Riverfront astroturf is not for PE classes or club sports. Is it part of the UO Foundation’s secret Tracktown 2021 plans?

UO wants the Eugene planning commission to give it the right to put 4 astro-turf playing fields with lights just south of the Willamette river. They claim this is for intramural Rugby and PE and Rec classes.

I don’t buy it. I don’t have the Rugby participation data, but it’s not New Zealand. For Fall 2017 UO had a total of 7 sections of PE classes that need playing fields such as flag football, ultimate, and soccer with a total of 166 students. (In comparison there were 27 sections of Yoga type classes). These are 1 credit sections that meet for 2 hours a week. That’s a grand total of 14 hours a week on the playing fields.

These classes are not exactly surging in popularity among UO students. In Fall 2012 there were 9 sections. And while PE and Rec already have 2 lit astroturf fields by the Rec Center, they have no sections scheduled at night.

So what is this really about? I’m guessing it’s part of the UO Foundation’s top secret planning for the 2021 Track & Field Championships.

Are feds questioning UO Foundation head Paul Weinhold over IAAF “side deals”?

2/20/2018: Austin Meek  has the latest on the Lananna and Tracktown in the RG here. No word yet on whether the feds are also interviewing the UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold, who also played a key role in the IAAF bidding, as reported by Diane Dietz in the RegisterGuard back in 2014:

The foundation’s financial guarantee to the IAAF set no upper limit on what the foundation would have been liable for if the Eugene event had turned into a money loser. …

Weinhold said the UO Foundation faced minimal risk in agreeing to cover meet losses because TrackTown USA’s budget was thoroughly vetted and reliable; Kitzhaber favored the legislation that would have provided millions in state support; and the foundation had confidential side deals meant to hold the foundation harmless, Weinhold said in the interview. Weinhold declined to disclose any specifics of those side deals.

“We do not believe we had any exposure, and we had agreements in place that eliminated our exposure. That should be enough for you,” he said. …

Side deals?

2/19/2018: Feds question Duck coach & Tracktown head Vin Lananna over 2021 IAAF Championships

Austin Meek in the RG:

USA Track & Field says it has placed Vin Lananna on temporary administrative leave after learning that Lananna and Eugene-based TrackTown USA were contacted “months ago” by federal authorities investigating corruption in the sport. …

No word yet on how the UO administration and the Foundation will handle this.

2/14/2018: Eugene loses three NCAA championship meets over Tracktown’s 2021 IAAF extravaganza

This is getting interesting. I wonder what the truth is. The Oregonian:

By closing its iconic track stadium for all of 2019, Oregon would void a three-year contract with the NCAA to host the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Because the Hayward Field tart-up for the 2021 IAAF meet will take it out of commission. Or because the NCAA doesn’t want to go down with Lananna?

In any case this certainly cuts into the rationale for Governor Kate Brown’s endorsement of $40M in public subsidies for the IAAF.

2/8/2018: USA Track and Field strips Duck coach Vin Lananna of his powers, as millions in public money change hands over 2021 IAAF championships

Before the legislature passed SB 270 and created the UO Board of Trustees, the Oregon Secretary of State’s Audit Division had authority for investigating this sort of sleaze. Now it’s all up to UO’s Internal Auditor Trisha Burnett (whose audits are apparently exempt from public records requests) – and of course the FBI, federal prosecutors, the IRS, the French government, and USA Track and Field.

And the Oregonian’s Jeff Manning, who has a stunning report here:

Vin Lananna’s rapid rise to the pinnacle of U.S. track and field has been stalled by a divisive fight on the sport’s national governing board over his business interests.

Less than a year after being elected president of USA Track & Field, Lananna was quietly stripped of some of his authority. The board specifically cited his leadership of several companies and nonprofits – including Eugene-based TrackTown USA — that routinely bid on contracts to host and organize track meets.

The board passed a two-page resolution in October that, among other things, forces the former University of Oregon track and field coach to recuse himself from any matter that involves his companies or their competitors.

Millions of dollars have changed hands between the governing body and Lananna’s numerous outside interests. Most recently, the association pledged $6 million to Oregon 21, the organizing committee of the 2021 track and field world championships in Eugene.

“Vin has been engaged in complete conflict of interest,” said Steve Miller, the track and field association’s chair. “The outcome of the vote is that he has to recuse himself from the vast majority of what he does as president of USATF. Your effectiveness as leader is greatly diminished when you can’t be in the room.” …

Will Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum follow up on this?

Meanwhile Lananna is still on the UO payroll, at 0.69 FTE:

Duck sports bring UO more of that national publicity money just can’t buy

In the NYT today:

…  The Justice Department is exploring possible racketeering, money laundering and honest services fraud charges related to two track and field world championship events and the business executives who have consulted on bids for various other elite competitions, according to one of the subpoenas, which was obtained by The New York Times.

