NCAA XC Champs Scheduled For March 15, But Hurdles Remain

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The NCAA Division I Council has approved a proposal to hold the cross country national championships on March 15, 2021, although conflicts with indoor and outdoor track and field could still stymie the plan, the NCAA announced on Wednesday.

The DI Council has green-lit moving seven fall championships, among them cross country, to the 2021 spring term, a recommendation that now transitions to the Division I Board of Directors for approval. But, as the NCAA’s release states, “there is some concern in the membership about conducting cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field in the spring term.”

The Board of Directors will be presented with the plan next week, per the release.

According to the release, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee will continue to monitor the scheduling conflict. As of now, however, a field of 255 runners per gender— a typical field size for cross country nationals— is scheduled to run at the NCAA Championships on March 15.

The championships are slated to be contested in Stillwater, Oklahoma, the original site for this fall's national meet.

The regular season leading up to the championships is penciled in right now for Jan. 30 to March 5, followed by championship selections on March 6. A selection criteria is still to be determined, but there will be no regional championships for qualifying.

Securing consensus about how and when to reschedule the postponed NCAA Division I cross country season has proved difficult among track and field and cross country coaches in the last several weeks since we reported on Aug. 31 that the executive committee had voted to hold a winter cross country season in 2021.

That vote, 21-3 in favor of a March championship, revitalized hope for a season after the NCAA canceled fall sports on Aug. 13. But pushback from those who cited the conflict with indoor track and field temporarily stalled momentum from the vote. 

But then on Sep. 9, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee recommended holding the cross country championships in March, which then sent its recommendation to the DI Council. 

The Council’s approval on Wednesday is the strongest sign yet that there will be Division I cross country in early 2021, but it is still unclear what final barriers— beyond approval from the Board of Directors— cross country must clear in order to become a reality this upcoming winter.

It is not known who exactly represents those pushing back against this plan. However, it is understandable that certain track and field coaches would see a potential cross country/indoor track scheduling conflict as a significant drawback to the rescheduled season. But competing outdoors does seem to be a more viable and safer alternative than in an indoor facility during the age of COVID-19.

Even still, Oregon head coach Robert Johnson was quoted in a Sep. 7 Oregonian article that a winter cross country season was a “non-starter” in a year that includes the Tokyo Olympics. “Too important of a year for that in the big picture,” said Johnson.

Salwa Eid Naser Avoids Whereabouts Ban Due To Apartment Snafu

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The whereabouts case brought by the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) against 400m world champion Salwa Eid Naser of Bahrain has been dropped by the World Athletics Disciplinary Tribunal after a filing failure was backdated and a missed test reversed, allowing the sprinter to avoid three whereabouts failures within a 12-month period.

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Jepchirchir & Kiplimo Take World Half Titles In Fast Races

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All Eyes On Cheptegei At Saturday's World Half Marathon Championships

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Three Big Questions Ahead Of The OSU Invitational

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In a year in which the NCAA indoor, outdoor and cross country championships have been canceled due to COVID-19, it’s safe to say that a mid-October invitational cross country meet has never been more anticipated than Saturday’s OSU Invitational in Stillwater, Oklahoma. 

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Which Of The 2020 World Records Is Best?

Joshua Cheptegei, Mondo Duplantis

For a year in which both the world indoor championships and the Olympic Games were postponed, 2020 has seen its fair share of world records. (Of course, one could argue that those events being postponed aided in world record achievement, particularly in the cases of Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey.) A season with so much history has begged a question: which among these world records is the best? 

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Michigan Pro Ekiden And Half Marathon Born Out Of Necessity

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Joshua Cheptegei Topples Bekele Again With 26:11 10,000m WR

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For the second time in less than two months, 24-year-old Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei has taken a world record from Kenenisa Bekele. After breaking Bekele’s 5,000m record on August 14 in Monaco in 12:35.37, Cheptegei on Wednesday ran 26:11.00 in Valencia, Spain, to dismantle the 26:17.53 Bekele ran in 2005.

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Letesenbet Gidey Crushes Women's 5,000m WR In 14:06.62

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22-year-old Letesenbet Gidey smashed fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba’s 5,000m world record on Wednesday night in Valencia, Spain, by running 14:06.62. Gidey, running in the NN Valencia World Record Day, took down Dibaba’s 14:11.15 mark which had stood since 2008.

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How to Watch: 2020 NN Valencia World Record Day

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The 2020 NN Valencia World Record Day starts on Oct 7, 2020 LIVE on FloTrack

Kitata Prevails As Kipchoge Falters, Kosgei Dominates In London

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