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According to the newspaper, Kamaev said he had collected unpublished “documents, including confidential sources, regarding the development of performance enhancing drugs and medicine in sport” plus communications with the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:

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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:

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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:

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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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Pro Wrestling is now more credible than Lord Coe’s IAAF

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The UK sportswriters aren’t buying WADA dope fighter Dick Pound’s old boy argument that Seb Coe should lead the IAAF. Coe looked the other way at years of corruption by Lamine Diack and his friends, including millions in bribes from the Russians to hide drug tests. How much did they get for IAAF championships? The French are still investigating, but Coe himself was getting $150K a year from Nike. The Guardian’s Marina Hyde is particularly bemused.

As for which organization is more credible, there’s no comparison. The IAAF is a corrupt criminal enterprise, which fled from London to Monaco to avoid British law and taxation. Their reporting of corporate finances and executive compensation is minimal to non-existent. They take bribes from Vladimir Putin to cover up doping, they extort hush money from athletes, and they use political pressure to obtain government subsidies to pad their own pockets. If the IAAF comes to Eugene in 2021 they will expect UO to provide free conference space, offices, and thousands of dorm rooms, all at no charge. UO will have to cover the salaries of the UO staff helping out with the meet, and pay Vin Lananna about $3M for organizing it all. Lananna’s Track Town non-profit also wants UO to cancel a month of summer classes.

Worldwide Wrestling Entertainment, in comparison, is a publicly traded corporation with headquarters in the U.S. It is subject to U.S. law and regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, including regular audits and public financial statements. The earnings of its executives are posted on the web every quarter. The WWE has an aggressive substance abuse and drug testing policy, and there is no suggestion that WWE executives have extorted bribes from athletes to hide positive drug tests. The WWE not only funds its championships without government subsidies, it pays taxes. When the WWE comes to Knight Arena on Feb 26, they don’t expect UO to subsidize them, or pay off their executives. Instead they will pay UO for the use of the arena, helping pay off the $235M in state bonds sold to build it:

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And while the IAAF’s reputation continues to plunge, the WWE’s stock price is up about 60% over the past year:

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IAAF under attack as pressure grows on Lord Coe

The latest investigation of the IAAF’s doping problems is out. One of many stories here:

[Former IAAF President Lamine Diack] is firmly in the line of fire. The report also concluded he:

  • appeared to have created a close inner circle which functioned as “an informal illegitimate governance structure” outside the IAAF;
  • sanctioned and appeared to have had personal knowledge of the fraud and the extortion of athletes carried out by the actions of the illegitimate governance structure he put in place.

“Here it started with the president of the organisation. It involved the treasurer of the organisation. It involved the personal counsel of the president, acting on instructions of the president. It involved two of the sons of the president. It involved the director of the medical and anti-doping department of the IAAF. The corruption was embedded in the organisation. … Continued denial will simply make it more difficult to make genuine progress.”

At least one investigation of the 2019 and 2021 track championship bids is already underway. Meanwhile Track Town’s Vin Lananna and UO’s AVP for State Affairs Hans Bernard are currently lobbying the Oregon legislature to give $25M in state tax money to the corrupt IAAF, in exchange for their permission to let Eugene host their 2021 championships. Tax money will cover prizes and raft of perks for the IAAF leadership, including 5 star hotel rooms, etc. The IAAF keeps all the TV revenue.

IRS investigating Track Town? Lananna offers to spread IAAF pork

The IRS rumor is from a normally reliable source. I don’t know exactly what it’s about, and I assume that most of these investigations go nowhere, but fwiw Track Town’s recent 990 forms are here:

DOJ Track Town 990 2015DOJ Track Town 990 2014

The RG story by Diane Dietz is here:

Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 8.20.05 PM


As expected, Lananna has trimmed $15M from his $40M legislative and is promising plenty o’ pork to spread around the state:

“Eastern Oregon,” Lananna said. “You’ll be surprised.”

Actually, Malheur Lake Wildlife Refuge looks like it would be a great training facility. Lananna’s other strategy is to put the fear of California in the legislators:

Big federations, such as Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany, will be in the market for an Oregon base of operations, and they’ll land at places such as Oregon State University, Willamette University, and any other entrepreneurial town that makes a pitch.

