|Eligibility vs. Qualification|
Think you’re one of the nation’s best? Want to find out? USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships are your chance. No matter what discipline you compete in, National Championships offer you the venue to go head to head with other elite athletes in your sport.
Eligibility has nothing to do with results and rankings. Simply put, to be eligible to race at USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships you must be enrolled as a full-time student at your school during the time of your event, and you must be in good financial, academic, and disciplinary standing. Additionally, you need to meet any race participation requirements for your discipline. On the road, for example, you must have contested a minimum of three mass start Category A races to be eligible. For the exact rules on eligibility, see the Collegiate Rulebook, section 7I1.
Qualification, on the other hand, refers to whether you have earned one of the spots allocated to your conference for that national championship event. Not everyone who is eligible can qualify, and qualification is based on team standings and individual rankings. The number of qualifiers depends on the size of the conference, and the exact qualifying rules vary by conference, discipline, and event. This applies only to the National road race, criterium, cross country, and short track events. For all others, no qualification is necessary to attend Nationals.
In order to be eligible for competition in any discipline, you first need to prove that you are a full-time student at your school. Just fill out this form and have it signed by your registrar and bring it with you to packet pick-up at the event. After that, things get a little more specific.
In order to compete in the Collegiate class at BMX National Championships, a rider must simply hold either a USA Cycling Collegiate or USA BMX license.
Road Eligibility [7I7]
In order to compete in the Road Race or Criterium at Road Nationals, you must have raced in three Category A mass-start races during the conference season.
To compete in the TTT, you must have done two Category A races (of any kind) during the conference season. This means that if you’re a B, but have participated in two Category A TTT’s throughout the season, you can go to Nationals and race the TTT.
Track Eligibility [7I8]
To compete in a mass-start race at Track Nationals, all you need is proof that you have competed in two mass-start track events, to compete in the individual races you need proof that you competed in one track event. Additionally, you must have competed in one conference event if your conference held a track season and if participation in that season is required in your conference (ask your conference director). Participation is not requisite in all conferences, so just because your conference held a season does not mean you had to have competed in it in order to qualify. Always make sure to check the specific rules for your conference.
The only exception to this is the Points Race and Scratch Race. To compete in the points or scratch races you must be at least a track Category 3 or a collegiate track Category A rider.
Mountain Bike Eligibility [7I9]
To compete in the Endurance Races at a Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championship, you need to have competed as a category A Rider in three conference mass start endurance races that season.
To compete in the 4X or Dual Slalom, you must have competed as a category A rider in three conference gravity races that season.
To compete in the Downhill Race, you must have competed as a Category A rider in three conference gravity races that season, and at least two of those races must have been downhill races.
Cyclocross Eligibility [7I10]
To compete at the Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships, you must be at least a USAC Cyclocross Category 3 or Collegiate Cyclocross Category A rider. Additionally, some conferences require participation in the conference season. Please check with your Conference Director.
Qualifying is not quite always as straightforward as eligibility. In order to earn one of the start spots that’s been allocated to your conference, you must qualify either as a team or an individual, which means getting results. Every conference determines qualifications differently, so check with your team president and/or conference director to find out exactly how you can qualify in your conference.
Just as an example, this is how the WCCC determined which riders qualified for Road Nationals in 2011 (a fairly typical example of the process):
TEAM: The first placed team gets six starts spots in the road race and four in the crit. The second through fifth placed teams each get four start spots in the road race and three in the crit.
INDIVIDUAL: The five highest-ranked individuals not on one of the qualifying teams qualify for the road race and the top four individuals qualify for the criterium, as well.
At the end of the season, once you have participated in the appropriate number of races and qualified, your conference director will mark you as eligible and qualified in the USA Cycling Online Registration system, and you can register for the event.
This Article Updated August 4, 2016
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