The subpoenas, delivered in January, have solicited documents, testimony and financial records dating to 2013. Since that time, the United States has won bids to host two major sports events: the 2021 track and field world championships, in Eugene, Ore., and the 2028 Summer Olympics, in Los Angeles. The subpoena did not explicitly refer to the Los Angeles Olympic bid.

Of particular interest to the Justice Department, according to the subpoena, is the world governing body for track and field, known as the I.A.A.F. That federation awarded the sport’s 2019 world championships to Doha, Qatar, and the 2021 event to Eugene. …

Video of UO’s initial pitch to the IAAF here:

UO to replace Hayward Field with bigly 30k seat stadium for IAAF

A teardown seems a bit extreme. I wonder what sort of city approval this will require. Ken Goe has the report in the Oregonian:

An IAAF team has been in Portland and Eugene this week to discuss preparations for the 2021 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

The championships are more than three years away. But there are unresolved issues, such as repeated delays to required renovations of Hayward Field, and a reported FBI investigation into how the championships were awarded. …

The IAAF minimum capacity for a stadium hosting the world championships is 30,000.

Original plans called for an extensive renovation to begin immediately after the 2016 U.S. Olympic trials. It was expected to take two years with a pause late in the spring of 2017 to allow Hayward to stage the Prefontaine Classic, the Oregon state high school championships and the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

But the work has been delayed several times and has not yet begun. Sources say the original plan, which preserved the iconic east side of the stadium, has been scrapped.

The stadium project now is expected to be a complete teardown and rebuild under the direction of Howard Slusher, a longtime adviser to Nike co-founder Phil Knight. Knight is said to be a large contributor to the project. Slusher has supervised other building projects for Knight and Nike.

Paul Weinhold, president and CEO of the University of Oregon Foundation, said Wednesday he expects the project to begin this summer, and for the plans to become public early this spring.

“We’re doing it, and it’s going to be ready,” Weinhold said. …

Secretive UO Foundation’s $68M Hayward Field tart-up delayed again

update: And now it seems that the IAAF’s Lamine Diack, who gave the 2021 IAAF meet to Lananna’s TrackTown and UO, is implicated in a vote buying scheme over the award of the 2016 Olympics to Rio. I’m shocked:

Rio 2016 President Carlos Nuzman was taken into custody last Tuesday (September 5) under suspicion of involvement in a vote-buying scheme in the Brazilian city’s successful bid for the event.

The Brazilian has not been charged with anything but is suspected by prosecutors of being the main link between Arthur Cesar de Menezes Soares Filho, a businessman nicknamed “King Arthur”, and Diack, the Senegalese who was President of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) between 1999 and 2015.

9/11/2017: The Oregonian’s Ken Goe has a story here, but despite the $25M in state subsidies for the 2021 IAAF championship, no one will say anything substantive on the record. Perhaps that’s because Vin Lananna and Paul Weinhold want to hit up Governor Kate Brown and the taxpayers for more, and a construction start would make that harder?

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9/3/2015: UO Board of Trustees to approve glitzy Hayward Field makeover

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Christian Hill has the story in the RG here:

The University of Oregon is continuing to get all its Ducks in a row as it prepares for a major expansion and renovation of iconic Hayward Field.

The next step comes next Thursday, Sept. 10, when the UO Board’s Facilities and Finance Committee will be asked to give its blessing to an update of the historic stadium with flexibility to seat up to 30,000 fans.

More specifically, the committee will be asked to approve a resolution allowing UO President Michael Schill to enter into a lease with Hayward Field Enhancement LLC, a corporation created by the UO Foundation, for the duration of the renovation.

The corporation’s single person is not identified in a statement released by the foundation. A foundation spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking additional details. …

The renovation project is widely viewed as being put on a fast track — no pun intended — to prepare for the World Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which Hayward will host in 2021. It’s the first time that the world championships have ever been awarded to a venue in the United States. …

More on UO’s negotiations with the famously corrupt IAAF here – including current Oregon Governor Kate Brown on video, delivering Kitzhaber’s promise of $30M in state tax money. Phil Knight had given Kitz’s campaign $250K. Not a bad ROI.

Today’s NYT has a report on the IAAF’s new chairman Sebastian Coe, here. Coe is a Nike consultant, and people are already raising questions about that dual role:

“He is definitely the man for the job,” said Mary Wittenberg, the former chief of the New York City Marathon. “It’s really important that he seizes the moment to lead, to step above all potential conflict. Ditch the Nike and any other consulting arrangements.”

At a moment of such clear importance for his sport, the last thing Coe and track and field need is for his own message to get clouded.

