by the national office, are the best way to free up a major portion of money for building the coaching program, the officials program, the masters' program, etc., and to have money to afford the newsletter that everyone agrees needs to be published.
Opinion Bill: Bill went to convention this year. He feels that the convention money allocated to our delegates was very inadequate to pay for the expenses of attending (this year $165/person). He knows that the delegates will want funding increased from the BOD meetings to help alleviated the expense. Bill attended many meetings but said that there was nothing in the sessions that he couldn't have learned somewhere else or have obtained from published materials somewhere else. He said that, if we can afford to send delegates, it is a good allocation of our money. However, he also said that our association would need many more delegates to be effective at the meetings (at least 20 was his suggestion). There are just too many meetings going on at the same time for 5 or 6 delegates to attend, vote for Montana interests, and be effective. We also do not, at this time, have the votes in committees that make us effective because we lack championships in many programs. He would like to see us get these programs and championships in place. Bill would also like to see us "look down the road" and plan for a budget allocation for committees (i.e. look at strategic plan already completed). He would like to see us get a corporate sponsor. Universal Athletics was suggested since they already help us in many ways during the year, and people already look to them for information on USATF. However, Bill can not make these connections because he is an employee of Universal Athletics. So someone else will have to negotiate with them for sponsorship.
(Meetings temporarily adjourned to order lunch. Cost for lunch was picked up by the association as per board of directors decision, 1999).
Coaches Education Committee (Garan Marty, chair)
Garan reported on his progress toward setting up a coaches' clinic. He reported that it would cost $2500/day to rent the facility at MSU and that a March clinic is not going to be a feasible because it is too short a time frame to get the event organized. Garan wants a mailing list for clubs (found on the web site for all current clubs and with Dave Skelton for prospective youth clubs). Dave will put an item on the clinic in the newsletter. Dave/Garan will also send info on the clinic for the website. Garan is running into facility problems for the clinic. The high school is booked well in advance. Dave mentioned contacting Belgrade. Dave/Garan mentioned that summer is not a good time for a coaches clinic. Coaches are off doing other things. However, Garan may not be with the association after he graduates from MSU in one year. Bill stated that, with restructuring, there comes a point where we don't have a choice but to get this particular item done. Therefore, Garan was instructed to keep working toward hosting a clinic. Garan has a list of interested individuals from the Coaches clinic in Great Falls last year. Garan will also contact Pat Pretty to continue with the planning process and seeking funds from the national office. Bill said he got a coaches education booklet at convention that should be at Garan's disposal either from Bill or from Pat Pretty.
Officials Committee Meeting (Zelda Haines, chair (absent). Run by Bill Brist)
Bill Brist will forward concerns of the board of directors to Zelda on the lack of information being presented by her at meetings, specifically on the process of official's renewals that must happen this year. Zelda hasn't gotten info out on the process and has not submitted an article for the newsletter on what is required. Bill will call her to get action in this committee and he will take responsibility to get some info to get out to other board members.
Rob Stark plans on doing an officials' clinic this spring (tentative). Robs goal is to upgrade officials for the state meet (memorial day weekend). Rob will keep BOD informed on the plans for this clinic.
Communication Committee (Pam Sikkink, Chair)
Discussion centered on getting the newsletter out by a mid February deadline. To date, only Dave Skelton had submitted news for a newsletter. No other chairpersons had submitted articles even though it is a requirement of their position on the board. We have many goals that revolve around getting the word out to the membership in the newsletter. It is critical that every committee do their part to help with the newsletter to get information out to our membership on goals, programs and progress. Pam will produce the next newsletter. Bill and Pam will work on the next one after February. Other BOD members will try to submit one name of someone to take over the newsletter.
Master's Athletics Committee (Mavis Lorenz, Chair)
Mavis reported that there will be three big meets for Masters track and field athletes to be aware of this year. These include: 1) Northwest Regionals, Bozeman, July 27-30; 2) National Masters, Eugene Oregon, Aug 10-13; and 3) Continental North American, Camloops Canada, Aug 17-20. Mavis has talked with Bill Sager, meet director for Northwest Regionals, about the entries coming into this meet. She said that this is the first time that the NW regionals have been out of the I-5 corridor so we need to promote the opportunity and do an extremely good job hosting this meet. Mavis would like to set up a table to take late membership applications at the meet. Mavis asked if the NW regionals could be considered our state masters championships. This will have to be investigated with the national office. Mavis will work on getting the membership form on the same page as the meet entry form with Bob Sager.
Mavis next took issue with a suggestion made by Bill Brist in the BOD newsletter suggesting the possiblity of combining masters meets with youth meets to give masters more meets to compete in. Mavis objects to combining youth with masters for several reasons, among which she says it is distracting for the older athletes to have the young kids around while masters are competing.
Men's Track and Field Committee (Rob Stark, Chair)
Rob reported that the collegiate track and field program is pretty much status quo. The universities and Flathead Community College are committed to a track program. Bill commented that he was impressed that the universities were allowing athletes of diverse ages to enter their all-comers meets and that he hoped that commitment would grow in the future.
Committee Meetings Adjourned at 1:45 p.m.