… It’s not too early for Oregon chambers of commerce and tourist bureaus to ready their appeals for the 2021 trade, he said. “If we don’t get on this right away, they’ll be staying in California and Washington,” Lananna said.

Then there are all the spillover benefits for Nike. Whoops, I forgot Nike can’t be mentioned, sorry, I mean for uh, Ninkasi. Yeah, right, that’s the big winner from the World Track and Field Championships – craft beer:

“Somebody from Switzerland comes into Eugene and is sitting in a pub and drinks a Ninkasi — and they start talking about this back in Switzerland. Now you’re no longer talking about a local craft beer; you’re talking about a potential global product. There’s many examples of that.”

Not to mention the $5M salary spillover for Lananna.

Seriously, it all sounds great. So why won’t the winners pay for it – and for Lananna – and make the academic side whole? Here’s what the famously corrupt IAAF wants us to pay for. Sorry, it’s a long list:

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For starters, free UO staff labor, while we keep those pesky seminars and academic classes off campus:

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And that’s on top of the IAAF’s other demands:

From the IAAF website, here.

The following are the main financial obligations of the organising committee:

The Local Organising Committee (LOC) is responsible for overall management of the event budget.

• Pay prize money for the IAAF World Championships (total amount USD 7.194 million);

• Pay travel and full-board accommodation costs for the quota athletes (approximately 2,000) for a maximum of 13 nights in a 4* hotel;

• Charge not more than USD 100, per person per night, for full-board accommodation in twin rooms for additional athletes and team officials for a maximum of 13 nights;

• Pay travel and full-board accommodation costs for the IAAF Competition Delegates (approximately 55 people) and in addition travel and full-board accommodation costs of the required site visits;

• Pay travel and full-board accommodation costs for one Congress Delegate per member federation for a maximum of 15 nights (approximately 212 people);

• Charge not more than USD 100 for bed & breakfast accommodation in single rooms for members of the IAAF Family accommodated in a 4* or 5* hotel;

• Pay any related cost for national competition officials;

• Pay full-board accommodation costs for the staff of the technology partner providing timing / chip timing services, a minimum of 58 people for a minimum of 18 nights and for 2 site visits by 2 people;

• Pay full-board accommodation costs for the staff of the technology partner providing results and information services, a minimum of 37 people for a minimum of 22 nights and 2 site visits by 2 people;

• Provide free of charge networking and internet connection following specifications of IAAF and its technology partners;

• Pay at least 50% of the costs of these services provided by a company appointed by IAAF (in the event the IAAF does not have a technology partner for the timing and/or results services);

• Pay for the provision of up to 800 Commentator Information System (CIS) terminals;

• Pay accommodation costs for the competition staff of Mondo, a minimum of 4 people for 15 nights;

• Provide free-of-charge the IAAF and Dentsu with equipped offices, including fast and secure internet connection in their respective hotels and in the stadium;

• Pay the costs of a first-class event presentation including the services of the IAAF event presentation team;

• Provide free-of-charge the IAAF and Dentsu with an agreed number of VVIP and VIP tickets in the main tribune, adequate hospitality for such ticket holders and an agreed number of parking passes;

• Pay USD 50,000 towards the development costs of the accreditation system and the full-board accommodation costs for the accreditation company team (approximately 10 people for approximately of 28 nights) as well as a contribution towards the cards (i.e., USD 2.50 per card issued). Cover any expenses for the shipped accreditation equipment to clear customs and contribute to a maximum of USD 1500. Cover 50% of the travel expenses of the accreditation company staff if the event is taking place outside of Europe. In addition, pay travel and full-board accommodation costs of the required site visits. Special requests from the LOC to the accreditation company will also be at the LOC’s expense;

• Pay the organisational costs of the IAAF Congress, including the provision of:

◦ the congress centre;

◦ the technical equipment (including facilities for simultaneous translation in six languages TV production, secure networking for offices and the voting system);

◦ the office equipment;

◦ the opening ceremony and official dinner;

• Pay the organisation costs for 2 Council Meetings during the time of the championships and one before – including the provision of:

◦ the council meeting room(s);

