SAN JOSE — The third and last hearing for track and field athletes and coaches who competed in a series of meets in South Africa last fall will be held here today, with the participants facing indefinite suspensions.
A panel for The Athletics Congress, the national governing body for track and field, may also decide the length of the suspensions for all the individuals who participated. The length has yet to be specified.
Among the athletes requested to attend today's hearing are Carol Cady, the U.S. record-holder in the discus; John Powell, bronze medalist in the discus at the 1976 and 1984 Olympics; Ruth Wysocki, a 1984 Olympian at 800 and 1,500 meters, and James Robinson, the 1979 Pan American Games champion at 800 meters. The case of Skip Robinson, track coach at Pasadena City College, also will be heard.
In addition, two athletes who were suspended at the first hearing, in Chicago Nov. 18, will have their cases heard today. Neither long jumper Tyrus Jefferson nor pole vaulter Tom Hintnaus was able to attend the Chicago hearing.
Eleven athletes and coaches have been suspended indefinitely for participating in the tour, which went to three South African cities last October. Track and field athletes are prohibited from competing in South Africa because the country is not a member of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the sport's world governing body. South Africa was suspended from the organization in 1976 because of its official policy of racial separation.
According to Rich Nichols, a panel member, the case of Ted Banks, track coach at Riverside City College, may also be heard. Banks' case was deferred from a Dec. 15 hearing in Covina after a legal disagreement about TAC's jurisdiction over a college coach.
Four athletes from Riverside competed on the tour, and Banks is under fire from student groups at the school for his role as a tour organizer.
The fallout continues for Banks. This week, a prominent African athlete, under pressure from his government, withdrew from Riverside City College. Julius Kariuki of Kenya, the Olympic gold medalist in the steeplechase at Seoul, was reportedly told that because of Banks' participation in the South African tour, Kariuki could no longer compete for the school. Kariuki set several national junior college records at Riverside last season.
Nichols said that if time permitted, the panel would set forth the specific penalties for each participant. The sanctions are expected to vary according to the extent of the individual's participation and his knowledge of the ramifications of going to South Africa.
"The question in my mind is if the athletes understood how this would affect their Olympic eligibility," Nichols said.