GPS Watches
10/21/2021 9:56:28 AM
Admin
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1047
Did anybody else get confused at first with the email from GHSA we got yesterday? I initially read it as GPS watches are legal in XC races as long as you don't receive calls or texts from a coach. But then it was pointed out to me that it says you can't receive info from a "third party" either which I assume means you can't receive GPS data about your pace. Anyway, I thought it was a confusing email from GHSA yesterday and I'm guessing I'm not the only one who was confused by it? Hopefully not or I'll feel a little dumber than normal.
Did anybody else get confused at first with the email from GHSA we got yesterday? I initially read it as GPS watches are legal in XC races as long as you don't receive calls or texts from a coach. But then it was pointed out to me that it says you can't receive info from a "third party" either which I assume means you can't receive GPS data about your pace.

Anyway, I thought it was a confusing email from GHSA yesterday and I'm guessing I'm not the only one who was confused by it? Hopefully not or I'll feel a little dumber than normal.
10/21/2021 10:01:52 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 455
Felt the same way, also I don't understand the rule, every watch now has a GPS unless you buy an old school Timex.
Felt the same way, also I don't understand the rule, every watch now has a GPS unless you buy an old school Timex.
10/21/2021 10:02:02 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 455
Felt the same way, also I don't understand the rule, every watch now has a GPS unless you buy an old school Timex.
Felt the same way, also I don't understand the rule, every watch now has a GPS unless you buy an old school Timex.
10/21/2021 10:05:38 AM
Coach
Joined: May 2019
Posts: 20
@spxcoachrm I thought it meant you could wear a GPS watch, but cant receive messages on it from like a coach or someone, which could give the runner information on team scoring and position.
@spxcoachrm I thought it meant you could wear a GPS watch, but cant receive messages on it from like a coach or someone, which could give the runner information on team scoring and position.
10/21/2021 10:44:18 AM
User
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 654
I'll maybe take some credit (or blame) for this one. In the original Coaches Handbook, it stated that "Use of wristwatches with GPS capability during competition is ILLEGAL. The penalty for this violation is DISQUALIFICATION." As it used to be written before today's change, if an athlete used a GPS watch to simply see what time it is during a race or just uses the stopwatch function (with no GPS), they were disqualified. I asked the GHSA to clarify with the T&F/XC Committee, and they sent the 2019 NFHS pre-meet notes/points of emphasis reference that was e-mailed to coaches today (which was very helpful). I asked a follow up question on Friday "Are GPS satellites considered a 'third-party'?" and have not yet gotten a response, but am hopeful I'll hear back. When I asked my initial question, the GHSA rep wanted to talk to the T&F/XC Committee and do some research before answering, which I very much appreciate. For reference, a previous paragraph in those 2019 points of emphasis mentions biometric data and receiving data from other "mechanisms" that seem to indicate (to me, anyway) that using the GPS function is illegal. But, it's hard to say that with any certainty. For what it's worth, my two cents is that GPS usage during XC races is actually a hindrance unless the course has no turns, no tree cover, no clouds, with great satellite reception, etc 2019 Points of Emphasis can be found [url=https://www.mshsaa.org/resources/pdf/19T&FPOE.pdf]here[/url].
I'll maybe take some credit (or blame) for this one. In the original Coaches Handbook, it stated that "Use of wristwatches with GPS capability during competition is ILLEGAL. The penalty for this violation is DISQUALIFICATION." As it used to be written before today's change, if an athlete used a GPS watch to simply see what time it is during a race or just uses the stopwatch function (with no GPS), they were disqualified. I asked the GHSA to clarify with the T&F/XC Committee, and they sent the 2019 NFHS pre-meet notes/points of emphasis reference that was e-mailed to coaches today (which was very helpful). I asked a follow up question on Friday "Are GPS satellites considered a 'third-party'?" and have not yet gotten a response, but am hopeful I'll hear back. When I asked my initial question, the GHSA rep wanted to talk to the T&F/XC Committee and do some research before answering, which I very much appreciate.

For reference, a previous paragraph in those 2019 points of emphasis mentions biometric data and receiving data from other "mechanisms" that seem to indicate (to me, anyway) that using the GPS function is illegal. But, it's hard to say that with any certainty.

