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;


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.

Eugene Budget Panel’s Josh Skov slows down $500K IAAF pork proposal

Christian Hill has the story in the RG:

City budget writers have put the brakes on a proposal by Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz to allot $500,000 in the coming budget year toward Eugene’s preparations for the 2021 IAAF World Championships.

The budget that the City Council adopted this week puts the money in a designated reserve fund. The new fiscal year begins Friday. The money can’t be moved out of the reserve and spent until Ruiz returns with clear criteria for how the $500,000 will be used.

… Some budget panel members said they can’t support Ruiz’s request without more details.

“When you have an amount that is as large as $500,000 and are not able to say really what I plan to do with it, that  …  would naturally make people uncomfortable,” Councilor Chris Pryor said at ­a meeting last month.

Committee member Joshua Skov, who is running for a seat on the City Council, said at the same meeting that the request puts the committee in a “tricky position for there not to be a little more definition.”

Skov noted that mistrust has built up among some residents around expensive city projects, including construction of a new City Hall. That will predispose them “to see that half-million dollars as money that’s being spent with little accountability or being spent without really clear definition ahead of time,” he said.

You can find out more Skov and his campaign for the Ward 1 city council seat on his facebook page here. Full disclosure: he’s an economist.

Breaking – Legislature gives Lananna $25M, but not $3M for security

$0 for academics. Saul Hubbard has the news in the RG, here:

With two narrow, last-minute votes, lawmakers on Thursday boosted the state’s tax on hotel stays, a Eugene-driven proposal that took a tortuous path in the short legislative session.

House Bill 4146 would likely pave the way for a $25 million state subsidy for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene, while also gathering more tax money for other tourism-related work around the state. It raises the current state lodging tax of 1 percent to 1.8 percent for four years, starting in July, and to 1.5 percent after that.

… However, lawmakers rejected another, separate subsidy request from TrackTown in the last days of session. Led by UO athletics executive Vin Lananna, the non-profit had sought $3 million from the state’s general fund to help cover security costs at the 2016 Indoor World Championships in Portland in March and the 2016 Olympic Trials in Eugene this summer. But lawmakers didn’t include any money for the events in the final budget.

Yikes! Oregon Senate trims Track Town subsidy

2/27/2016: Saul Hubbard has more in the RG here:

A last-minute change by the Oregon Senate on Friday to a proposed increase in the state’s lodging tax left Lane County lawmakers fuming.

The change, adopted because of pressure from Portland area Democratic senators, would erode further the size of the tax increase, meaning a smaller pot of new revenue for tourism-­related ventures across the state.

It also could make it more difficult for the tax increase to cover the full $25 million subsidy that will be requested for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene.

Under the latest amendments, the state’s lodging tax would increase to 1.8 percent, from 1 percent now, for four years. It would then drop down to a 1.5 percent permanent rate. …

I’m not sure why the legislature is considering even this, given that on Jan 14 Diane Dietz quoted Lananna as saying he can make this work without state subsidies:

Not getting the lodging money would be a big challenge to TrackTown’s goal of bringing 2,000 athletes from 214 countries to Eugene for a nine-day event in August 2021, Lananna said.

But coming up empty-handed in the February session would not stop TrackTown, he said.

“Are we going to go ahead? We’re absolutely going to go ahead. (But) don’t ask me what the next step is. I don’t know.”

And here’s what the Oregonian’s Jeff Manning had on Jan 10:

Track Town is not backing off its contention that it eventually needs $40 million in public funding to stage the event. Backed by the formidable political power trio of Nike, Phil Knight and the University of Oregon, it has plenty of clout in Salem.

“But we don’t have to get there today in this short session,” Lananna said. “We’ve got five years to bring people around.”

…  It’s a lucrative arrangement. Even at part-time, Lananna gets paid $440,000 a year, including some deferred compensation, by the university. Track Town and related entities paid him another $334,300 annually, according to the non-profit’s tax return.

On top of that, Nike pays Lananna $30,000 a year as part of a long-term consulting contract.

