WHAT YOU WISH FOR

 Right after the Olympics of 2008, in the lobby of the Intercontinental Hotel in Zurich, Switzerland, the meet headquarters for the very highly regarded WELTKLASSE/Zurich Meet, Mark Block, a prominent agent for track and field athletes, asked me about some very scathing comments and criticisms Doug Logan, the newly minted CEO of USA Track and Field , had made about the U.S. track and field team’s medal performance at the Olympics. He was particularly scathing of the coaching staff and particularly its handling of the relays. He was calling for an “audit panel” to review the  whole high performance aspect of USATF. As chair of the High Performance Division of USATF, a lot of the criticism was directed at me and my performance in that position, …….not all of it undeserved. 

That guy Logan is really getting after you pretty good.

Mark, he came into the sport almost proudly declaring in his interview with the board that he was totally ignorant of the sport, other than he tried to jog a few miles each day. 

Doesn’t that bother you ?

Yeah. It bothers the hell out of me. He is the product of a “scorched earth ” plan pushed through by Bill Roe ( former USATF president ) with the help and encouragement of the USOC.

Wait a minute you just zipped right past me.

The USOC is very much trying to get the various National Governing Bodies ( NGBs) to reorganize and restructure themselves along the lines that the USOC thinks is best for them. In many ways they want USATF to restructure more along the lines of the USOC itself and pursue performance plans similar to swimmming. If they get swimming and track and field in line, they anticipate less hassle getting the other NGBs to yield and comply.

The USOC has had its own issues right ?

Yeah, they have had at least four CEOs in the last eight years. Plus when we talked with the president of the USOC, he personally declared that their board was not sure that their current structure was best for THEM, let alone NGBs.

Then how could they dictate changes within USATF ?

They threatened to decertify USATF as an NGB ?

Can they do that ?

Not as we are constituted and operating. We never met the threshold of malfeasance or non-feasance , or unethical behavior as required by law. 

Then how did this whole thing come about ?

Bill Roe used the “decertify” threat from the USOC as Bush did the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” ploy and threat.  Despite the fact that Roe was in the room with the rest of us when the USOC president declared that USATF did NOT meet the threshold level for decertification , Roe still used decertification as a threat and pressure tactic to move along his own agenda as regards restructuring USATF and selection of a new CEO. His scorched earth agenda for the new board composition basically left out the volunteer sector of USATF, where the service component and expertise resides, out of the equation and whole volunteer sectors were left without direct representation on the board.  The new board would go from twenty nine memebers down to fifteen, of which at least three would not even be from within the sport itself. He presided over a CEO screening and selection process that was ethically flawed, which was bound to produce fatally flawed results.

How was that ?

The board was generally under the impression that we were going to be presented with upwards of three new CEO candidtaes. One of the other candidates was a former Olympic medalist, who had had a very successful run in helping to put Gatorade on the map. He had a Fortune 500 Roledex which we were essentially seeking in a new CEO.  The night of the conference call to select the new CEO, Roe presented just one name, Doug Logan. When challenged on the fact that we, the board, felt there was going to be more than one candidate for us to review, he retorted that if we wanted to delay the process longer and face decertification and displeasure from the USOC, we could vote the one candidate down and start the process all over again. Too many people were simply tired of the drawn out process. Some legitimately thought there was a chance of decertification. Since the athletes on the screening committee supported Logan, some felt it best to go along with the athletes’ choice. At the end of the night, nine people abstained, one voted no, and the rest voted to support what they thought was the athletes’ choice.

I know the one “no” vote was yours. 

No, I abstained, a mistake I regret, but will make up for it later. The “no” vote was Lionel Leach, chair of Youth Athletics.

Make up for it later ? How are you going to do that ?

Mark, right here and now I am telling you he will NOT last the term.

How can you be so sure ?

It is just like Clyde Hart said, ” He has already declared he doesn’t know anything about the sport,…. and every time he opens his mouth he proves it.”

So he has a big mouth and knows nothing about the sport. How is that going to cost him his job ?

Mark, arrogance leads to ignorance and ignorance leads to mistakes. This guy has a massive ego and  he is going to make mistakes that equal the magnitude of that ego. When he does, I am going to nail his ass because there is a mandate in federal  legislation that demands accountability and transparency of organizations like USATF. I am going to make sure he is held accountable to the people that essentailly control the destiny of his job every time he screws up,….. as he inevitably will. Believe me, he will NOT last the quadrennium.  

From the very beginning, Logan’s game plan was clear and clumsy in addition to being  coupled with some serious ego needs. He never saw a reporter or a microphone that he didn’t fall madly in love with. He used public statements to demean and diminish everything that had taken place in USATF before his arrival. More critically he used the media to bash athletes themselves and show his disrespect for them. This despite the fact that USATF describes itself accurately as the #1 track and field power int he world. Based upon medals at the Olympic Games and World Championships we easily beat the second place Russians and the the third place Kenyans. At the Olympics of 2008 the U.S. the tally was a total of 23 medals. The year before at the World Championships we had won 25 medals. The rest of the world was in awe and throroughly impressed with our medal count,….just as they should be based upon what other countries were getting done at the same competitions. His political objective was to diminish and destroy all that had come before him so he would have a clean slate to implement his meglomaniacal agenda.     

