- The Washington Times - Monday, July 27, 2009

USA Track & Field traces its history to the 19th century, but the organization just released its first annual report.

It’s pathetic that the nation’s governing body has never done such a thing. How can USATF, especially as a nonprofit, go out to sponsors and other supporters without such an important endorsement of its organization?

You can view the report on the outfit’s Web site. Its 44 pages include an interview with president Stephanie Hightower and CEO Doug Logan, athlete profiles, USATF’s goals and community outreach efforts, 2008 athletic performances, a report on Project 30 and the organization’s audited 2008 financial records.

“To be taken seriously as a company, one of the things we need to do is issue an accounting of ourselves on an annual basis,” said Logan, who added that USATF considered producing an annual report for several years.

One significant challenge for USATF is adding new sponsorship. In the report, it states that “in 2006 and 2007, USATF received approximately 49 percent and 50 percent of the total revenues from one sponsor and the [U.S. Olympic Committee].”

That sponsor is most likely Nike. Any executive director of a nonprofit knows how dangerous it is to be so dependent on one or two major sources of funding. Total revenue for 2008 was $16.985 million.

You also can see where the organization’s focus is by the amount of resources spent. In 2008, an Olympic year, some $7.786 million was spent on Elite athlete competitions, and $2.250 million was spent on elite athlete support and development; $637,908 was spent on grass roots programs and $1.843 million on member-based programs.

Congrats to Logan and Co. on the report. Now I think USATF needs to make a much more visible argument to why people should contribute membership fees when such a small percentage of the total expenses for the year are actually coming back to us non-elites.

The other mile high - Albuquerque, N.M., will host the USA Indoor Track & Field Championships in February 2010, 2011 and 2012, USATF revealed last week. It’s the first time it will be held there since 1966.

Hall to New York - Ryan Hall, America’s top marathon hope, committed to running the New York City Marathon on Nov. 1.

“I love performing on the big stage,” he said in a conference call last week. “Both Boston and New York do that for me.”

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