Last week, we got an email from a Division I coach alerting us to a USTFCCCA proposal regarding cross-country only scholarships.
Right now, if a DI school sponsors both XC and track & field, it has a total of 12.6 men's and 18 women's scholarships to use across both sports. Schools that sponsor only cross country (and not track) have 5 men's and 6 women's scholarships to use in XC, while schools that sponsor only track & field (and not cross country), have 12.6 men's and 18 women's scholarships to use on track & field.
The proposal is to make XC and track & field scholarships separate. So each school would get 5 men's XC scholarships and 12.6 men's track & field scholarships and 6 women's XC scholarships and 18 women's track & field scholarships.
Putting a cap on the number of XC scholarships would hurt the distance-only schools. One of the reasons why schools like NAU, Portland, and Syracuse are successful is that they put most of their scholarship $$$ into distance runners. By capping them at only 5 XC scholarships, you'd be giving a lot more schools a chance to compete.
The proposal is a little tricky, however, as it's not totally clear to us if the 5 XC scholarships is a hard cap -- it might it be possible for a school to use some of its track scholarships on distance runners (since they compete on the track too) and just classify them as "track scholarships" even though those runners would also be on the XC team.
The letter says:
"We do not have a recommendation from Division I Cross Country coaches regarding a model of how to count multisport participants in Cross Country and Track & Field, but we believe there are several different models that could be employed to account for multisport participants, depending on the goals of the NCAA Division I institutional membership."
The coach told us that it is very unlikely that the 5 XC scholarships would be entirely separate from the track scholarships though as the NCAA hasn't added scholarships in ages. So the main question is whether the 5 XC scholarships number is intended as a cap to limit distance-only schools.
Anyway, we know that a lot of NCAA coaches read these boards and thought that we would post the proposal to see if we can get a discussion going. How do you guys view the proposal?