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USATF Code of Ethics

October 14, 2006, amended October 11, 2014 and October 6, 2018 
The USATF Code of Ethics (“Code”) applies to its Board, at-large members, independent contractors, volunteers, and chairs and members of committees, sub-committees, councils, task forces, and any other decision-making body of USATF. The Code became effective on January 1, 2007.

The wellness and safety of our athletes is of paramount importance. Every member of USATF is responsible for ensuring a safe environment for which our athletes can train and compete. This Code is intended to work conjunctively with the USA Track & Field SafeSport Handbook, and sets the ethical standard for USATF and its membership.

Further, because USATF operates in the public spotlight and is expected to conduct business on an ethical basis, we must ensure that our leadership never puts, nor is it perceived to have put, personal interests ahead of or in conflict with the interests of USATF. No Code of Ethics can substitute for each person's own internal sense of fairness, honesty, and integrity. Therefore, it is important that every person representing USATF support the values and principles that are critical to USATF's continuing tradition of excellence.
This Code is not designed to address how to handle misconduct or abusive behaviors; however, the USATF SafeSport Handbook provides guidance and mandatory reporting requirements for sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, as well as harassment, bullying, and hazing incidents. Additionally, SafeSport misconduct may be reported anonymously on our website, or by phone to the U.S. Center for SafeSport at 720-531-0340. A USATF Whistleblower Hotline (317-713-4702) is available to report concerns related to the Code of Ethics. The USATF General Counsel’s office, along with the Ethics Committee, is always available to answer questions.

It is of major importance to USATF that its leadership create a "tone at the top" that promotes ethical conduct throughout USATF. This requires that "Responsible Persons" (as defined below) maintain their independence when conducting USATF business and not use their positions to further their own or a friend's or "Family Member's" (as defined below) personal interest.

To ensure continued confidence in USATF leadership in the sport of athletics in the United States and internationally, and because we operate in the public spotlight, we are expected to conduct our affairs on a basis consistent with the great trust that has been placed in us. This requires that our behavior conform to the highest ethical principles. For these reasons, USATF requires all Board of Directors, independent contractors, volunteers, and chairs and members of committees, sub-committees, councils, task forces, and any other decision-making body of USATF, but especially "Responsible Persons," to conduct business with integrity and to maintain a standard of ethical conduct consistent with the laws and regulations of all countries and jurisdictions in which USATF conducts business, as well as all of USATF’s established policies and procedures. Furthermore, because the appearance of impropriety can be just as damaging as actual impropriety, conduct which appears to be improper is also unacceptable.

The policies set forth in the following provisions are intended to guide the conduct and business activities and other matters involving, directly or indirectly, USATF. The Code of Ethics is intended to inspire all of us to be at our best, encourage voluntary compliance, disclosure of actual of potential conflicts, and informal resolution. The Code is not all inclusive, as not every expectation or circumstance respecting proper and ethical business conduct can be anticipated, however it should be used as a guide by all Board of Directors, independent contractors, volunteers, and chairs and members of committees, sub-committees, councils, task forces, and any other decision-making body of USATF when conducting business.
I. Definitions: All defined terms are indicated as such by quotation marks throughout this document.

  1.  A "Responsible Person" is any person serving as a Board member, independent contractor, member of a committee, sub-committee, council, task force, or any other decision making body of USATF, and includes any candidate for Board, committee, sub-committee, council, task force, or any other decision making body of USATF.

  2.  A "Family Member" is any member of the immediate family or household of   a "Responsible Person."

  3.   A "Transaction" is any agreement or relationship involving the sale or   purchase of goods, services, or rights of any kind; the providing or receipt of   a loan or grant or anything of value; the awarding or selecting of any event   city or venue; or any other type of financial relationship.

  4.  A "Third Party" is any entity that does or is seeking to do business with USATF, including but not limited to, sponsors, vendors, and meet organizers. This definition also includes any entity that is a competitor of USATF or any of its sponsors, vendors, meet promoters, or other business partners.

  5. A "Conflict" is any circumstance or behavior that is inconsistent with or in violation of any provision of this Code of Ethics, including a Conflict of Interest.

  6. "Recuse" means to remove oneself from participation to avoid a "Conflict." The "Responsible Person" shall not participate in or be permitted to hear the discussion of the matter except to disclose pertinent facts and to respond to questions; and shall not attempt to exert his or her personal influence with respect to the matter, either at or outside the meeting.