One of the very first mistakes Logan made was in the composition of his “audit panel” to review and assess the High Performance Division’s effectiveness. Of the seven original members of the panel, four were present or former employees of the USOC. This indicated that the USOC was very much involved in the internal affairs of USATF, despite the fact our by-laws clearly and essentially stated that USATF and all other NGBs were to avoid “outside” influence and interference in their internal affairs. But even more critical and revealing was the fact that he totally ignored the USOC by-laws, Ted Stevens Amateur Sports Act, and USATF by-laws which mandate that 20% of any entity making decisions regarding USATF be made up of athletes. The two “athletes” ( Carl Lewis and Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley ) did not constitute athletes under the USATF and USOC by-laws because they were too remote from the sport, so the 20% rule was violated. This was belatedly addressed by adding athletes that in fact met the by-law requirements , but by then the dye was already cast and the “audit panel” essentially reported out what Logan wanted it to.

However, in and under this was the one single thing that most caused his downfall , and this was demonstrated from the very beginning. That is the fact that he never really respected athletes. By not knowing that athletes were a requirement and prerequisite, and a welcomed addition to any decision-making process, he chose to ignore and disrepect them. He demonstrated this by re-allocating funds ( upwards of a million dollars ) intended for athletes to control and distribute and placed them into the general fund over which he had control. When challeneged about this fraudulent transfer, he perfunctorily stated, “That is how I do business.”  I advised the athletes about the contract that outlined the funds allocated to them and they enlisted the help of a board member who got a copy of the contract and shared it with the board.

Logan’s total disregard for his most critical constituent group,…athletes, was to some degree manifested in many of the changes and proposed changes made by his new hires. The athletes were in a constant hassle with the new Chief of Performance over whether or not they should be consulted in advance when decisions were made that impacted them. The USATF by-laws essentially make that a mandatory process as it states that decisions made in behalf of athletes should be made consistent with their basic wishes. Not knowing what their basic wishes happen to be, how can you make decisions without consulting and conferring with them in advance ? On many occasions this happened and much friction grew up between the people responsible for and generating and administering programs and those for whom the programs were supposed to benefit.

By the time the Athletes Advisory Council had ramped up a full head of anti-Logan steam, there was already a majority of the board members who were aware that Logan simply was not the man for the job. His basic attitude was consistent with the “Enron Syndrome”,….with the same fatal results. The Enron mantra was that at any meeting the Enron personnel attended, they were the “smartest people in the room”. Logans holier and smarter than thou attitude did not sit very well with a group of very bright people who were volunteering their time and good faith efforts, and at the same time were respected and accomplished people in their own fields of endeavor.

The leadership of the AAC was very stringent and diligent in its efforts in making sure they were not turned into pawns and toys for Logan’s enjoyment and pleasure. As he crossed the line in his personal conduct regarding athletes, it was duly noted and reported to the board and its officers. As he went further and further afield in this area, it was reported and investigated and it became obvious that he had to go.

In today’s NEW YORK TIMES, Logan is still up to his old and lame tactics. Everyone is a fool but him. He is still ” the smartest guy in the room”. He characterizes the USATF board as, “This is 15 people who want to be taken seriously who for all practical purposes, are 15 bodies in funny suits stumbling out of a little car.”. Now for a minute I want you to image the CEO of USATF, the #1 track and field power in the world, over 60 years old and sauntering and preening through the lobby of the athletes’ hotel at the World Championships with tight, black leather pants on ( Elvis is in the house ), wearing red rimmed sun glasses. Further, picture the same CEO during the Olympic Torch procession for the 2007 Winter Olympics dressed in an all-white costume with a pointed cone hat on, for all the world looking like a refugee from a klu klux klan meeting and having this USA TODAY image repeated in the USATF publication. What kind of gaul and total lack of self-awareness does it take and manifest to accuse someone else of dressing ” in funny suits “.

In the same NEW YORK TIMES article he states about the board, ” It’s people who have earned their credentials to sit on a board because they’ve had a whistle around their neck at regional youth meets.” Please keep in mind the person who saw so clearly through him at the very outset and voted “no” against his candidacy, was the chair of the Youth  Athletics Committee who has attended many “youth meets” and obviously brought to the table some clarity of vision and insight about him that escaped the rest of us at that time. But we quickly caught up. Also keep in mind that on that board were two Olympic track and field athletes, one of whom attended law school and was a world record holder. Another board memeber was a very successful track and field coach, who later was a vice president at NIKE and now heads up Andre Aggazzi’s foundation. There are another three active athletes on the board, all of whom have been Olympians and one of whom has an Olympic medal in the marathon. You see he really can not help himself. He is too arrogant and self-absorbed to really see the  innate and inherent gross contradictions in what he says and what he professes to be. This is what I intuitively knew back in 2008 and was the underlying reason I was confident Logan could/would not last the term. 

This man was selected for USATF by the same headhunter who served that capacity for the USOC. It is assumed that his selection met with tacit USOC approval because at the time they were so deeply involved in USATF internal affairs. They wanted USATF to model itself after swimming and regrettably they got their wish if you follow my drift and and read between the lines.

Thanks.

Brooks T. Johnson

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