The pathway project was commissioned by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Collegiate Advisory Council, which is comprised of nine  athletics directors and one commissioner from the autonomy conferences, to identify and remove impediments faced by elite student-athletes who are personally developing, training and competing both collegiately and internationally. 

The council believes Olympic and Paralympic sports on campus thrive when national team student-athletes can pursue both their academic and athletic dreams. 

NCAA Legislative Reforms: 
More than 300 national team athletes, coaches and National Governing Body administrators identified key impediments and worked with compliance leaders to develop NCAA legislative remedies. The legislation was drafted collectively by the USOPC Legislative Task Force (named in the “resources” section) and the NCAA and supported by the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council, in order to help national team student-athletes who are often trying to self-manage conflicts related to scheduling, training and finances. These issues are further complicated by policies and practices that do not address international sport structures, quadrennial calendars, Olympic and Paralympic qualification requirements, and elevated financial demands.

Unanimously approved by the NCAA Division I Council and Board of Directors on January 23, 2020, the  legislation was designed to clearly identify the senior-level national team student-athletes and extend flexibility allowing these elite athletes to reach their potential, which helps the student-athlete, collegiate programs and ultimately the sport. This legislation does not compromise the integrity of existing academic policies and precludes missing class for additional training. The legislation is nimble to allow student-athletes to customize their training, provide easier access to elite developmental resources, and encourage collaboration across the USOPC, schools and national teams.

Individuals designated by the USOPC and the sport-affiliated NGB (or the international equivalent, if a non-U.S citizen) as an elite athlete may utilize the following legislation:

Compliance officers wishing to help an international student-athlete determine if they may be eligible for these reforms can access the international evaluation form in the resources section below.  

The USOPC and NGBs collaborate annually to identify athletes participating on senior-level national teams. For 2020, the USOPC has currently identified 179 current student-athletes, representing 63 different institutions that are simultaneously competing for Team USA and their collegiate institution.  

These individuals are eligible to receive the rights and services granted (access to USOPC resources as designated by their national team status, unrestricted training, etc.) under the NCAA legislation from Jan. 23-Aug. 31, 2020. The USOPC will seek an update in August to identify current national team student-athletes who may use this NCAA exception for the 2020-21 academic year. The USOPC anticipates this number will be larger in non-Games years, as rosters tend to be more focused and smaller during a Games-year. Below is a table outlining collegiate-centric sports and the number of current student-athletes on Team USA, number of institutions impacted, and each NGB’s definition of “elite” status for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year.  
 
Sport Current Team USA
Student Athletes
Institutions
Impacted
2020 Roster Scope Description

Baseball

0 0 Olympic qualifying team
Basketball 0 0 2017-20 U.S. women’s player pool; 2019-20 U.S. men’s national team roster
Biathlon
0 0 2019-20 U.S. national teams
Diving
*15 9 High performance squad top tiers
Equestrian
0 0 U.S. national team roster
Fencing 8 5 Athletes with a U.S. ranking of No. 8 or better and have a mathematical chance of qualifying for Tokyo
Field Hockey
2 2 U.S. women’s national team roster
Golf
0 0 Top 15 world-ranked U.S. men and women
Gymnastics
*9 8 U.S. women’s senior national artistic gymnastics team; U.S. men’s senior national artistic gymnastics team
Ice Hockey
5 5 U.S. women's 2020 IIHF world championships roster
Paralympic Sports
10 9 U.S. national team for swimming or track and field
Rowing
1 1 2019 U.S. senior national team roster
Rugby 1 1 U.S. player pool for rugby sevens and rugby 15s
Shooting 11 5 U.S. national team and athlete pool
Ski/Snowboard 11 5 U.S. national alpine team; U.S. national cross-country team
Soccer 0 0 U.S. women’s 2020 Concacaf Olympic qualifying roster; U.S. men’s national team player pool
Softball
3 2 2020 U.S. Olympic team
Swimming *66 21 Any current U.S. national team athlete and/or athletes that represented Team USA in elite-caliber events
Tennis 0 0 Top 54 world-ranked men and women (Olympic qualification requires a world ranking of 54 or higher)
Track & Field
11 10 USA Track & Field top tiers
Triathlon
1 1 U.S. national team roster
Volleyball
6 5 U.S. national team player pool, per discipline
Water Polo 10 3 2019 U.S. men’s and women’s senior national team roster
Wrestling 8 7 2019 U.S. senior national team
Total 179 total
current student-athletes
63 unique
institutions

*Includes incoming freshmen who have committed to the institution and will enroll Fall 2020.

Does not include student-athletes competing internationally for other nations.

Note: NGBs reported 17 additional Division II, Division III and club student-athletes (seven Olympic & 10 Paralympic), but the training flexibility and development resource access legislation currently applies to NCAA Division I athletes only.