II. Policy on Code of Conduct (COC): This Code of Conduct Policy is intended to be a guide for the conduct of business activities and other matters involving, directly or indirectly, USATF.

  1. Basic Principles applicable to all USATF Members.
    1. Maintenance of honesty and integrity in all actions taken while representing USATF.
    2. Exhibition  of  the  highest  degree  of  ethical  standards  when  developing  and executing programs for the advancement of track and field in the United States.
    3. Fair treatment of everyone and respect of basic human rights regardless of a person's national origin, race, color, sex, age, marital status, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identification, political beliefs, or any other such characteristic.
    4. Recognition  of  the  contribution  of  each  individual  and  his  or  her  right  for freedom from physical, emotional, or sexual harassment.
    5. Prohibition  from  any  attempt  to  direct  or  influence  any  other  "Responsible Person" to assist in obtaining a position, volunteer or paid, or financial or other benefit from USATF, for himself or herself or for any "Family Member" or friend.
    6. Prohibition from hiring or supervising a relative or cohabitant or determining or influencing his or her promotion or pay, if staff, or any financial or other benefits, if volunteer.
    7. Fair play is mandatory. Fair play is more than playing within the rules of the sport. It is a way of thinking and acting. It is the elimination of cheating, doping, gamesmanship, physical and verbal violence, exploitation, unequal opportunities, and corruption.
    8. Compliance  with  the  terms  and  conditions  of  USATF’s  Bylaws,  Operating Regulations,  Rules  of  Competition,  and  USATF  policies  and  procedures  is expected.

III. Policy on Conflicts of Interest (COI): This Conflict of Interest Policy is designed to help "Responsible Persons" of USATF identify situations that present potential Conflicts of Interest and to provide USATF with procedures to address Conflicts of Interest.

  1. Any one of the following circumstances shall create a Conflict of Interest.
    1. Transactions greater than $100 in the aggregate per year between USATF and a "Responsible Person." This includes any employment or payment for services with USATF. It also includes the receipt of anything of value greater than $100.
    2. The following payments may constitute exceptions to the $100 in the aggregate per year limit, provided that such payment or transaction is also in compliance with USATF Bylaws, Operating Regulations, and USATF policies and procedures.
      1. Expense reimbursements paid by USATF, as long as such reimbursements comply with Board-approved expense and other policies.
      2. Amounts paid to individuals for programs requiring a particular expertise necessary to achieve the program's objectives. These amounts are limited to an aggregate of $2,000 in any calendar year. A "Responsible Person" shall not take part in any decision resulting in his or her receipt of payment. These amounts are commonly referred to as "honoraria."
      3. Prize money paid to athletes based on their competitive performance.
      4. Appearance fees paid to athletes from sponsorship dollars as designated in the sponsorship contract, including contracts where sponsorship dollars flow through USATF directly to the athlete.
    3. Transactions greater than $100 in the aggregate per year between USATF and a "Third  Party"  (including,  but  not  limited  to,  sponsors,  vendors, and  meet organizers), in which a "Responsible Person" or "Family Member" is a director, officer, employee, or other representative of  the  "Third Party." This does not preclude expense reimbursements paid by Third Parties for expenses incurred in the  normal  course  of  USATF  business,  including  site  visits,  championships oversight and  business meetings, as long as the reimbursement is consistent with  USATF  payments  under  similar  circumstances  and  does  not  constitute taxable income under IRS regulations.
    4.  A "Responsible Person" directing staff, volunteers, or Third Parties to help a "Responsible Person" or his or her "Family Members" or friends obtain benefits (financial or otherwise) or other preferential treatment for which he or she would not otherwise qualify.
    5. A  "Responsible  Person"  soliciting  or  receiving  gifts  or  favors  in  any  form, including money, services, loans, travel, apparel, equipment,  entertainment, hospitality, or promise or any other thing of value.
      1. This  provision  does  not  prohibit  arrangements  or  contracts  between athletes and coaches and sponsors, vendors, or meet  organizers that occur  in  the  normal  course  of  business.  Because such instances do represent Conflicts of Interest, they must be disclosed to the Ethics Committee when established and to the relevant decision making body at any time there is a related discussion, at which time the "Responsible Person" shall "Recuse" himself or herself.
      2. The following circumstances are not considered Conflicts of Interest and do not require disclosure:
        1. The acceptance of items or entertainment/hospitality totaling less than $100 in the aggregate per year which are not related to, nor appear to be related to, any particular transaction or activity of USATF.
        2. The  acceptance  by  athletes  or National  Team staff of  team  gear, merchandise,  and  equipment  provided  to  all  such  persons  in  the normal course of participating on a National Team.
    6. Prohibition of use of confidential information and exertion of undue influence: During the time that a “Responsible Person” renders service to USATF, whether as a paid employee or as a volunteer, and for a period of at least five (5) years thereafter, such person shall not utilize any confidential information obtained during such period of service for his or her own benefit or for the benefit of any "Third Party."
    7. A "Responsible Person" or "Family Member" having an ownership or investment interest in excess of 5% of the equity value of any "Third Party."
  2. The National Office staff has a separate Conflict of Interest Policy . Each National Office staff person is expected to comply with the disclosure and reporting requirements of such policy. To obtain guidance on an ethics or compliance issue or to report concerns, National Office employees, if comfortable and appropriate under the circumstances, should first raise the concern with one's supervisor. If this approach is uncomfortable or inappropriate, the employee may discuss the matter with the USATF General Counsel or any other member of management, up to and including the CEO. Individuals are always free to contact the Ethics Committee or use the Whistleblower Hotline at 317-713-4702.  USATF makes every reasonable effort to maintain, within the limits of the law, the confidentiality of the identity of any individual who reports concerns or possible misconduct. There is no retribution or discipline for anyone who reports a concern in good faith.
  3. Any conduct that does not rise to the level of a Conflict of Interest as defined in this sub-section shall nevertheless constitute prohibited conduct if, as determined by the Ethics Committee, when viewed through the eyes of a reasonably prudent person, the conduct has the appearance of impropriety.

