One location, two championships

NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships TrackTown USA competition
The 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will allow each gender to have its own moment of recognition by separating men's and women's events onto different days. (TrackTown USA photo by AHM Brands)

EUGENE, Ore. – The 2015 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships will undergo a noteworthy change in its competition schedule when the four-day meet is held at historic Hayward Field this June.

In an effort to enhance fan interest, provide a clear presentation of storylines for media coverage and allow each gender to have its own moment of recognition, the NCAA Track & Field and Cross Country Committee has decided to separate the men’s and women’s events onto different days.

The concept received overwhelming support at the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association convention last December. The USTFCCCA Track and Field Executive Committee was unanimous in its endorsement and 91 percent of the Division I coaches voted in favor of the new format. The schedule change was officially approved by the NCAA Division I Championships and Sports Management Cabinet on Feb. 10.

The NCAA Championships will be held June 10-13. The new format allows one gender to compete on Wednesday and Friday of the meet and the other gender to compete on Thursday and Saturday.

The first two days of the meet will focus on critical semifinal events, plus a few key finals such as the 10,000 meters and unspecified field events. This leads into an action-packed all-final closing two days of competition – one day for the women and one day for the men – to be contested in a spectator-friendly time block. The only gender overlap will occur in the multi-events with the decathlon and heptathlon taking place on Wednesday and Thursday.

By focusing on one gender each day, officials believe the new NCAA schedule will make it easier for both media and fans to follow the developing drama of individual storylines and team championship battles, whether they are in attendance or watching the meet on TV.

The new format provides a rest day for each gender, which could allow student-athletes to perform at even higher levels. It also enables men’s and women’s teammates to attend and support each other’s events, a unique aspect of track and field.