◦ the technical equipment (including facilities for simultaneous translation in three languages, networking);

◦ the office equipment;

◦ the official dinner;

• Pay the costs of the advertising boards, advertising material and related services for the national sponsors and 50% of the cost of the gantries for the non-stadia events;

• Pay for the painting of a blue line on the course of the non-stadia events, showing the shortest possible route;

• Pay the creation and registration of trademarks or brands as requested by the IAAF / Dentsu;

• Provide a free, live TV broadcast signal (as per specifications defined by IAAF) via a host broadcaster (non-rights holder in home country) to be proposed by the LOC;

• Provide free of charge working facilities including internet connection for TV commentators and media;

• Pay any tax that the host country’s government may levy on any prize money earned by the athletes;

• Pay any and all taxes in connection with the importation, exportation, transportation, installation and customs clearance of any VIK, premiums and promotional gift items of the commercial affiliates;

• Pay the costs for doping control organisation and implementation, including blood testing pre-competition (number of samples as requested by the IAAF) and approximately 500 competition urine tests and 150 EPO or other additional special analyses (e.g., IRMS) as requested by IAAF;

• Provide appropriate medical organisation (health care and sports medicine services), as per IAAF competition medical guidelines accessible on IAAF website;

• Pay for insurance policies as required by the IAAF, inclusive of operational activities of Dentsu and IAAF commercial partners;

• Pay for the production of the bibs in case the LOC is granted the rights to commercialise the bibs.

Lananna wraps up with a little of the charm that convinced Lamine Diack to sell the 2021 games to Track Town, for our money:

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, has been publicly skeptical.

“Peter is spectacularly bright, passionate,” Lananna said. “He loves the state of Oregon. He has been supportive in the past. He’s got a lot of things that he has got to balance. I fully respect however he feels about this, and I’m hopeful and optimistic that he’ll see how good this can be for the state of Oregon.”

Lananna trips over 2021 IAAF championship tax/subsidy legislation

Jeff Manning has a long article explaining the current state of Track Town’s bid for the 2021 IAAF track championships, in the Oregonian here, I’ve posted a few snippets below.

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From the article:

Even before track and field’s international governing body was wracked by bribery and extortion allegations in November, Track Town USA’s bid for $40 million in state support was receiving a chilly reception from powerful state lawmakers. Track Town President Vin Lananna confirmed Thursday his group has pared back its agenda in the upcoming session and will seek only a lodging tax increase that is forecast to generate about $25 million for the World Championships.

While the Russians apparently paid IAAF President Lamine Diack and his son “Papa” only $1.8M to cover up drug testing results, Vin Lananna will earn about $5M by the time the IAAF championships are done. His money will come from UO, his own Track Town tax-exempt non-profit, and Nike. And it’s all legal. But of course he thinks Oregon will benefit even more than he will:

Lananna predicts the nine days of intense media attention will pay enormous dividends to Oregon’s hospitality industry. Just the “beauty shots” of Oregon alone — the short snippets of local scenery broadcasters will showcase — will raise the state’s profile with an international audience. Lananna even suggests a resulting surge in interest in running and track and field could make Oregon a healthier state.  He envisions an ambitious series of all-comer track meets catering to kids in particular to leverage off the big event.

“To get the World Championships is a great gift,” he said. “This can be a global platform for Oregon.”

A $25M tax increase for athletics is a “great gift”? Yeah, the gift that keeps on taking. Great:

Track Town also asked that the University of Oregon “accelerate construction” of new student dormitories to house the 2,000 competitors, that it find temporary housing for a media contingent expected to number 3,000 and to provide university facilities and staff for free or nominal costs.

Manning explains that Oregon Senate President Peter Courtney is less than enthusiastic, and Governor Kate Brown – who went to Monaco with Vin Lananna and the UO Foundation’s Paul Weinhold to promise $40m in state support to the IAAF and reiterated that as Governor, now doesn’t want to talk:

“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,” Brown wrote in a March 17, 2015, letter to the sport’s governing body.

But since the criminal investigation became public, Brown has remained low profile. Brown’s office now refuses to elaborate on what level of public funding she’ll support.