IV. Duty to Disclose

  1. Individuals  described  in Section B below must  disclose  any "Conflict",  whether personal or observed in other individuals described below in the manner described in Section B, below. Any such information regarding an individual described below or a friend or "Family Member" shall be treated as confidential and shall be made available only to the applicable party, as detailed below.
  2. Timing of Disclosure for "Conflicts"
    1. Members of USATF's Board of Directors, all standing committee or council chairs, Ethics Committee and Budget Committee members must submit a Code of Ethics Reporting Statement (“Disclosure Form”) once every year, prior to the deadline established by the USATF Board of Directors, even if no "Conflict" exists in order to participate in Board of Director or committee activities and meetings. Each member of the Board of Directors, all standing committee or council chairs, Ethics Committee and Budget Committee members shall have an ongoing obligation to promptly disclose, in writing, any information required by the Disclosure Form of which the “Responsible Person” became aware after he or she submitted the Disclosure Form.  Any and all Disclosure Forms completed by members of USATF’s Board of Directors or Ethics Committee shall be submitted to USATF General Counsel for review by the Counsel to the Board.  Any and all Disclosure Forms completed by all standing committee chairs, council chairs, or members of the Budget Committee (provided those members are not also on the Board of Directors) shall be submitted to the USATF General Counsel for review by the Ethics Committee. Failure to submit the Disclosure Form prior to the deadline shall be considered a disciplinary issue for review by the appropriate party (Counsel to the Board or the Ethics Committee, as applicable). The Disclosure Form must include any potential or existing "Conflict." New “Responsible Persons” must report any "Conflict" occurring any time within the preceding year.
    2. All candidates for Board, committee, sub-committee, council, task force, or any other decision making body of USATF must submit a Disclosure Form at the outset of their candidacy/nomination. Any and all such Disclosure Forms shall be submitted to the USATF General Counsel for review by the Ethics Committee. The Disclosure Form must include any potential or existing "Conflict."
    3. If a "Conflict" arises after a member of USATF’s Board of Directors, standing committee or council chair, Ethics Committee or Budget Committee member has submitted the Disclosure Form, the “Responsible Person” must submit an updated Disclosure Form to the appropriate party, as detailed above, immediately. Ethics Committee member Disclosure Forms are to be submitted directly to the USATF General Counsel. All such Disclosure Forms shall fully disclose the nature of the "Conflict."
    4. “Responsible Persons” must disclose any "Conflict" or potential "Conflict" to the appropriate committee chair, and must refrain from participating in any discussion of the subject of the conflict at any meeting of any USATF committee, subcommittee or other decision-making body.