… “I heard through the grapevine that you are working on possible plans for an IAAF proposal,” then interim UO President Scott Coltrane wrote in an Aug. 26, 2014, email. “Can you give me an update and briefing via telephone when convenient?”

After talking to Lananna, Coltrane immediately emailed his top lieutenants clearly concerned about whether the UO could fulfill the promises Lananna was making.  “Yikes,” Coltrane wrote in the Aug. 28 email. “Have any of you seen any proposals for what specifically is being proposed for new housing for rehabilitation of residence halls?”

2/23/2016: House passes IAAF subsidy, UO won’t waive fees on public records

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Dead Russian track official had talked to reporter about IAAF doping scandal

2/21/2016: And you thought those $400K campaign contributions Kitzhaber got smelled bad? ESPN has the latest here:

… Sunday Times sportswriter David Walsh, renowned for his coverage of cycling champion Lance Armstrong’s doping, reported that Nikita Kamaev wrote to him in November offering to reveal information on doping covering the past three decades since Kamaev began work for a “secret lab” in the Soviet Union.

Ramil Khabriev, Kamaev’s former boss at RUSADA, told Russia’s Tass agency that Kamaev planned to write a book but abandoned it because an “American publisher” had demanded too much influence over its contents.

Kamaev died Feb. 14 at age 52 of what RUSADA called a massive heart attack.

In Walsh’s account, Kamaev was quick to contact The Sunday Times after a World Anti-Doping Agency commission accused RUSADA of helping to cover up doping by top Russian athletes as part of a systematic, state-sponsored program of drug use.

According to the newspaper, Kamaev said he had collected unpublished “documents, including confidential sources, regarding the development of performance enhancing drugs and medicine in sport” plus communications with the Russian Sports Ministry and International Olympic Committee. It is not clear whether Kamaev ever provided any documents. …

2/19/2016: Everyone will get a cut of IAAF hotel tax pork – except UO’s academic side

The RG’s Saul Hubbard has more here:

SALEM — Backers of an increase in Oregon’s hotel-room tax have slightly scaled back and tweaked their request, to win support from hesitant lawmakers in the state House.

The tax increase is being sought, in part, to generate money for a $25 million subsidy request for the 2021 World Track and Field Championships in Eugene.

The House was scheduled to vote on the bill, HB 4146, on Friday. But instead the bill was sent back to committee for changes, after it became clear that there weren’t enough votes in the chamber to pass it.

There’s been little outright opposition among interest groups or lawmakers to helping pay for the Eugene track championships, which will cost far more to stage than they can bring in in ticket and other marketplace revenue.

But Portland-area government agencies are lobbying hard for a smaller increase in the state lodging tax, to leave themselves room to increase their own local hotel tax. Other regions meanwhile are seeking a bigger share of the proposed new statewide tax revenue. …

2/15/2016: Oregon Legislature can’t decide how many millions in tax money to give corrupt IAAF and Track Town’s $850K Lananna

The House Revenue Committee amends Rep. Nancy Nathanson’s IAAF/Track Town subsidy bill with some minor qualifications, and then sends it on to the House floor, on a close vote. Presumably they’ll figure out how to spread the Hotel Tax pork around enough to get this passed.

Here’s hoping Lord Seb Coe’s IAAF can keep any more news about soliciting bribes from Putin’s friends to cover up doping by Russian athletes or using brown envelopes and Rolexes to decide who gets the IAAF championships out of the papers for a week or two. Speaking of which, a second figure in Russian scandal has just died unexpectedly. The Guardian has more here.

Meanwhile the UO Board meets on Thursday to vote on using eminent domain to prepare the way for rebuilding Hayward Field in the style to which the Duck Athletics Department has become accustomed. And UO’s Public Records Office is still sitting on many requests for documents about the deal, including this one from the BBC, back on December 2:

Requester:  McKay, Calum
Organization:  BBC
Initial Request Date:  12/02/2015
Status: Requesting/Reviewing Records

1) All records used, generated, sent or received by the following people: University of Oregon Associate Athletics Director, University of Oregon Associate Vice President for State and Community Affairs, and CEO of the University of Oregon Foundation.