Who can blame her after last week’s Saul Hubbard story in the RG, which all but accused Kitzhaber of taking bribes to support the Track Town bid. State Rep Nancy Nathanson, who was supposed to write the subsidy bill, has now said that is off the table, and that if she sponsors anything “it will not be specific to helping only Track Town or the IAAF”.

Manning then goes on to ask if the UO’s administration should really be spending even more time and effort on sports, given our other problems:

The Chronicle of Higher Education on Sept. 14 ran an exhaustive piece about the UO entitled, “An Academic Reputation at Risk.” Noting the university’s chronic turnover — five presidents in six years — declining state support and “the outsized role of athletics,” the article said “Oregon often fails now to measure up to higher education’s heavy hitters.”

President Schill is a supporter of this, however:

In a long message emailed to all staffers Wednesday, Schill warned the university will proceed with a long-planned restructuring that will include some budget cuts. [UOM: Actually, cuts in some areas, increases in others.]

“Resources are too scarce and our mission too important for us to waste money in redundant administration, poorly performing programs, and lax accountability,” Schill wrote.

But the looming austerity drive does not diminish Schill’s enthusiastic support of the world championships or of UO sports in general. The international attention attracted by the world championships and the “minimal” costs to the university makes it an easy call, he said.

FWIW I’m all in favor of it too, if we can move that needle from costs to benefits, and if we really count all the costs. Including, for example, the time UO Foundation CEO Paul Weinhold has spent on this, and the time and credibility that UO’s chief state lobbyist Hans Bernard has used up on what has somehow, without any public discussion, become UO’s #3 legislative priority:

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From the December 3rd UO Board of Trustees meeting. The memo is here. This was not part of the public meeting materials, but was handed out only at the last minute. Which has sadly become the usual practice of Board Secretary Angela Wilhelms, when it comes to controversial materials.

Nike gave Kitzhaber $400K after he promised $40M subsidy to corrupt IAAF

Reporter Saul Hubbard of the Eugene Register Guard lays it all out in meticulous detail, here. You know it’s serious when VP for PR Kyle Henley sends the reporters to talk to serious people, instead of Tobin Klinger. Several UO Trustees also ponied up Kitz cash:

… Angela Wilhelms, secretary to the UO board, said, on behalf of the four trustees: “There is absolutely no correlation between personal political contributions by trustees and any decisions by Governor Kitzhaber.”

“Any insinuation of quid pro quo or any other connection is just flat wrong,” the statement said.

Well, that would be a little easier to believe if UO wasn’t stonewalling on the public records. It’s taken at least one public records order from Lane County DA Patty Perlow so far. But regardless, Hubbard has much more:

In recent weeks, TrackTown and Lananna have found themselves defending the IAAF’s April 2015 decision to award the 2021 championships to Eugene without a formal bidding process, after the IAAF awarded the 2019 event to Doha. French police are investigating alleged bribery in the IAAF, and the Eugene award itself. The revelation that Sebastian Coe, the new IAAF president, had been for years receiveing undisclosed annual payments of $150,000 from Nike, a potential conflict-of-interest, have sent shockwaves through the sport.

… On Oct. 30, the 42-day total of donations from Nike and its leaders and the four UO Trustees had reached $387,500 — roughly 8 percent of all Kitzhaber contributions during the 2013-14 election cycle.

By Nov. 14, Kitzhaber, who by then had won his re-election campaign, recorded his video message for the TrackTown bid presentation in Monaco.

In it, he used almost word-for-word the phrasing TrackTown had previously sent him. From his ceremonial Capitol office, Kitzhaber said: “I plan to support specific, bipartisan legislation that I believe will generate as much as $40 million to directly support the championships.”

It’s amazing what you can get for $400K these days. Here’s Kitzhaber promising $40M:

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Back it up to see new Oregon Governor Kate Brown in Monaco, introducing Kitzhaber and his pledge.

IAAF’s Seb Coe didn’t know Nike was helping with Hayward Field tart-up?

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Sara Germano has the latest wildly improbable claim from Lord Coe in the WSJ here:

Nike Inc. has pledged $13.5 million toward renovations of track and field facilities at the University of Oregon, part of an upgrade that would facilitate the venue’s hosting of the 2021 World Track & Field championships.