V. Violations

  1. All violations with respect to the limitations contained in III.A.2.b. shall be remedied either by declining payment from USATF or resigning from the  applicable volunteer position.
  2. All violations of this Code of Ethics, including a failure to disclose or submit required Disclosure Forms, will be subject to review and recommendation of sanction. Upon notification of a potential "Conflict" by a "Responsible Person" or upon notification of a  failure to comply,  the  Ethics  Committee  shall  determine  and   recommend  to  the  Board appropriate action(s). Such action may require that the "Responsible Person" "Recuse" himself  or  herself  from  discussions,  transactions,  and  decisions  surrounding  the subject  matter  of  the   "Conflict"  or  resign  from  all  USATF  appointments  and assignments. Prior to any recommendation on the part of the Ethics Committee, the "Responsible Person" will be given a reasonable opportunity to be heard  on the matter, either in writing or in person, as determined by the Ethics Committee.
    1. The Ethics Committee may also recommend that the Board of Directors remove a “Responsible Person” or terminate USATF's contract, agreements, or other arrangements with the "Third Party."
  3. The following process shall govern ethics complaints against a "Responsible Person":
    1.  The ethics grievance process shall commence upon receipt of a written Complaint, or information received from the Ethics Helpline. 
    2. Upon receipt by the USATF General Counsel or the Ethics Committee of a written Complaint, the Ethics Committee shall evaluate the information received and, within fourteen (14) business days, determine whether the complaint alleges facts that, if true, would constitute a violation under this Code.   If the Ethics Committee determines that the conduct alleged would not constitute a violation, then the Ethics Committee may decline to take further action. The complainant, if known, shall be promptly notified of the determination in writing. There shall be no appeal from a determination to decline to proceed.
    3.  If the Ethics Committee determines that the Complaint alleges facts that, if true, would constitute a basis for a finding of a violation of this Code of Ethics, then, within fourteen (14) business days of such determination, the Chair shall cause the complaint to be mailed to the "Responsible Person" (respondent) together with all evidence or other information supplied by the complainant.  The complainant shall also be advised, within fourteen (14) business days of such determination.
    4. The Chair, in consultation with the USATF General Counsel, shall then cause an investigation to be undertaken. The investigation shall be concluded within forty-five (45) days, unless circumstances require a more expeditious conclusion. The Chair shall make the ultimate determination of the time to be allowed for the investigation to be completed. Any person assisting the Ethics Committee with an investigation shall be subject to the utmost confidentiality with respect to any information obtained in the course of the investigation.
    5. After conducting the investigations, the Ethics Committee shall provide the Board of Directors with its written findings and recommendations. The Board of Directors may accept, reject, or modify the recommendation of the Ethics Committee.  Any recommendation by the Ethics Committee which further recommends a sanction shall be consistent with sanctions otherwise available to the USATF Board of Directors under USATF bylaws, regulations, policies or procedures.
    6. No member of the Ethics Committee nor any other person who has participated in investigating a Complaint shall be subject to being called as a witness in any subsequent  USATF  proceeding  related  in any  way  to  the  Complaint  or  the resultant opinion. All investigation information shall remain confidential.
    7. If the “Responsible Person” is a Board member, the Ethics Committee will refer the complaint to the Counsel to the Board. The Counsel to the Board shall review and/or investigate the complaint and advise the Board Chair or Vice-Chair accordingly. The Board of Directors shall take whatever action it deems appropriate. 

VI. Confidentiality: Upon request by the complainant, and to the extent practicable, USA Track & Field will use reasonable efforts to protect the identity of any individual who reports a concern or misconduct. Any information regarding a "Responsible Person" or a friend or "Family Member" shall be treated as confidential and shall generally be made available only to those with a need to know such information. A "Responsible Person" will not disclose confidential information acquired in connection with such status. Furthermore, a "Responsible Person" will not disclose or use information relating to the business of USATF for personal profit or advantage of the "Responsible Person" or a "Family Member."  Any such disclosure or use shall be considered a breach of this Code of Ethics provision and shall subject that person making such use or disclosure to further action including, but not limited to, monetary damages.

Code of Ethics Conflict Reporting Statement

Exhibit A - National Office Staff Conflict of Interest Policy

Exhibit B - USA Track & Field, Inc. Code of Ethics Rules For Hearings

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