  • NCAA FAQ (download here)
  • International evaluation form (download here)
    • Compliance administrators who utilize the PDF form above and are not able to fully validate an international roster or secure information related to world rankings and world-level competitions may inquire with the USOPC via online form to request a review of the international performance results database. The USOPC has access to world-level event results and can serve as a resource to validate elite-level events
  • Campus advocacy overview (download here)
    • To better support the elite student-athletes participating on Team USA, the USOPC has invited each impacted institution and conference to participate in a new collegiate advocacy program, which is intended to strengthen communication and collaboration between collegiate and national team leaders. These leaders liaise with the USOPC and NGB to help national team student-athletes navigate both their collegiate and national team responsibilities (including but not limited to scheduling, academics, training and financial decisions).
  • USOPC student-athlete support tool (download here)
    • To better support the elite student-athletes participating on Team USA, USOPC liaisons are expected to communicate with the USOPC/NGB to help national team student-athletes navigate both their collegiate and national team responsibilities. One critical task is convening annually with your national team student-athletes to review goals, discuss their support plan and review schedules. This worksheet can be utilized to structure the conversation and capture information during these meetings.

Below are key contacts from each sport-specific U.S. National Governing Body with current student-athletes competing for their respective national team. These individuals are tremendous resources for questions regarding their national team or sport as a whole.

Institution Name Title Email
USA Diving Dan Laak High Performance Director Dan.laak@usadiving.org
USA Fencing Kate Reisinger Director of Sports Performance k.reisinger@usfencing.org
USA Field Hockey Sally Goggin National Development Director sgoggin@usafieldhockey.com
USA Gymnastics Mary McDaniel Director of Program Development and Olympic Relations mmcdaniel@usagym.org
U.S. Paralympics/USOPC Calli Doggett Manager, Paralympic Sport Development Calli.Doggett@usoc.org
US Rowing Brett Gorman Director, Athlete Identification and Development Brett.Gorman@usrowing.org
USA Rugby Jonathan Atkieson Scholastic Manager jatkeison@usa.rugby
US Shooting Alex Szablewski Sr Manager of High Performance Alex.Szablewski@usashooting.org
US Ski and Snowboard Bryan Fish Cross Country Sport Development Manager bryan.fish@usskiandsnowboard.org
USA Softball Chris Sebren Director of National Teams csebren@usasoftball.com
USA Swimming Stacy Michael-Miller National Team Support and Services Director smichael@usaswimming.org
USA Track & Field Michael Nussa High Performance Programs Manager Michael.Nussa@usatf.org
US Triathlon Jessica Welk NCAA and Club Coordinator Jessica.Welk@usatriathlon.org
USA Volleyball Kerry Klosterman Managing Director Kerry.Klostermann@usav.org
USA Water Polo John Abdou Chief High Performance Officer jabdou@usawaterpolo.org
USA Wrestling Cody Bickley National Teams High Performance Manager cbickley@usawrestling.org

The USOPC Legislative Task Force, comprised of leading collegiate administrators, assisted in the development of the new NCAA Division I legislation and provided interpretive insight around the creation of key resources to assist in the nationwide implementation process.

Name Title Institution Email
Lisa Peterson Deputy Athletic Director/SWA/Deputy Title IX Coordinator University of Oregon lpete@uoregon.edu
Missy Conboy Senior Deputy Athletics Director (Sport Operations/ACC Liaison) University of Notre Dame mconboy@nd.edu
Karina Herold Deputy Director of Athletics/Senior Woman Administrator Pepperdine University karina.herold@pepperdine.edu
Kim Keenan-Kirkpatrick Deputy Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator Syracuse University kakeenan@syr.edu
Julie Manning Executive Associate Athletics Director/SWA University of Minnesota jmanning@umn.edu
Chris Plonsky Chief of Staff / Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director University of Texas cp@utexas.edu
Miriam Segar Sr. Associate AD / Sr. Woman Administrator Louisiana State University msegar@lsu.edu
Marielle vanGelder Associate A.D./NCAA Compliance/Senior Woman Administrator University of North Carolina mvangelder@unc.edu
Matt Boyer Assistant Commissioner/Compliance Southeastern Conference mboyer@sec.org
Ellen Ferris Associate Commissioner (Governance and Compliance) American Athletic Conference eferris@theamerican.org
David Flores Associate Commissioner - Compliance & Governance Big 12 Conference david@big12sports.com
Teresa Gould Senior Associate Commissioner, Sports Management & Institutional Services Pac-12 Conference tgould@pac-12.org
Chris Marino Assistant Commissioner, Compliance Pac-12 Conference cmerino@pac-12.org
Chad Hawley Associate Commissioner, Policy Big Ten Conference CHawley@bigten.org
Brad Hostetter Chief of Internal Affairs Atlantic Coast Conference bhostetter@theacc.org

The USOPC collegiate partnerships department aims to help strengthen collegiate contributions to Team USA and support the close relationship between the American collegiate athletics space and the Olympic and Paralympic movements. For questions, please contact the following team members:

  • Sarah Wilhelmi, director of collegiate partnerships, sarah.wilhelmi@usopc.org
  • Adam Wood, associate director of collegiate partnerships, adam.wood@usopc.org