Skeets Nehemiah, the 49er rookie bent on protecting his world hurdling records whether or not there is NFL football to engage his July-to-January athletic pursuits, gained permission yesterday from The Athletics Congress to compete as an amateur in U.S. track and field events.
The decision in Philadelphia by a panel from TAC, this country's governing body for track and field, "is applicable only to domestic competition" and "will stand unless it is overturned on appeal to the board of governors," said Richard Hollander, Richmond attorney who chairs TAC's national board of review. Nehemiah's attorney, Ron Stanko, said the former Maryland athlete, who has two pro games under his belt as a San Francisco wide receiver, aims to enter as many indoor meets as he can this winter. As for his hopes to realize in 1984 the Olympic opportunity he lost in the 1980 U.S. boycott of Moscow, TAC will apply to the International Amateur Athletics Federation for similar clearance.
"Certainly," said Frank Greenberg, secretary of TAC's Middle Atlantic region, Nehemiah's eligibility "is going to be questioned . . . When he goes to compete (internationally), the Soviet Union and its allies are going to say he's not eligible to run."
But, "It's an area of changing philosophies," Greenberg noted (e.g., Jim Thorpe's medals).