The world’s largest sportswear maker said it has granted the first of two installments of $6.75 million to the University of Oregon Foundation, a nonprofit organization overseeing renovations to the school’s Hayward Field.

… Jackie Brock-Doyle, a spokeswoman for IAAF President Sebastian Coe, said neither the IAAF nor Mr. Coe were aware that Nike was a leading source of private funding for the stadium project. She said the stadium renovation wasn’t considered part of Eugene’s bid.

Mr. Coe, a two-time Olympic champion runner for Great Britain, was vice president of the IAAF from 2007 until his appointment as president in September. He simultaneously had served as a consultant to Nike from 2013 until November 2015, when he resigned his role as a Nike ambassador.

So does this mean Vin Lananna and Hans Bernard are going to abandon their efforts to lobby the legislature into paying for this latest athletic circus? That would be good.

In other Coe news, he’s worried about how old his fans are getting. From the Guardian:

“My vision is to have a sport that attracts more young people. The average age of those watching track and field is 55. This is not sustainable,” Coe said.

“The key to making that vision a reality is creating a sport that people once more trust in. Athletics must be a sport that athletes, fans, sponsors, media and parents alike know is safe to compete in on a level playing field and one in which clean effort is rewarded and celebrated.”

More here:

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Oregon legislators back off subsidizing Lord Coe’s corrupt IAAF

1/4/2016: Rumor down at the faculty club is that the legislators are backing away from the IAAF only bill, and instead preparing to load it up with pork for the rest of the state too, in hopes of buying the necessary 3/5 majority.

12/31/2015: Olympic Decathlete Ashton Eaton to lobby legislature for sports subsidies

Why doesn’t UO’s AVP for State Affairs Hans Bernard spend his time doing his job lobbying for academic support for UO, and leave the jock stuff to the well-paid Vin Lananna and his crew? Bernard is even working on bringing Olympic decathlete Ashton Eaton to the capitol for the February media event, at which UO plans to unveil its $40M ask to the state legislature. Or is it the UO Foundation that’s going to make the ask? Or Track Town? It’s all very murky – fortunately a lot of reporters are now digging into it.

Apparently the IAAF’s “Lord Coe” won’t be able to make this event – Parliament still has a few questions for him – and the French police still have Lamine Diack’s passport. Maybe Coe could send his chief of staff and PR expert Nick Davies to represent him? Oh, right, that really didn’t look good, did it. Still, it’s not like Coe himself took money from the Russians. What? You’re kidding – Nike and the Russians both financed Coe’s campaign for the IAAF presidency?

And we’re supposed to believe that this shiny expensive distraction is not going to affect the legislature’s support for UO’s academic mission? To quote former Interim President Scott Coltrane, when he was finally told what Track Town was demanding from UO’s academic side in terms of free office and meeting space, new dorm rooms, and cancelled classes, Yikes!

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Work Plan: They seem to be behind on a lot of this, but Track Town has a brown bag with Governor Kate Brown and meetings with legislators coming up Jan 13-15:

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“More than a whiff of scandal” around IAAF bid

From an editorial in the Bend Bulletin over UO’s plan to hit up the legislature for more athletic subsidies, here:

… There’s also more than a whiff of scandal around the meet. The controversy centers on the no-bid award that gave Eugene the right to host the games. It involves Nike, Sebastian Coe, Vin Lananna of the private nonprofit Track Town USA and, naturally, money and influence. The French are investigating the award and the possibility of bribery or other irregularities.

Of course, it would be lovely to have the IAAF meet in Eugene. But Oregon has real financial problems, and neither a lodging tax increase nor the world’s largest track meet will change that. Lawmakers should just not do it.

EcoNorthwest says Eugene will get $80M economic impact from IAAF

Whoops, that’s what the Russian economists said Moscow would get from the 2013 IAAF championships:

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8 billion TV viewers? World population is 7 billion.

For Eugene, EcoNorthwest’s prediction is 600% higher – for a $568M “total output contribution” and the equivalent of 2,608 full-year job equivalents. All that from a 10 day-long track meet? [See footnote.]

