2022 Fairness Policy

The Great American Cross Country Festival is a school-to-school competitive cross-country running event. High school teams MUST be a member of their state high school association. Any high school team that seeks to be considered for participation in the event must complete the Team Registration page.

Festival Goals

Great American has the goals to provide:

  1. High school cross country teams an opportunity to experience the pageantry, competition, spectator interest, and media attention of a major sporting event;
  2. High level team competition and athletic excellence;
  3. Learning and educational opportunities for teams, athletes and coaches; and
  4. Opportunities for a diverse group of high school athletes from all regions of the country to gather and share meaningful experiences.

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Great American Principles

The following values are integral to the philosophy of the festival.

  1. All teams who are members of their state's primary high school athletic association are treated equally and fairly. That is, the team must be able to compete it its state's primary state cross country championship.
  2. The festival is conducted at the highest possible standards of organization, sportsmanship, and rule compliance.
  3. Team, individual and geographic diversity will be encouraged and celebrated in the festival.
  4. The sharing of knowledge, experiences and cultural differences from all regions of the country provides a unique learning opportunity for all participants.
  5. The state championship of each participating school in the festival is the pinnacle of the team's season.

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Entry Deadline

All Participating teams must accept their Invitations and pay all required entry fees by September 26, 2022 (normal deadline date) or, at the latest, September 27, 2022 (accompanied by late fees).

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Clarification of Policy for Teams Outside 500 Mile Radius of Cary, NC

These states are partially or entirely outside the 500 mile radius of Cary, NC and will require interested teams from those states to acknowledge the potential waiving of travel expense reimbursement during the entry process:

  • Alabama (partial)
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont

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Final Participants

All teams will be added to the required list of participating schools for state and national sanctions on September 28, 2022. Sanctioned teams, who pay entry fees by the final deadline, and submit team rosters as required, will be allowed to participate in the meet. Only those schools who are members of their state high school athletic associations will be allowed to compete.

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Final Team Rosters

Team rosters must be submitted on the Great American web site no later than 11 am on September 29, 2022.

All Rosters received by 11 am will be posted on our race web site. No rosters will be accepted by facsimile or any means other than via online entry. Teams failing to submit rosters by the 11 am deadline will be removed from the competition. All team rosters must be race specific and must name 7 runners for each designated race. No general rosters for entire schools will be accepted.

Changes to rosters must be made in person by the coach at the Packet Pick-up Area at registration all day Friday, September 30, 2022.

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Elite individuals are accepted into our Race of Champions. Other individuals will be accepted into the Seeded Invitational Race or other races. Cross country times from 2021 and outdoor track times from 2021-22 are used to determine eligibility of all interested individuals.

Individuals seeking participation must be members of a high school team and must be sanctioned by their respective state. All such individuals must complete an individual entry online. The individual's school must be a member of that state's primary high school athletic association.

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Great American's sanction for 2022 will be submitted in July 2022.

All high school teams participating in high school races must be fully sanctioned to compete in the high school races. Teams are sanctioned by their respective state high school athletic associations, which are members of the National Federation of High School Athletic Associations.

The sanctioning process for all invited teams originates from the host school in the Spring. All invited states are listed on the National Federation Interstate Competition Form. The Form includes this Policy Statement, the dates of the festival, awards and other information related to the event. The sanction form is submitted to the host state, which approves the form and then forwards such form to the National Federation, which then distributes the form to each invited state association. Each state association reviews the sanction form and either denies participation or approves participation of its member schools. Each state forwards its sanction form back to the National Federation.

Once the National Federation receives responses from all states, a final approval of the event is sent to the host State. This generally occurs 30 days before the event. The National Federation will post on its web site sanction approval by each state association as it is received.

Teams should review sanction guidelines with their state association before acceptance of Invitations. Any questions from state associations or federations should be immediately referred to the meet director.

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Non-Member Schools

Great American does now require schools to be members of a state high school association. Therefore, non-member schools are no longer allowed to participate.

For the purpose of this section, a Member School is defined as any high school that is a member of a state high school athletic association or federation, and such association or federation is a member of the National Federation of State High School Athletic Associations. All other schools are considered non-member schools.

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Significance of Great American

Great American was created to provide an educational experience for a highly diverse make-up of teams from every region of the United States. The success of Great American attracts teams from approximately 30 states and many eventual state championship teams. However, the event is not a championship competition in any form. To prevent the perception of an event that is national in scope, the following steps have been taken by the Festival.

  • Great American does not participate with or in any national rankings nor does it share information with any national ranking service.
  • There will be no play-off, or qualifying rounds to gain entry into any Great American race.
  • The Festival will be held in the early part of the high school cross-country season, rather than at the end of the season.
  • The Festival will be held before all state championships.
  • No race will be promoted as a championship race.

In summary of these points, a win in Great American means nothing more than a win on that day, among the teams in your race.

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The Great American Cross Country Festival is committed to equal and fair treatment of all teams. No preferential treatment shall be extended to any team, individual participant or coach.

Participating teams traveling to Great American and located in states which are 500 or more miles from Cary, North Carolina cannot reasonably travel to the Festival without extended loss of school time or unfair travel requirements. Therefore, The Great American Cross Country Festival may provide Travel Assistance to one or more teams located in a state outside of a 500-mile travel radius of Cary, North Carolina.

The amount of the Travel Assistance to Invited teams located more than 500 miles from Cary, NC is $500 per team of 7 runners and one coach. The Festival must approve any reimbursement in writing before the travel arrangements are made.

The Festival Travel Committee may make certain adjustments to this policy to assist disadvantaged teams from lower income areas and teams from very small communities with limited opportunities for travel. Any variance from this policy shall require approval by the state high school association of a school.

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Refer to Awards page

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Entry Fees

Refer to Entry Information page

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Non-Profit Corporation

The National Scholastic Athletics Foundation, Inc. is 501 (c) .3, publicly supported non-profit corporation. All income associated with the Great American Cross Country Festival goes directly into the event.

Entry fees cover less than 30% of the cost of the event. All entry fees are used for awards, event set-up, event entertainment, professional timing services, course rental fees, bus shuttle service, sanctions and other direct expenses.

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National Scholastic Athletics Foundation


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