In an attempt to bring more structure to the sport, the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel has approved a recommendation to define what constitutes a regular-season competition in men’s and women’s track and field.

Starting in 2016-17, outdoor track meets must have a minimum of nine existing track events and six field events per gender. Indoor meets must have a minimum of seven existing track events and four field events per gender. Additionally, the 55-meter dash and 55-meter hurdles can be added to the list of indoor running events.

The minimum requirement for participation is two teams, with a person representing each team in each event.

The changes, proposed by the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Rules Committee, were approved Wednesday during PROP’s scheduled conference call.

The track and field rules committee believes the sport has moved too far away from the time when almost every meet was scored. Now, the only events many teams participate in that are scored are conference or NCAA meets.

Today, many teams send different athletes to events to reach qualifying times or marks to compete in postseason meets. At most of these events, no team scores are kept.

Indoor curbing

The panel also approved a rule that requires all indoor track facilities to have curbing of suitable material on the curves of their tracks by Dec. 1, 2018. Schools also may add the curbing to their track before that date.

Currently, some facilities are using cones on the inside curves instead of suitable material such as metal piping. According to the committee, this can lead to unfair advantages in trying to attain qualifying performances.

Acceptable entries

Another rules change requires that all verifiable performances must be published online as part of full meet results and be from an NCAA verifiable reporting system.

This rule’s purpose is to disallow speculative marks. It also aims to provide guidance to the membership regarding reporting and publishing entries for a competition and for consideration of qualifying for an NCAA championship meet.

Uniforms

Another rules change for next year requires all team members, in a single day of competition, to wear uniforms clearly indicating – through color, logo and combination of all outer garments worn as a uniform – that they are from the same team.

Teams may change uniform colors from one day to another for multiple-day meets.

Also, men’s and women’s programs are considered separate teams and are not required to have uniforms of identical color.

The rules committee believes requiring teams to wear uniforms of the same color and style allows spectators, media, officials, coaches and competitors to more easily identify the competing teams and athletes of each school.

Relay participation

Another rules change in the sport makes any eligible athlete who is a member of a university’s team eligible to participate as a member of a relay team at any time during all competitions.

Rules committee members said this reflects what is currently occurring at NCAA indoor and outdoor track and field competitions throughout the year, including conference championships. A university is the entrant for a relay event; therefore, the school should be able to run any combination of eligible student-athletes on its relay team in any round at any time during all competitions.