The Warm-Up Lap: News and Notes (Feb. 28)
NEW ORLEANS – Conference championships are largely now in the books and NCAA Championships weekend awaits next weekend, but in the meantime a significant number of student-athletes in Divisions I and III will be striving for one last chance to post an NCAA qualifying mark.
A dozen or so schools around the country will be hosting "final qualifier" or "last chance" meets to give student-athletes a final opportunity to qualify for or strengthen their position for the NCAA Championships. The qualifying window for both the DI and DIII Indoor Championships close Saturday.
Important NCAA Indoor Championship Dates
|Mar. 2||DI, DIII Qualifying Windows Close|
|Mar. 3||DI Final Qualifying List Posted|
|Mar. 4||DIII Field Announcement|
|DI Field Announcement|
|DII Start Lists Announced|
|Pre-Championships Rankings – ALL DIVISIONS|
|Mar. 5||DIII Start Lists Announced|
|DI Medical Scratches Due|
|Mar. 6||DI Start Lists Announced|
|Mar. 8-9||DI NCAA Indoor Championships|
|Mar. 7-9||DII NCAA Indoor Championships|
|Mar. 8-9||DIII NCAA Indoor Championships|
In Division I this weekend takes on an entirely different meaning than in years past due to new changes to the qualifying procedures to the meet. While in the past automatic and provisional qualifying marks were used to select championships fields, all guidelines have been removed this season – leaving just the top 16 performers in individual events and the top 12 relay teams eligible for championships competition in Fayetteville, Ark. No more, no fewer.
DIII uses a similar system in which only a select number of individuals and relay teams qualify to compete at the DIII Championships in Naperville, Ill. The standards are a bit stricter, as individual men’s events will be contested by fields of 13, and women’s individual events will have 15. Relay events for both genders will feature 10 teams.
Meanwhile in Division II the qualifying window for NCAA Championships has closed and the qualifiers have been announced. Two-time defending champion No. 2 Grand Valley State leads all women’s teams with 23 entries to the meet, while No. 3 Saint Augustine’s secured the most men’s entries with 18. Updated National Team Computer Rankings based on NCAA qualifiers will be released Monday.
The first "last chance " day for those DI and DIII student-athletes jockeying for championship qualification positioning will be Friday with eight meets around the nation either beginning or taking place. Division I schools hosting one-day final qualifiers Friday include Arkansas, LSU, Northern Iowa, Washington and Wisconsin, while Columbia and Notre Dame begin two-day competitions. Division III Carthage will host a one-day Friday meet, and DII Tiffin kicks off a two-day meet Friday.
Those athletes competing Friday will 1.) hope they post a strong enough mark to secure a qualifying spot and 2.) hope they can keep it after the second last-chance day on Saturday.
In addition to those two-day meets concluding Saturday, Iowa State and Virginia Tech will play host to final qualifiers. UW-Stevens Point will be the lone DIII institution hosting a one-day Saturday final qualifier.
A pair of DIII conference championship meets – the MIAC and the NCAC – will also take place this weekend.
Should any student-athletes be tied at the outer edge of the fixed fields, tie-breakers are in place to determine which will compete at the Indoor Championships. If two or more student-athletes’ best marks are tied, the tie will be broken by the best second-best qualifying mark, and then the third-best and so on should ties still exist. However unlikely it may be for most events, should the progression of qualifying marks from best to worst for the student-athletes in question be identical, the process will repeat taking into account the date each time/mark was recorded, with preference given to those set closer to the indoor championships. A coin toss will be the final determination should the student-athletes in question still be tied after the lengthy tie-break process.
News and Notes
NAIA Indoor Championships Underway
The 48th annual men’s and 33rd annual women’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Indoor Track & Field Championships will take place at the SPIRE Institute from Feb. 28 to March 2. More than 130 programs will be represented and the meet will be streamed live and free for the first time. For a preview of the meet and for more information: https://bit.ly/XFwuit
Olympic Sprinter, NFL Player Jeff Demps Wishes to Return to Track
Former Florida Gator and four-time NCAA Champion Jeff Demps has informed the New England Patriots that he wishes to return to track & field while still playing football. Demps signed with the Patriots shortly after claiming a silver medal at the Olympics as a member of the 4×100 relay team. The Patriots have not announced as of yet their stance on the issue. Full story, via NESN.com, here: https://bit.ly/XIPnhg
Will the Danger of Football Increase the Popularity of Track & Field?
In the wake of studies exploring football-related brain damage, members of the track & field and cross country community and others discuss the topic in a Marquette Tribune article: https://bit.ly/XdaKed
John McDonnell Biography To Be Published
An autobiography by legendary Arkansas coach John McDonnell will be published by the University of Arkansas Press and available March 1. The book, co-written by McDonnell and Andrew Maloney, "tells the story of the McDonnell’s life and legacy, from his childhood growing up on a farm in 1940s County Mayo, Ireland, to his own running career, to the beginnings of his life as a coach, to all the great athletes he mentored along the way," per the official description. https://bit.ly/ZLX24x