For what it's worth, my two cents is that GPS usage during XC races is actually a hindrance unless the course has no turns, no tree cover, no clouds, with great satellite reception, etc

2019 Points of Emphasis can be found here.
10/21/2021 11:32:43 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 169
The biometric functions part is interesting as well...for instance, having heart rate information but not using the GPS function. Regardless, I agree that the pace information provided by a watch or worrying about heart rate information is a hindrance during a race as short as a 5k. I'll continue to advise my kids to not wear them, but an interesting discussion regardless.
The biometric functions part is interesting as well...for instance, having heart rate information but not using the GPS function.

Regardless, I agree that the pace information provided by a watch or worrying about heart rate information is a hindrance during a race as short as a 5k. I'll continue to advise my kids to not wear them, but an interesting discussion regardless.
10/21/2021 11:35:08 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 61
So, as of right now...we can assume that wearing a GPS is legal...unless a meet official discerns you are getting information from a "Third Party". So we need to determine what a "Third Party" is?
So, as of right now...we can assume that wearing a GPS is legal...unless a meet official discerns you are getting information from a "Third Party". So we need to determine what a "Third Party" is?
10/21/2021 11:37:08 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 7
Does this go in effect now ? or is it for the State meet ?
Does this go in effect now ? or is it for the State meet ?
10/21/2021 11:52:16 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 251
@Sorrells28 Since there appears to be no appeal process for when a meet official discerns that an athlete has received info from a 3rd party, it seems very risky to wear a GPS watch in a meet. I don't want an honest mistake by an official to lead to a DQ that can't be overturned on appeal.
@Sorrells28
Since there appears to be no appeal process for when a meet official discerns that an athlete has received info from a 3rd party, it seems very risky to wear a GPS watch in a meet. I don't want an honest mistake by an official to lead to a DQ that can't be overturned on appeal.
10/22/2021 9:38:07 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 26
My only confusion is the "third party". At least if there is questioning of a text/information from a coach or parent being received, that is easy to check due to time stamps from calls/texts. If a race starts at 9:00 and a kid gets a call or text anytime after that, it is easy to DQ. How would others handle this if it occurred?
My only confusion is the "third party". At least if there is questioning of a text/information from a coach or parent being received, that is easy to check due to time stamps from calls/texts. If a race starts at 9:00 and a kid gets a call or text anytime after that, it is easy to DQ. How would others handle this if it occurred?
10/22/2021 10:07:18 AM
Power User
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 819
@Coach_Sparks91 I'm handling this by having my runners not wear a watch at all.
@Coach_Sparks91

I'm handling this by having my runners not wear a watch at all.
10/22/2021 10:07:37 AM
Power User
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 819
@Coach_Sparks91 I'm handling this by having my runners not wear a watch at all.
@Coach_Sparks91

I'm handling this by having my runners not wear a watch at all.
10/22/2021 10:29:15 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 26
@coachac I was talking in a meet manager/official setting. I am in the same boat of not racing with a watch. At this point, time is irrelevant looking at region and state.
@coachac

I was talking in a meet manager/official setting. I am in the same boat of not racing with a watch. At this point, time is irrelevant looking at region and state.
10/22/2021 10:36:08 AM
Power User
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 819
@Coach_Sparks91 Got it. Sorry for the confusion! This is going to be a super hard rule to enforce. Are meet officials going to check the watch of every kid who looks at their watch during the race? And if it is discretionary on the part of the official, what constitutes them "checking" the watch?
@Coach_Sparks91

Got it. Sorry for the confusion! This is going to be a super hard rule to enforce. Are meet officials going to check the watch of every kid who looks at their watch during the race? And if it is discretionary on the part of the official, what constitutes them "checking" the watch?
10/22/2021 11:04:36 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 26
@Sorrells28 We got confirmation that a "third party" is anyone not a coach. Info from GPS and heart rate are legal, but received text/calls from a coach or anyone else can cause a DQ. Enforcing this is going to be a nightmare and going on honesty from kids/coaches. I could see it being an issue with parents more than coaches due to not knowing the rule.
@Sorrells28

We got confirmation that a "third party" is anyone not a coach. Info from GPS and heart rate are legal, but received text/calls from a coach or anyone else can cause a DQ.

