The tipping point. That single moment where a single idea crosses a single threshold, and spreads like wildfire. What will be Track and Field’s tipping point? Can it be the events that took place this past weekend at USA Indoors, wronging Gabriele Grunewald?

If you aren’t aware of what happened, I’m sure there are many media sources that can explain far better than I can. But let me make an analogy.

The Seattle Seahawks are playing the New York Giants. The Giants score as time expires to win, but the Seahawks don’t like the call and challenge the play. The call on the field stands, but the Seahawks decide to challenge it again. This isn’t allowed in football but just go with me here. The call still stands, as it should since these trained replay officials got it right after the first review. But wait – the Seattle Seahawks in this fictitious scenario are also the chief sponsor of the NFL Commissioner’s office! They challenge the call again, and wouldn’t you know it, it got overturned! Game over, Seahawks win.

Does anyone see anything wrong with the above scenario? Why do we allow USATF to operate in a manner that would be completely out of bounds in any major sport?

These same conversations have been around for years, and they are great. But it gets to a point where conversation isn’t enough. Businesses in America operate for one reason and one reason only. To make money. USATF is a business (despite my doubts). USATF is not going to make decisions based on what is morally correct; they are going to make decisions to make money. Athletes and fans need to financially force them to change, not wait around for things to get better.

The early adopters have been in place and been outspoken. The Will Leer’s, the Adam Nelson’s, the Nick Symmonds’ of the Track and Field world. But this isn’t enough. We need the early majority. We need athletes. We need the fans.

Athletes need a strong union that is willing to take risks – together. Challenge the setup of track and field. Brainstorm ways to attract fans. Stand up for athletes rights. Don’t be afraid to hold out. To all the Nike athletes that are afraid to challenge the status quo because you don’t want to lose your safety, do me a favor. Ask Nick Symmonds how safe he felt after his world silver. Ask Leo Manzano how safe he felt after his Olympic silver. Now go back and look at your mantel. Still feel safe?

Fans, who are bright enough to complain about the sport, aren’t doing enough to force it to change. Don’t accept low quality and ask for more, refuse low quality and demand more.

USATF is operating in the most profitable way they can right now. They know the athletes will continue to perform for them. They have a small loyal fan base that apparently they have no interest in growing, but they know they won’t lose. Those two things are fixed. The only variable is how much they can please Nike year to year. Make them cater to their product and fans. Force a change – financially. Stop accepting this.