In an attempt to bring more structure to the sport, the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Rules Committee has made a recommendation to define what constitutes a regular-season competition.
Committee members, who met last week in Indianapolis, proposed that official outdoor track meets must have a minimum of nine existing track events and six field events. Indoor meet requirements were recommended to be seven existing track events and four field events.
The minimum requirement for participation is two teams, with a person representing each team in each event.
All rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which is scheduled to discuss track and field rules changes July 20 via teleconference.
Many of the committee members believe that their 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.
“This has been a topic for four years,” said John McNichols, committee chair and head men’s cross country and track and field coach at Indiana State University. “It is time to try to reel it in and create some boundaries. We want our membership to have a clearer understanding of what is expected during one of our competitions. We want people who go to track meets, whether it is in Maine or Southern California, to basically see the same thing.”
The committee recommended that all indoor track facilities be required to have curbing of suitable material on the curves of their tracks by Dec. 1, 2018. Schools can also 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.
“Indoor tracks have generated a lot of discussion and complaints,” McNichols said. “As long as there are those strong feelings among the membership, we need to narrow things down and make the requirement that the times are being earned on an apples-to-apples basis.”
The committee recommended that all verifiable performances will be those that have been published online as part of full meet results and are from an NCAA verifiable reporting system.
This proposal’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.
Committee members voted that on any single day of competition, all team members must 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 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.
The committee recommended that any eligible athlete who is a member of a university’s team is eligible to participate as a member of a relay team at any time during all competitions.
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.
John Weaver, the director of track and field and cross country at Appalachian State University, will be the committee’s next chair, effective Sept. 1.