INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, February 26. AFTER a long weekend of conference calls, the NCAA has ruled on the open-lane controversy first reported on SwimmingWorldMagazine.com on Sunday.
At their respective conference championships, the Big 12 and ACC violated a provision under Rule 5 on Lanes, Seeding and Qualifying Procedures stating that "When seeding the swimmers, intentionally leaving empty lanes between them is not permitted," when seeding their relay heats.
Initially, the men's and women's Division I championship fields will be selected from the submitted times of the conferences that competed within the constraints of the no-open-lane rule. This will fill out the men's and women's field under the usual system of selection.
After this stage of selection is completed, the relay times from the Big 12 Championships and ACC Championships which took place with open lanes in violation of the open-lane rule and that are faster than the slowest time already selected in each relay will then be added.
"The committee members did a great job in handling this situation," NCAA Director of Championships Wayne Burrow said. "Our number one priority through this entire process was to make sure we did not punish the student-athletes involved – either those from the conferences that did not follow the rule, or those from the conferences that did follow the rule."
According to Burrow wince this field expansion will ultimately cost the NCAA more money to help student-athletes travel to the championships, the NCAA will meet at the women's meet to discuss a potential penalty structure for everyone involved in the decision to not follow the stated rule in the Big 12 and ACC championships.