There is good news emerging for local collegiate cross-country athletes. In the wake of the NCAA Cross Country Championships being canceled in the fall due to the pandemic, according to FloTrack, a proposal has emerged to hold a shortened season from January to mid-March 2021.

The NCAA executive committee, comprised of at least two dozen coaches, recently voted 21-3 in favor of a winter cross-country season, a source said. The proposal now transitions to the championship committee, who will decide whether to adopt the alternative schedule. Unfortunately, for now, the proposal does not include Division II or III of the NCAA.

A new proposal has emerged to hold a shortened NCAA cross-country season from January to mid-March 2021. Valley News/RunnerSpace photo

Though no formal dates have been set, Monday, March 15, and Tuesday, March 16, have emerged as potential dates for the rescheduling of the Division 1 – NCAA Cross Country Championships. The regular season and qualifying window for nationals would run from Jan. 16 to March 5. The qualifying criteria has yet to be established, but a task force is in place to determine how teams will advance to NCAAs.

One potential roadblock, aside from the pandemic, is that such a revised schedule would conflict with the indoor track and field season. According to one source, student athletes would not be able to compete in both cross-country and indoor track, with the latter typically hosting its national championships around the same dates as those currently proposed for cross-country.

Such a schedule not only hinges on the championship committee’s decision, but also on a 50% participation rate from the Division 1 institutions, per the same source. If less than that number agree to compete in a winter cross-country season, the championships would not be held.

For more information on the NCAA Division 1 cross-country proposal, visit http://www.ncaa.com.

JP Raineri can be reached by email at sports@reedermedia.com.