NCAA Sticks with Current Outdoor T&F Post-Season Format for 2011

By Tom Lewis, USTFCCCA

June 18, 2010   

NEW ORLEANS – In meetings this week in Indianapolis, the NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet discussed and provided feedback on the outdoor track & field championships format approved by the NCAA Division I Track & Field Sport Committee and the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Dubbed the “24/8 Plan”, the cabinet reviewed research and comments from the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee on the plan and decided to send back to the sport committee for further evaluation before acting.

Read the complete NCAA release

As a result, the 2011 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships will be conducted in the same general format that was used for the first time in 2010. Preliminary rounds will be held May 26-28 at sites to be determined and final rounds will be held on June 8-11 in Des Moines, Iowa. In the coming weeks, the NCAA national office will be distributing bid information to institutions. The NCAA sport committee expects an expedited bid process to identify the two hosts for the 2011 preliminary rounds.

The NCAA Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet is expected to review the outdoor track & field postseason format for 2012 and beyond at their September cabinet meeting after receiving the additional requested feedback on the “24/8 Plan” from the NCAA Division I Track & Field Sport Committee.

The following is the complete text taken from the NCAA News release:

“[…] [T]he cabinet provided feedback on a “24/8 Plan” from the Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Committee that would possibly eliminate outdoor regional-qualifying track meets.

Most of the cabinet members supported the concept that would fix the field size for individual events at 32 participants and relay events at 24.

In the plan designed by the U.S. Track and Field Coaches and Cross Country Coaches Association, the top 24 declared individuals in each individual event would have access to the championship meet. The remaining eight participants would be the next best conference champions decided by a descending-order list.

In relays, the top 18 declared teams would have access to the event, with the next best six conference champions filling out the field. Again, that would be determined by a national descending-order list.

In recent years, track and field regional qualifying has been a topic of conversation within the cabinet. The track and field committee realizes the expenses that institutions incur with the regional-qualifying format, and it estimates that this new proposal would save $3.5-$4.2 million collectively for the membership. The committee also recognizes that the new format would result in a significant budget impact for the Association.

Research compiled from the 2007-09 outdoor championships showed that an average of 57 percent of the Division I conferences would have been represented at the NCAA meet under the new plan.

Research also showed that if a straight descending list of the top 32 individuals had been used to determine an individual event field, only 40 percent of Division I conferences would be represented at the national meet.

Cabinet members who opposed the plan were concerned about not having a more inclusive automatic-qualifying system. They believe too many conference champions would not have access to the NCAA meet. Others suggested that the new two-region model should be evaluated before eliminating [preliminary rounds].”