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Uniform rule recommended in track and field

Participants will not be allowed to race until they are compliant with the rule

The NCAA Men’s and Women’s Track and Field Rules Committee has recommended all members of teams must wear the same uniforms, starting in the 2018-19 academic year.

The committee, which met last week in Indianapolis, has proposed that the uniforms must be the same primary color and have the same school logo on any 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.

Committee members believe it should be easy to distinguish which team everyone represents during track meets. Committee members also received similar feedback via a survey of track coaches from around the country.

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

“If the event is set to go off at 1 o’clock, and you’re not compliant, then you aren’t competing in that event,” said Dan Rose, committee chair and associate athletics director at Coast Guard. “The success of this uniform rule will be shared governance between coaches and meet management.”

All track and field rules proposals must be approved by the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which will discuss potential rules changes in track and field on Aug. 15.

Exchange zones

Committee members proposed expanding the exchange zones in sprint relay races to 30 meters.

If passed, the rule will align NCAA track and field rules with those implemented by the International Association of Athletics Federations and USA Track and Field.

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

Field event time limits

The committee proposed reducing the time limit for athletes to initiate their attempt. If passed, athletes competing in jumping and throwing events will have 30 seconds after being introduced to initiate their field events. Currently, competitors are allowed one minute to initiate competition.

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

Committee members believe this proposal will improve the overall pace of track meets.

Starting blocks

IAAF-approved start information systems were added to the rules book as an apparatus that can be used to detect illegal starts in sprint races.

Verified marks

The committee thoroughly discussed proposing a rule that would require verifiable entry performances be published through an online NCAA reporting system.

Some of the concerns about implementing such a rule include the unintended effects on incoming freshman athletes, injured athletes and distance runners who would have to be entered with a “no mark” performance until a verifiable current season performance is established. This could lead to inequitable competition due to student-athletes not being seeded properly.

The committee plans to keep discussing this issue in the future in hope of finding a solution to the complicated topic.