NCAA Division III Approves 10-Region Realignment Model For Cross Country
The NCAA Division III Men’s and Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country Committee, as well as the Division III Championships Committee, recently approved a 10-region realignment model for cross country that will be effective on September 1, 2021.
Gone is the old, eight-region model that lasted for at least the past 40 years. In fact, 1981 was one of the first years in which eight regions were used in NCAA Division III. The most recent iteration included the Atlantic, Central, Great Lakes, Mideast, Midwest, New England, South/Southeast and West.
Welcome the new-and-improved 10-region model, which features the East, Great Lakes, Metro, Mid-Atlantic, Mideast, Midwest, Niagara, North, South, and West.
That means the Great Lakes, Mideast, Midwest and West Regions all stuck around (albeit with new looks), while the Atlantic, Central, New England and South/Southeast were divvied up with the East, Metro, Mid-Atlantic, Niagara, North, and South all assuming new places.
Here is the reasoning behind the realignment:
Since 2007-08, both men’s and women’s cross country have grown by 30+ institutions per gender leaving some regions extremely large and some quite small. The new 10-region system evens out the number of teams per region which helps to eliminate one of the biggest obstacles we face in cross country: finding courses capable of hosting regional meets with up to 70 teams.
The 10-region model was adopted after considering several models and divides regions primarily based on state lines, with only four states split between regions (Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, and Pennsylvania). Conference affiliation was not a major factor in the regional lines and when it comes to data points for selections may provide the committee with more datapoints to consider.
Division III as a whole is undergoing a larger regional realignment with most of its larger sponsored sports (similar to cross country) increasing from eight regions to 10 so the timing of the cross country regional alignment matches up well with those other large scale changes in the Division.
Each of these 10 regions will get a workout on Saturday, November 13, when the 2021 NCAA Division III Cross Country Regional Championships are held across the nation. Championships sites have already been announced for seven of the 10 regions, while three are still up for bid (East, Metro and Midwest).
The 2021 NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships will be held one week later – Saturday, November 20 – at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park in Louisville, Kentucky.