BREAKING: Mile Voted To Replace 1500 At NCAA Outdoor Championships

So I was wrong. The mile could be coming back to the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time since 1975 after all.

Today the coaches at the USTFCCCA convention in San Antonio voted 221-169 in favor of swapping the 1500 for the mile. The vote is still subject to NCAA approval.

Today's vote will now head off for approval by the NCAA Track and Field/ Cross Country Rules Committee, which does not meet until this upcoming summer. This means that a formal switch to the mile definitely will not take place in 2016. But it could be coming as soon as 2017.

“It will not go in place this year. It has to go through NCAA process. It could, depending on actions taken by the appropriate committees in the NCAA be instituted for next year,” USTFCCCA CEO Sam Seemes said. Seemes notes that the proposal will also have to wind through the NCAA Division 1 Track and Field/ Cross Country Sport Committee.

“The first indication of whether you’ll see the mile be a primary event for 2017, you’ll probably see that mid- to late-summer because that’s when those committees meet," said Seemes.

He offered no estimation on whether or not today's vote means for sure that the switch from the 1500 to the mile is likely to happen, saying that, "it would be a total guess." However, Seemes says, "I think that the fact that the coaches supported it strongly is a big factor of the chances of it moving forward."

He cites the coaches support of last year's change of competition days split between the genders as an example of the Sport Committee moving quickly on a vote like the one passed today in San Antonio.

Yesterday I wrote that I didn’t think the voters at the annual convention would swap out the 1500 —the metric mile used for all international competition— for the mile since the IAAF doesn’t accept mile times for Olympic qualifying purposes. But with the change being implemented at the earliest in 2017, this wouldn't be an issue until 2020, and by that point the IAAF may take mile times for OG qualification since they started accepting them for the World Championships in 2015. And as Seemes points out, the number of athletes at the NCAA level that this would affect (since only 3 athletes have hit the IAAF standard in the 1500 during NCAA competition since 2010) is so small that it isn't a huge factor in the change.

"YouÂ’re talking about a minute number it would affect even if it never went through. I think that it's such a small number that it's inconsequential."

This entire effort was spearheaded by Southern Utah head coach Eric Houle, who laid out the proposal for an NCAA Outdoor return to a distance that America recognizes and can relate to. Houle cited “a decline in interest in Track and Field over the last 30-40 years,” as the primary reason to make the change after 40 years with the 1500.

“Everyone has run a mile, for time, at some point in their life,” Houle wrote ahead of today’s vote.

Seemes echoed a similar sentiment: "there has a been a feeling that the mile is something that the American public can relate to more than the 1500 meters. Just from a marketing standpoint, from an understanding the sport standpoint, I think that was one side of it.”

The tally was 221-169 in favor of the mile, with 17 voters abstaining. Back in 2011 when this topic was brought to the table by Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry, the count was 47-214 with 8 abstentions according to BBTM. The point of contention four years ago was that the mile was not being accepted by the IAAF for World Championship qualification, but that changed in 2015 with the governing body allowing mile times for the first time.

The mile is also taken as a qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Trials, but it is not for the Olympic Games, which is why I wrote that opinion yesterday. But it passed, and now the NCAA Outdoor Championships could soon join its indoor counterpart by contesting the mile. But it's not all high-fives and back slaps to everyone. 

Some aren't exactly loving the idea of a switch away from the 1500. 

Syracuse All-American Justyn Knight, who is Canadian, wondered why the NCAA would move away from a distance that is raced internationally:

Two-time NCAA 1500 champion and current Nike pro Mac Fleet also wasn't loving a possible return to the mile, as he jokingly tweeted this response:

Former Dartmouth star Ben True, who represented Team USA at this summer's IAAF World Championships and runs professionally for Saucony, clearly doesn't agree with the concept that the mile is a productive switch for the NCAA:

2015 NCAA 1500 champion Chad Noelle of Oklahoma State shared a similar line of thinking to what I presented yesterday:

Admittedly, it would be odd for the NCAA to race a separate distance from the standard 1500 used for international (and national) competition. While any attempt to make the sport more attractive for the masses is undoubtably a direction to support, I'm not clear how much, if at all, a switch to the mile will accomplish this goal. The mile certainly is more widespread and known across the U.S. than the 1500, there's no debate there, but it also makes sense to stay at the distance that is raced in the Olympics and World Championships despite any potential gains of an audience. Plus, as shown above, several athletes are against the change, showing just how divisive this issue could become. 

The Best Of AAU Track & Field To Watch During Quarantine

Stuck at home looking for sports to watch? FloTrack has you covered with thousands of videos from years of AAU Track & Field competition. Checkout the links below to rewatch AAU Junior Olympic Games replays as well as some of the exclusive video profiles on AAU athletes. Don't forget to download the FloSports apps to watch on the big screen!

Which Round-Number Barriers Will Fall Next?

Track and field, like all sports, is hibernating at the moment, giving plenty of room for idle thoughts. The present situation is dire, but I’ve tried to periodically distract myself with what the running world will look like when the racing resumes. One concept that’s always been interesting to me is round number records. The most famous of which, the four-minute mile, is run with such regularity now that its significance is lessened with each passing decade. Instead, I’m looking at that next set of barriers that help usher in a new digit to an event. 

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

True Crime Doc On Nike Racing Shoes Coming To Netflix


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

Fans of Netflix’s true crime hit Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness have been captivated by the colorful characters, shady dealings and blood-thirsty nature of the big cat industry. The story of eccentric zookeeper Joe Exotic and his various animal associates has enthralled millions across the globe with its revelations of a murder-for-hire plot, copious polygamy, the rumor of a husband fed to a tiger and one dangling eyebrow piercing. 

A Possible Explanation For Britney Spears' "5.97 100m" Post

Last Thursday, Britney Spears of all people gave quarantined track fans some much needed entertainment: the 38-year-old Toxic singer (Toxic is the best Britney song, this isn’t up for debate) claimed, in a confusing and since-deleted Instagram post, that she ran 100 meters in 5.97 seconds.

IOC Sets New Dates For The 2021 Olympics


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

New dates have officially been set for the postponed Olympics. The 2021 Games will be held July 23-August 8, 2021.

How To Watch Track & Field During Quarantine This Week (3/30-4/05)

If you're as bummed out by all the COVID-19 cancelations as we are, you're in luck, because FloTrack is going to do something about it! FloTrack, and the entire FloSports network, have a plan to continue bringing high-quality, relevant and timely content to subscribers and fans while showcasing our incredible archive of live sporting event broadcasts.

Three More Diamond League Meetings Postponed

(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Rescheduling Olympic Games Like "A Huge Jigsaw Puzzle" Says Bach

It's like the classic question in physics: What happens when an unstoppable force collides with an immovable object?

Watch Matthew Boling's 10.20 100m

Matthew Boling's magnificent showing at the 2019 Texas Relays was a highlight of his incredible senior year. Here's his wind-aided 10.20 100m victory. 

The Very Abbreviated 2020 Track And Field Awards

Even without the Olympics, track and field in some form may still happen in 2020. But given how difficult containing the coronavirus has proven to be, that is not a guarantee even with several months before certain Diamond League meets are set to be contested. And now that the biggest event on the calendar has been postponed, many athletes may choose to throw in the towel on 2020 in order to preserve themselves for next year. As such, it is entirely possible we’ve seen the last of track and field this season.

Unlock this article, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In