Let’s generously assume that 1/2 these jobs are construction jobs that really are full-time, full-year, while the rest of the jobs are full-time hotel, restaurant, etc that last for 2 weeks. That would mean the prediction is for 13*1304 = 16,952 short-term customer service type jobs (or the equivalent in overtime for current employees). This is for an event with a max of 30,000 spectators. So the estimate is that this will create more than one full-time job for every two spectators for the duration of the event. That seems high. (And perhaps 1/3 of the spectators will be Eugene residents who won’t use hotels, and who will reduce their spending on other local events, restaurants, etc. to be able to afford the tickets).

And Track Town has apparently got UO to give it the right to shut down UO summer classes for a month. That and the high housing costs will chase off a lot of students, many for the whole summer. Lots of countervailing job and income losses there, all of which are ignored in the ECONorthwest consulting report that Track Town will use to lobby the legislature, here:

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For what it’s worth I’m all in favor of bringing this IAAF championship to Eugene – but not at any price.


Footnote: The 2,608 job number is measured in full-year job equivalents. The IMPLAN software breaks these job estimates out by full-time and part-time, but EcoNorthwest does not report that breakout in their draft report. It probably doesn’t matter much, at least according to this reference:

“The estimated change in economic activity should be assessed relative to overall economic activity. Results should be reasonable and be able to assist the audience understand the contribution of the conservation expenditures to overall economic activity. IMPLAN defines a “job year” as the amount of labor needed for one year’s work. Job estimates coming directly out of IMPLAN represent both full and part-time jobs. It is possible to convert to full time equivalent jobs using a FTE conversion table from the IMPLAN Web site; typical conversions have run between .90 and .92 FTEs for NRCS analyses.”

“Lord Coe” to visit Oregon, lobby Gov Brown and legislature for IAAF subsidies

Update: Diane Dietz reports Track Town’s Vin Lananna will ask the state to double the hotel tax, to pay the IAAF’s demands. In the RG here:

The forecast budget includes state tax dollars to pay for:

$7.2 million for prizes

$14 million to host the broadcast

$9 million for accommodations

$6 million for the festival outside the event gates

$4 million to add seating to Hayward Field

$5 million for security

The 2016 Oregon Legislature would have to approve the expenditure, and the governor would have to sign off, too.

UO pays Lananna $450K, Track Town pays him another $335K, and he gets another $30K or so direct from Nike, or so he told the NCAA. Actually he got a little confused about the difference between an amount and a percentage – but whatever, Rob Mullens signed off on it anyway:

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Fortunately UO’s got a strong Code of Ethics, which covers Lananna’s behavior.

12/29/2015: Or that was the plan in November:

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But given Seb Coe’s current problems,

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I’ll go out on limb and predict he’s not going to show for this January 13th meeting in Salem:

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NY Times calls for rebid on Lananna’s deal with IAAF for Eugene 2021

A long opinion piece, here:

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Reopening the bidding process would also allow further public scrutiny of Nike and its role in Eugene’s candidacy: welcome in light of the new I.A.A.F. president Sebastian Coe’s longstanding commercial ties to the company that he only recently severed; welcome, too, in light of Lananna’s connections even if Lananna says that Nike, based in nearby Beaverton, played no formal role in the bid.

Eriksson wants a full accounting of 2021, preferably from the French police. No evidence has surfaced publicly that Diack’s interest in and connection to Eugene was corrupt. But the process, even if it proves free of corruption, was flawed, and with Coe and the I.A.A.F. scrambling to institute internal reforms and external oversight, allowing a process like Eugene 2021 to stand seems badly out of tune with the times. Why clean house and skip a room?

It’s hard to see how a do-over can be avoided, if Seb Coe is going to keep claiming he’s trying to clean up the IAAF. And his future hangs on that claim.

Meanwhile Lananna still has not shown UO President Mike Schill what UO will be required to do and pay for, in exchange for the privilege of hosting these games.

A rebid means a public debate about what the games are really worth to the state, the university, Nike, and boosters like Lananna – and who should pay to get those benefits. The UO Board of Trustees, the UO Foundation, the UO Public Records Office, and former Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber have done everything they could to avoid having those questions addressed in public.

Register Guard reporter Diane Dietz has done everything she could to bring the hidden deals out into the open. My money is on Dietz and a rebid.