Including but not limited to emails, letters, reports, text messages, records of meetings and other communications, which match the following search terms: Nike, Coe, Seb, TrackTown, Track Town, TTUSA, IAAF, 2021, Masback, Capriotti, Fasulo, Lamine, Diack, CSM, Jackie AND Brock AND/OR Doyle

2) All records used, generated, sent or received by the following people: University of Oregon Athletics Director, University of Oregon Board Chairman, former University of Oregon Interim President, current University of Oregon President and University of Oregon Associate Director of Events Administration Athletics.

Including, but not limited to emails, letters, reports, text messages, records of meetings and other communications, which match the following search terms: Nike, Coe, Seb, TrackTown, Track Town, TTUSA, IAAF, 2021, Masback, Capriotti,  Fasulo, Lamine, Diack, Vin, Lananna, CSM, Jackie AND Brock AND/OR Doyle

The period of this request covers from 18 November 2014 until the present.

2/11/2016: They’ll figure it out today at 1PM:

Saul Hubbard has more on the logrolling, here:

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Board holds emergency session, gives jocks what they want when they want it

2/18/2016: There are some good people on the UO board. You know they’re hoping the day will come when they can announce they’ve done something important for UO’s academic side. But that day is not today. Today Diane Dietz has yet another story on the effort and expense that UO’s leaders are willing to lavish on the jocks, here.

2/14/2016: What would Scalia say about using eminent domain for IAAF championships?

The UO Board of Trustees will attempt to use eminent domain to condemn a cell phone tower that’s in the way of the plan to tart-up Hayward Field for the 2021 IAAF Championships. They’ve called an emergency meeting for February 18th:

“The UO is at a point in time where further delay would cause significant delay in the overarching project, the completion of which is currently timed for events next spring critical to the local economy.”

Whereas, the University of Oregon (“University”) desires to expand certain campus facilities, including Hayward Field, to improve the University’s ability to provide educational and athletic opportunities for its students; to support the University’s ability to host significant state, national, and international events that promote the University and it students; to bring economic opportunities and benefits to the community and the State of Oregon; and to enhance spectating and training (“Project”); …

NOW, THEREFORE, the Board hereby:

1. RESOLVES that acquiring SBA 2012 TC Assets, LLC’s (“SBA”), its subtenants’, and any other parties’ interests in a lease of real property located at the southwest corner of Hayward Field is necessary and required to complete the Project.  The particular interests that are necessary to the Project, and that the University will acquire, are specifically described in the attached Exhibit A (“Property”), which is incorporated herein by reference as if fully set forth herein;

2. FURTHER RESOLVES that the Project is necessary for the public interest, and has been planned, designed, located and will be constructed in a manner that will be the most compatible with the greatest public good and the least injury to private parties; …

Paul Weinhold’s UO Foundation will, of course, pay for the expenses associated with the latest athletic distraction from UO’s academic mission:

Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 12.29.33 PM

It appears UO had already proposed substantial concessions – I wonder if the foundation was going to cover those too, and out of which pot of money?:

Ground lease amendment and construction agreement are still not executed.   An amendment to the existing ground lease is needed to reflect the new location and any modified terms agreed upon as a result of this relocation.  Also needed is a construction agreement for the new site.  Thus, the university engaged SBA’s counsel in mid‐October to accomplish both.   Early on, the UO agreed to amend the lease to include the following provisions, which are favorable to SBA: The new tower would be taller and larger (approximately 160 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter), not only to adjust for differences in elevation and clearance at the new site, but also to accommodate an additional tenant provider; the lease would be extended for 10 additional years; and, SBA would receive a 50% reduction in rent for five years if the current tower is vacated by August 1, 2016.

