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USA Track & Field coach Vin Lananna placed on 'administrative leave'

Associate Athletic Director Vin Lananna congragulates the UO Ducks mens relay team after their victory in the 4x400 meter relay. Photo by August Frank, Oregon News Lab

EUGENE, Ore. - The board of USA Track and Field placed Vice Chairman Vin Lananna on administriative leave Sunday "in a step taken to help eliminate potential conflict of interest concerns as the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates the bids for several international athletic championship."

USATF said "media reports of a federal investigation into the awarding of the 2021 World Championships are confirmed, and that TrackTown USA and its president, Mr. Lananna, were initially contacted by federal law enforcement months ago."

“USATF has no reason to believe TrackTown and/or Mr. Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation,” USATF board chair Steve Miller said in the statement. “But to avoid any conflict or appearance of conflict of interest in relation to the investigation, the board voted to place Mr. Lananna on temporary administrative leave until the Department of Justice investigation pertaining to TrackTown and the 2021 World Championships is resolved.”

Lananna coached track and field at the University of Oregon and serves as president of TrackTown USA, the organization that brought the USATF Olympic Trials back to Hayward Field in 2008, 2012 and 2016. In 2015, the organization succeeded in securing the 2021 IAAF World Championship for Eugene, the largest sporting event of its kind outside of the Summer Olympics.

That selection process apparently got caught up in a sweeping probe of international sports.

"USATF has encouraged both TrackTown and Mr. Lananna to continue cooperating truthfully with the DOJ investigation," Although USATF has not been approached by the Department of Justice in its investigation, USATF will reach out to DOJ to offer its commitment to cooperate fully."

Read the complete press release from USATF

In a step taken to help eliminate potential conflict of interest concerns as the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigates the bids for several international athletic championships, the USATF board of directors on Sunday placed USATF President and board Vice Chairman Vin Lananna on temporary administrative leave.
In accordance with Article 10F of the USATF bylaws, the board selected Michael Conley to temporarily serve as president and vice chair. The 1992 Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump, Conley currently is chairman of the USATF High Performance division and formerly was USATF’s Executive Director of Elite Athlete Programs.
In the last 10 days USATF has learned that media reports of a federal investigation into the awarding of the 2021 World Championships are confirmed, and that TrackTown USA and its president, Mr. Lananna, were initially contacted by federal law enforcement months ago.
“USATF has no reason to believe TrackTown and/or Mr. Lananna have done anything wrong and understand that they have been told that they are not a target of the investigation,” USATF board chair Steve Miller said. “But to avoid any conflict or appearance of conflict of interest in relation to the investigation, the board voted to place Mr. Lananna on temporary administrative leave until the Department of Justice investigation pertaining to TrackTown and the 2021 World Championships is resolved.”
The longtime president of TrackTown USA, Lananna led Eugene’s bid efforts when the city was awarded the World Championships in 2015. Running unopposed, he was elected president of USATF by acclamation in 2016 and since that time has served as president of both organizations.
USATF has encouraged both TrackTown and Mr. Lananna to continue cooperating truthfully with the DOJ investigation. Although USATF has not been approached by the Department of Justice in its investigation, USATF will reach out to DOJ to offer its commitment to cooperate fully.
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