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Bumbalough's DQ: one word versus another

Bumbalough's DQ: one word versus another
I drove into work Monday morning thinking about the events that took place at this past weekend's USATF Indoor Championships. Obviously, Gabe Grunewald's DQ stole the show in terms of headlines from the event. But all of a sudden I thought, what happened to Andrew Bumbalough?

With all the talk from the Grunewald debacle it, seemed as though everyone forgot about 
Bumbalough's mysterious DQ. Along with the lack of explanation, the reports about the Alberto Salazar / Jerry Schumacher conflict after the men's 3k made me what to know more. Truth be told, I hadn't watched the men's 3k on Saturday due to my attendence of the Michigan HS Indoor State Champs in Mount Pleasant, MI. I shot "Bumbi" an email to do an interview and he later spoke with Mitch Kastoff. The interview is below:

Before talking to Bumbalough, Mitch and I watched the whole race, but specifically, from 2k on where the "interference" occurred. We saw nothing. Bumbalough was not involved in any contact at all. You could argue his decrease in speed caused Ryan Hill to make contact with Galen Rupp as Rupp tried to go around, but guess what: that's racing at 5,000 feet. Someone may go out at sub-7:50 pace and fade.

After the interview went up, there were a few more reports that came out citing quotes from the Bumbalough interview and echoing the fact that no wrong doing had been done. Becca Gillespie Peter, a very active member in the track and field community and founder of polevaultpower.com, started a post on the Facebook group "USATF Certified Officials." Dexter McCloud, the secretary of the USATF Athlete Advisory Committee, responded as I've seen him do numerous times when Becca posts questions around heated topics regarding the USATF's decision making. 

After offering Becca a chance to shadow him to the USATF Outdoor Championships to "get a up close and personal view of the shit we go through to put on a championship meet," McCould made some calls to get clarification of the Bumbalough DQ. Here's what he said:

"Okay Becca Gillespy Peter - I called around and got the answer for myself:

The runner was DQed for "interference". The officials were already conferring about whether the athletes actions warranted a disqualification. AT THE SAME TIME, a protest was filed. So, apparently, at least two people saw something objectionable.

That being said, the athlete was disqualified and the athletes COACH was IMMEDIATELY informed. The coach was told that he had the right to appeal. He DECLINED his option to appeal."

Becca email this to me along along with a few other media sources. With McCloud being connected to the USATF, this is the closest thing to an "official" statement that we've seen. I forwarded the message to Bumbalough to verify the events that took place after the race regarding the DQ. Here's his response via email after reading the message:

"The statement below is not accurate. My coaches and I left the track about an hour after the race, after I had done a 20+ min cool-down and stretched. The building was nearly empty by the time we left. At no point, were we made aware of my disqualification. Upon returning to the hotel, Lopez Lomong said that he had heard that I had been disqualified. A Nike representative also confirmed that, yes, I had been DQed.

My coaches went back over to the track to find out why there was a DQ. (Obviously, well past the conclusion of my race.) They met with the head meet referee who was very adamant that I had looked over, made contact, and intentionally impeded Rupp. During this discussion there was no video evidence presented by USATF to verify the reason for the DQ. The meet referee also told them that the window for an appeal had passed and thus nothing could be done.

My coaches, still having not seen a tape, went back to the hotel to watch the replay. Upon watching the replay, they were both astounded that there was absolutely no point in the race in which contact was made, and thus no infraction had occurred. There was nothing that could be done within USATF rules to file an appeal to a jury because the window had closed.


Andrew Bumbalough"

Bumbalough emailed me soon after to add:

"My coaches met with the head referee again the next day and he was still very adamant that the right call was made and was not willing to show them the video that was used to determine the DQ."

It's great that the Grunewald situation was set right, by Jordan Hasay we should note, but many still await an explanation of the men's 3k decision.

Note: The Wall Street Journal wrote, "The USATF said that Grunewald's reinstatement was separate from Hasay's withdrawal." Oddly enough, that's not the picture the USATF painted with their initial release about the reinstatement.

As Bumbalough expressed, it's not about where he finished, it's about how the process was handled and how a decision was made. It was reported by Jon Gugala that Bumbalough's agent has put in a request to the USATF for an explanation of the events, but not word on a response.

So after all that has taken place over the past few days, we are still lacking transparency. We are still missing an answer. The track and field community looks forward to a response.

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