Canadian track and cross-country runner jordan macintosh of Thunder Bay, Ont., says he is “heartbroken” his dream of competing at the NCAA championships has been “taken away” after his school, Portland State University, failed to field enough athletes this season, making the college senior ineligible for post -season competition.
In an Instagram post Thursday, Mcintosh shared details of—and crushing disappointment in—his disqualification from the upcoming NCAA Championships, a situation he said was the fault of his coaches and “completely” out of his control.
“For as long as I can remember, my dream in running has always been to qualify for the NCAA Championships and become an All-American,” wrote Macintosh, who last year finished fourth in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Canadian track and field trials . “This season, I was heading into the West Regional Championships ranked 8th, with the top 12 athletes qualifying from the West out of every event.”
The 23-year-old wrote that while qualifying for the NCAA Championships is “by no means a guarantee to anyone,” his odds “were high and I was ready to fight for an All-American honor in my last collegiate season after having proven myself to be one of the fastest steeplechasers in the West.”
But, continued Macintosh, “that opportunity has been taken away from me. Due to my school, Portland State, not having fulfilled an NCAA requirement of racing 14 men at 8 track meets during the school year, I have been deemed by the NCAA to be ineligible for the post-season.”
That, he said, is a situation completely out of his control, and one “that my coaches are supposed to keep track of and comply with. The NCAA is punishing my coach for not complying, but by doing so they are only punishing me.”
Macintosh said he could have accepted not qualifying for the NCAA Championships had he not performed well at the regional championship. “That I can live with. However, the end of my college running career has been determined by someone else.”
He ended the post by appealing to the NCAA to reconsider his postseason eligibility.
“I am sad, angry, and all around confused as to why the NCAA, who prides themselves on opportunities for student-athletes, would punish one athlete for the (in)actions of a program. I have worked for years to achieve my dreams in this sport and to not have it end on my terms is heartbreaking. I beg the NCAA to reconsider.”
Macintosh’s call for the NCAA to revisit its decision has quickly gained traction online. Jamie Zamrin, president of the Big Sky Conference Student-Athlete Advisory Committee representing student-athletes from Northwestern 10 member schools including Portland State, posted a statement calling for the NCAA to reconsider its decision.
“Big Sky SAAC strongly urges the NCAA to reconsider its decision regarding the participation of Jordan Macintosh in the NCAA West Regional,” reads the statement, signed with the logos of the committee’s 10 member schools.
“As Big Sky SAAC, we insist that the NCAA holds the program accountable for the violation, rather than punishing the athlete.”
The statement was also shared by the official Instagram accounts of the Portland State SAAC and the Northern Colorado SAAC with the hashtag #letjordanrun.
Macintosh, a past Big Sky Conference Athlete of the Week, holds Portland State cross-country records in the 6,000m (17:58.7) and the 10,000m (29:06.3). He also holds the school’s indoor records in the mile (4:04:28) and the 3,000m (8:07.94).