Enforcing this is going to be a nightmare and going on honesty from kids/coaches. I could see it being an issue with parents more than coaches due to not knowing the rule.
10/22/2021 11:06:04 AM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 26
@coachac I feel that the only way they can check a kid would be if it is brought to them that an athlete was receiving information during a meet. Thoughts?
@coachac

I feel that the only way they can check a kid would be if it is brought to them that an athlete was receiving information during a meet. Thoughts?
10/22/2021 2:58:08 PM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Jul 2018
Posts: 61
@Coach_Sparks91 Curious...just for clarification...Does Garmin make a product that can recieve text and/or phone call without being linked by bluetooth to a smart phone. I know that the iwatch can do that if it has a cell service provider connected directly to it. Otherwise it can only do that function if it is within range via bluetooth to the iphone that it is connected to. I have a Garmin that is connected via bluetooth to my iphone that allows some information to be exchanged...but let me tell me you if a kid is willing to run with the iphone and the Garmin to receive updated race information is really working hard core to cheat. And what exactly is the information the coach would tell the athlete...run faster...you are not in first place or they are catching you! I know it sounds sarcastic, but I am looking for feedback.
@Coach_Sparks91

Curious...just for clarification...Does Garmin make a product that can recieve text and/or phone call without being linked by bluetooth to a smart phone. I know that the iwatch can do that if it has a cell service provider connected directly to it. Otherwise it can only do that function if it is within range via bluetooth to the iphone that it is connected to. I have a Garmin that is connected via bluetooth to my iphone that allows some information to be exchanged...but let me tell me you if a kid is willing to run with the iphone and the Garmin to receive updated race information is really working hard core to cheat. And what exactly is the information the coach would tell the athlete...run faster...you are not in first place or they are catching you!

I know it sounds sarcastic, but I am looking for feedback.
10/25/2021 6:09:01 PM
Coach
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 121
I asked GHSA when the rule change came out. This is the response that I received: Good morning, After conferring with my advisory group, the National Federation XC/T&F coordinator and Dr. Hines, we all agree that the GPS watch offers no perceptible competitive advantage and the task of policing wearable technology is exhaustive for our officials. However, communication with the watch or any wearable technology will be reason for disqualification. Thank you, Tanya Anderson/GHSA
I asked GHSA when the rule change came out. This is the response that I received:

Good morning,
After conferring with my advisory group, the National Federation XC/T&F
coordinator and Dr. Hines, we all agree that the GPS watch offers no
perceptible competitive advantage and the task of policing wearable
technology is exhaustive for our officials. However, communication with
the watch or any wearable technology will be reason for
disqualification.
Thank you,
Tanya Anderson/GHSA
10/25/2021 8:06:27 PM
User
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 654
[quote=WayneCounty] we all agree that the GPS watch offers no perceptible competitive advantage and the task of policing wearable technology is exhaustive for our officials. However, communication with the watch or any wearable technology will be reason for disqualification.[/quote] So, if I read this right, GPS watches and using the GPS function is legal. Communication via the watch with another person or living being is illegal. Am I reading that right?
WayneCounty wrote:
we all agree that the GPS watch offers no perceptible competitive advantage and the task of policing wearable technology is exhaustive for our officials. However, communication with the watch or any wearable technology will be reason for disqualification.


So, if I read this right, GPS watches and using the GPS function is legal. Communication via the watch with another person or living being is illegal. Am I reading that right?
10/27/2021 8:58:22 AM
Admin
SUBSCRIBER
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 1047
So if I’m understanding this correctly, kids can run gps apps on their watches. But, if an opponent is wearing an Apple Watch and I text them what place they’re in while they’re racing they get DQ’d? In theory we could sabotage our opponents right?
So if I'm understanding this correctly, kids can run gps apps on their watches. But, if an opponent is wearing an Apple Watch and I text them what place they're in while they're racing they get DQ'd? In theory we could sabotage our opponents right?

You must be logged in to comment.

Click Here to Log In.