Groundbreaking legislation increases access to resources, training flexibility and Paralympic parity


ANAHEIM, Calif.  – The NCAA Division I Council passed important athlete-focused legislation proposed by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Collegiate Advisory Council at the 2020 NCAA Convention. The legislation eases access to developmental training resources (sport experts, training experts and travel related to parents/experts), permits athletes to train with their college coaches beyond the current 20-hour-per-week rule and extends parity to Paralympic national team student-athletes by including both Paralympic and Olympic waivers and exceptions. The Division II and III Management Councils also approved the Paralympic parity recommendations during their meetings on January 22.


“These reforms were built in response to the challenges identified by more than 300 national team student-athletes in 2018,” said Jamie Redman, USRowing Athletes Advisory Council representative and Yale University student-athlete and alumni. “These changes are vital in helping our most talented student-athletes succeed in the classroom and on the international athletics stage.”


The new legislation immediately impacts roughly 170 student-athletes across more than 75 Division I and Division III institutions – many of whom may compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games.


“On behalf of the USOPC, we appreciate and applaud the collaborative efforts of the CAC, USOPC Legislative Task Force and the NCAA for their important work in of support national team student-athletes,” said Sarah Hirshland, USOPC CEO. “We will continue to work with the national governing bodies, schools, conferences and athletes to ease administrative burdens and ensure national team student-athletes are able to balance their academic and athletic goals.”


The USOPC and national governing bodies will begin implementing the new legislation by proactively sharing schedules and resource-related information with relevant collegiate stakeholders. The increased communication and collaboration will help national team student-athletes manage and streamline their high-performance training plans between collegiate and international schedules.


“Our extraordinary Olympic and Paralympic national team student-athletes deserve all the fruits of our unique collegiate athletics system: training, resources and guidance,” said Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Commissioner and CAC pathway project chair. “These talented athletes represent our country’s best and we owe them the opportunity to represent our country to their fullest.”


About the CAC

The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Collegiate Advisory Council was formed in October 2017 and is chaired by USOPC board member Kevin White (Duke University). The 10-member council is charged with increasing collaboration with NCAA member institutions and conferences to elevate national engagement and support of Olympic and Paralympic sport opportunities on campus. The council is comprised of:


•   Sandy Barbour, Pennsylvania State University, vice president for intercollegiate athletics

•   Bob Bowlsby, Big 12 Conference, commissioner

•   Greg Byrne, University of Alabama, athletics director

•   Bubba Cunningham, University of North Carolina, director of athletics

•   Bernard Muir, Stanford University, athletic director

•   Rob Mullens, University of Oregon, athletic director

•   Chris Plonsky, University of Texas, executive sr. associate athletics director/chief of staff

•   Gene Smith, The Ohio State University, senior vice president and athletic director

•   Scott Stricklin, University of Florida, athletic director

•   Kevin White, Duke University, vice president and athletic director


Special appreciation is extended to the NCAA and the USOPC Legislative Task Force members who assisted in the legislative development process: Lisa Peterson (University of Oregon), Chris Plonsky (University of Texas), Marielle vanGelder (University of North Carolina), Kimberly Keenan-Kirkpatrick (Syracuse University); Missy Conboy (University of Notre Dame), Karina Herold (Pepperdine University), Julie Manning (University of Minnesota), Miriam Segar (Louisiana State University), Ellen Ferris (American Athletic Conference) Chad Hawley (Big Ten Conference), David Flores (Big 12 Conference), Jessica Presnall (Big 12 Conference), Matt Boyer (Southeastern Conference ), Brad Hostetter (Atlantic Coast Conference) Matt Burgemeister (Atlantic Coast Conference), Teresa Gould (Pac-12 Conference), Erik Price (Pac-12 Conference) and Chris Merino (Pac-12 Conference).