The Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet approved a new schedule format for the 2015 and the 2016 Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships during a Feb. 10 teleconference.
The new format, endorsed unanimously by the cabinet, will allow one gender to compete on days one and three of the championships and the other gender to compete on days two and four.
The Division I Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee made the recommendation to the cabinet because it believes the schedule will improve the overall championships experience.
Committee members believe the change could result in improved media coverage of the championships by allowing each gender to have more defined stories to be told during the championships.
Committee members also believe the meet will be easier for fans to follow, and team scoring can be more easily highlighted when following one specific gender each day. Additionally, the national championship men’s and women’s teams will each have their moment of recognition because they will be crowned on separate days.
ESPN, which televises the championship, can potentially include an additional hour of coverage on its family of networks.
The committee also noted that the format provides a rest day for each gender, which could help track and field athletes perform at higher levels.
The U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association initially recommended the schedule change to the committee.
“Through collaborative efforts we now have a unique opportunity to enhance the championship experience for the student-athletes and fans as we continue to move the sport of track and field forward,” said Gina Sperry, the chair of the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee and associate athletics director at the University of Rhode Island.