Two of the four emergency or unscheduled meetings of the UO Board or committees have revolved around sports:

August 2014: Buy out Mike Gottfredson:

February 2015: Give emergency raises to Athletic Director Rob Mullens and Football Coach Mark Helfrich:

April 2015: Appoint Michael Schill as President:

Sweden played clean and lost 2021, while Oregon got in bed with with Diack, Coe, Nike


Here’s the story on the $400K in well-timed Nike and UO donations, by Saul Hubbard in the RG:

Phil Knight, Nike poured cash into Gov. Kitzhaber’s campaign coffers as he weighed request for state money for Eugene world track championship

Knight, Nike, UO officials gave nearly $400,000 to Kitzhaber in six-week period; UO says no “quid pro quo”

The 2016 session of the Oregon Legislature starts Monday. Given the news about Putin’s hush money and brown envelopes, UO lobbyist Hans Bernard has dropped UO’s plan to ask for $40M to pay for the “IAAF Family’s” hotel rooms and meals – #3 on the list of legislative priorities Bernard showed to the UO Board in December:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.17.11 PM

Instead he’s found some legislators willing to replace it with a stealth increase in the hotel tax that doesn’t mention the 2021 IAAF track meet. How’s that for transparency?

Meanwhile, the Swedes are calling out the IAAF’s Lord Sebastian Coe for refusing to fess up to the possibility that there was anything corrupt about awarding the 2021 championships to Eugene. Ian Herbert has the report in the British paper The Independent, here, complete with an interview with Camilla Nyman, chief executive of the Gothenburg tourism board:

Sebastian Coe will tell you, in that  articulate and erudite way of his, that it was perfectly acceptable to award the 2021 World Athletics Championships – his organisation’s blue riband event – to Eugene: the town synonymous with the sportswear company which until recently paid him £100,000 a year for a “social engagement” role which he has not been terribly specific about.

A new cache of emails made available through Freedom of Information legislation reveal what a catastrophe the decision was, though, and nowhere is the lack of rigour more visible than in the letter sent by the Oregon state Governor, Kate Brown, to the then International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) president, Lamine Diack, in advance of Eugene, home of Nike, getting the nod. “I give you my personal commitment to apply all my powers and means to obtain the financial and legislative support in order to provide the funding necessary for the championships’ success in Oregon,” she writes.

… So Gothenburg carried on working and planning and waited on news from an IAAF conference for national federations. It was from there, “at just before midnight” on the eve of the event, as Nyman recalls it, that she received an email from a Swedish Athletic Federation representative to say that “something is going on,” that “the rules have changed” and Eugene may be gifted it. No one at the Swedish end knows whether money or personal connections brought the sudden change in the picture. None of the Swedes we have spoken to were asked to provide brown envelopes, though the bidding process had not even started at that stage.

Within 24 hours it was being announced that Eugene had been awarded the 2021 event and that there would, indeed, be no bidding process. Gothenburg were advised by some of their associates to find lawyers to prove that the IAAF’s actions had been constitutionally illegal but they decided against it, for fear of “making enemies everywhere”, as Nyman puts it. Ironic, in the light of what we now know about Diack.

The story notes that it was this email that broke open the 2021 scandal, obtained by the RG’s Diane Dietz from UO, but only after the Lane County DA ordered UO’s Public Records Office to release it:

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 8.05.25 PM

I’m guessing UO and the UO Foundation and Track Town have a lot more of this on their servers, and perhaps those emails will come to light eventually.

Meanwhile, although Gothenburg’s politicians seem relieved to wash their hands of the IAAF, the British press and Parliament are going after IAAF President and House of Lords member Seb Coe like a hound-dog goes after a tick. Reuters reports that Coe has put out a half-assed denial of reports that he knew about the cash filled envelopes used in the bidding for the 2017 championships.

“Sebastian Coe had no actual knowledge of bribes being offered or received linked to the 2017 World Championship,” the spokesman told Reuters.

Parliament may call him back to explain what he means by “actual knowledge”.

While organizing committee for the London 2017 games is reportedly considering taking the IAAF logo off all the publicity material, fearing that guilt by association with the IAAF and Putin will cut into ticket sales, here in Oregon the politicians are saying this will be “good for our brand”. Sure.

1/24/2016: IAAF too dirty for Adidas

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