EUGENE, Ore. – On June 25, history will be made in the sport of track and field.
By all accounts, for the first time ever, there will be a professional athlete draft to populate the rosters of four U.S. teams – representing the cities of Portland, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City – that will compete in the inaugural TrackTown Summer Series on July 29 at Hayward Field.
Each squad will carry 36 athletes on its roster, split evenly between men and women, with competitors battling for prize money and additional benefits in excess of a half-million dollars.
The TrackTown Summer Series, which will be televised live on ESPN, is designed to provide top American track and field athletes with a unique opportunity to compete on U.S. soil during the summer months.
So, how will the athlete draft work?
Interested participants must first register for the draft online at TrackTownSummerSeries.com. Athletes with college eligibility remaining are not permitted to enter the draft and will not be selected to compete. The deadline to apply is June 15. Athletes will be notified by June 17 that their draft application has been accepted.
Once the pool of athletes has been established, there will be a random drawing to determine the order of the “serpentine” draft. The team with the historic first pick will choose one male and one female athlete, and the next three teams will follow suit. At the conclusion of the first round, the order will be reversed, and the team with the last pick gets to make the first choice of the second round.
To wit: Team A, Team B, Team C, Team D … Team D, Team C, Team B, Team A … and so on through eight rounds.
At this point, each team will have 16 athletes on its roster, eight men and eight women. The remaining 20 athletes for each team will be selected via free agency.
Besides being a part of history, and taking part in a fun and innovative draft, there is a financial incentive for athletes to compete in the TrackTown Summer Series:
- Cash bonuses will be awarded to athletes chosen in each round of the draft; the higher the round, the higher the bonus.
- Athletes will be provided a travel stipend, housing, meals and transportation to the meet.
- Approximately $11,000 in prize money will be awarded per event per gender, for a total purse of $225,000. Additionally, the winning team will earn a bonus.
Clearly, the time is right to launch the TrackTown Summer Series. Organizers plan to expand the Series to two regional meets and one championship meet in 2017, and four regional meets and one championship meet in 2018.
Only one questions remains: Who will be the first pick of the historic TrackTown Summer Series athlete draft on June 25?