UO Board Secretary Angela Wilhems kicked me and the RG’s Diane Dietz out of the Board meeting on UO’s bid to host the IAAF championships, and UO’s public records office is still hiding the documents from the Register Guard:

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To add to the secrecy, the UO Foundation is hiring Hoffman Construction to build this grandstand. The UO is currently suing Hoffman for $8.5M, alleging they did shoddy work on UO’s newest dorm, the Global Scholars Hall. UO Daily Emerald reporter Gordon Friedman, now at the Statesman Journal, reported on this back in May. UO has said the building is safe, but won’t release the inspection reports. (Thanks to a commenter for this reminder.)

BBC says FBI and IRS investigating IAAF et al over Tracktown bid

This is old news, but presumably the BBC thinks they might shake up some new sources with a reminder:

…Now, the BBC understands, the American authorities – including tax investigators at the IRS – are seeking to investigate if there has been any wrongdoing committed in the US, bringing to total number of agencies investigating the awarding of the championships to three….

More on the “blanchiment d’argent” timeline here, and video here:


Eugene “loses” bid for 2020 USATF Olympic Trials

Stanford economist Paul Milgrom has a good explanation of the theory of the winner’s curse here. Oregonian sports reporter Ken Goe has the latest evidence here. Eugene lost the bid but that was probably a win, considering the cost of winning the bid:

USA Track Track & Field has awarded the 2020 Olympic Trials to Mount San Antonio College in suburban Los Angeles.

Eugene had played host to the Olympic Trials in 2008, 2012 and 2016, and had bid for them again for 2020.

Steve Miller, chairman of USATF board directors, said track and field’s governing body wanted to bring the trials to the country’s second-largest media market.

… Hilmer Lodge Stadium at Mt. SAC, which is undergoing a $62 million upgrade, previously had staged the 1968 Olympic Trials for women.

Hayward Field in Eugene also has a planned renovation that originally had been scheduled to begin in the summer of 2016.

That upgrade has not begun. No timetable for the start of the Hayward renovation has been announced.

I wonder if the bidding process was as transparent as the IAAF’s?


Secretive UO Foundation delays filing IRS report by 6 months

Under CEO Paul Weinhold the Foundation has cut way back on the information it shares with the public. This IRS report for July 2015-June 2016 will be 10.5 months old when it is released, and will include only the basic legally required information about the Foundation’s dealings with Vin Lananna’s Tracktown and its role in the Hayward Field tart-up and the Knight Campus project.

Thank you for your inquiry.  We will file our 990 on Monday the 15th, and it will be available on our website on Tuesday morning at 8am here; http://www.uofoundation.org/s/1540/foundation16/interior.aspx?sid=1540&gid=1&pgid=6823


Compliance and Deferred Gifts Administrator

University of Oregon Foundation

1720 E 13th Ave, Ste 410, Eugene, OR  97403

This information, and any attachment, is PRIVILEGED and CONFIDENTIAL property of the University of Oregon Foundation.  Any unauthorized reproduction, dissemination or disclosure is prohibited.

Prosecutors investigating bribery allegations in 2021 IAAF Tracktown bid

USAToday has the latest:

The bidding process for the 2021 World Championships in Athletics — the first global track and field championships awarded to the United States —- remains under scrutiny as investigators continue to probe bribery allegations at several international events.

French prosecutors are investigating cash-for-vote allegations that may have played a role in Hayward Field at the University of Oregon’s selection as the site for the championships, Reuters reported on Friday.  Vin Lananna, who took over as the president of USA Track & Field in December, led a local group that secured the 2021 championships. …

In other news, Ken Goe reports that Tracktown may be having trouble raising money for the Hayward Field tart-up project.

University Board may sue Foundation for refusal to provide public records

The Student Press Law Center has the latest news here (from Kentucky, not Oregon):

But even the university has taken issue with the foundation’s records-request compliance practices. In a 14-1 vote earlier this month, UL’s Board of Trustees decided that it may sue the foundation if it does not turn over financial documents.

“That pathway towards restored confidence for our community is critical at this most vulnerable time for the reputation of our university, which quite frankly has been damaged severely because of the secrecy and the veil of secrecy and the shenanigans… that have gone on at the University of Louisville Foundation,” Larry Benz, the chairman of the university’s board of trustees, told Insider Louisville.

Mayor Piercy links high-speed rail $ and 2021 IAAF track championships

Complementary money pits – every politician’s dream. From Diane Dietz in the RG:

The 2021 IAAF World Championships track meet in Eugene presents an opportunity to move teams by rail to Eugene from training sites up and down the Willamette Valley. “It could prove to ourselves and to the ­Legislature what potential (rail) could really have,” Piercy said.

The cost estimate for the cheap rail plan is ~$700M, the expensive plan is $4B. Those are the liar’s budget numbers of course, and are for construction alone. For a comparison, state support for UO is about $60M a year.