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Expanded exchange zones approved in track and field

New rule aligns NCAA with international standards

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel on Wednesday approved expanding the exchange zones to 30 meters in men’s and women’s track and field sprint relay races. The change is effective as of the 2018-19 academic year.

In the 4x100 meters and the 4x200 meters, each exchange zone will be 30 meters long. For the sprint medley relays, the first exchange zone will be 30 meters.

The new rule aligns NCAA track and field rules with those implemented by the International Association of Athletics Federations and USA Track and Field.

Previously, NCAA meets used a 10-meter acceleration area followed by a 20-meter exchange zone in sprint relays.

Uniform rule

The panel approved a rule that all members of teams must wear the same uniforms, starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

Uniforms must be the same primary color and have the same school logo on each day of competition.

If single-color body suits are worn, it must be the primary color of the team and have the same school logo of the top garment as the rest of the team on any given day.

If an athlete is found to be noncompliant with the rule, he or she will not be able to compete in an event until they meet the uniform policy.

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Rules Committee believes it should be easy to distinguish which team everyone represents during track meets. Committee members also received similar feedback via a national survey of track coaches.

The committee didn’t want to disqualify athletes who violate this proposed rule, but the committee also wants to make it clear that competition will not be delayed for athletes who break the rule.

Field event time limits

The panel approved reducing the time limit for athletes to initiate their attempt in field events. Athletes competing in jumping and throwing events will have 30 seconds after being introduced to initiate their event. Previously, competitors were allowed one minute to initiate competition.

Pole vaulters will still have one minute to initiate their attempts.

NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Rules Committee members believe this new rule will improve the overall pace of track meets. This new rule also aligns with IAAF and USA Track and Field standards.

Starting blocks

IAAF-approved start information systems can now be used to detect illegal starts in sprint races.