The NCAA D1 Board of Directors announced earlier today that they have approved plans to hold fall championships in the spring. For cross country, this means that the NCAA XC Championships will be held on March 15th with the first official date of competition taking place on January 23rd.
However, based on a September 16th announcement from the NCAA, there is "some concern in the membership about conducting cross country, indoor track and field, and outdoor track and field in the spring term."
It is still unclear what additional steps may be needed in order for a winter cross country season to happen (if any) and there is still potential for Division I conferences to opt out of the 2021 winter cross country season.
As detailed in the release, the plan for these championship meets were developed by the Division I Competition Oversight Committee in conjunction with their respective sports committees.
The field size for the NCAA XC Championships will remain at 255 total runners per gender. The first practice can take place at "institutional discretion". The selection process for the NCAA Championships will take place on March 6th, but according to a September 17th report from Flotrack, there will be "no regional championships for qualifying".
The approval of a NCAA winter cross country season now leaves many fans and participants of the sport questioning the status of the 2021 indoor track season which, at the moment, has not yet been cancelled. In that same September 17th report, Flotrack noted that there has been "push-back" in regards to a winter cross country season.
Should the 2021 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships go on as planned, it would take place just two days prior to the recently approved NCAA XC Championships.