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U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee Collegiate Advisory Council Recommends NCAA Reforms To Strengthen National Team Pathway For Student-Athletes

By United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee | July 01, 2019, 1:41 p.m. (ET)

Stanford University campus, one of the participating NCAA member institutions, on March 12, 2019 in Stanford, California.


DURHAM, North Carolina – The United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee Collegiate Advisory Council recommended a set of NCAA reforms aimed at strengthening the pathway for student-athletes who are competing at both the collegiate and international levels during its quarterly meeting on Friday (June 28). The recommendations are the latest step taken by the CAC to enhance solidarity between the collegiate landscape and the Olympic and Paralympic movements.

“While we have the best collegiate athletics system in the world, our elite national team student-athletes are feeling pressure to choose between their Olympic and Paralympic dreams, and their education,” said Kevin White, vice president and director of athletics at Duke University. “To be sure, we should be supporting their ambition to do both.”

The proposed reforms seek to enhance training flexibility for student-athletes who are also representing U.S. national teams; provide streamlined access to development resources that are managed and provided by the USOPC and member National Governing Bodies; offer broader inclusion of Paralympic sport within NCAA policies; and expand education and support for student-athletes during their post-collegiate transition. The reforms are intended to be vetted and advanced through the NCAA's autonomy legislative process during the 2019-20 academic year.

“This council has dedicated more than a year strengthening collaboration between the collegiate and Olympic and Paralympic landscapes to support our shared student-athletes,” said Sarah Wilhelmi, USOPC director of collegiate partnerships. “It is exciting to see these ideas translate into action in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

The reform package outlines the elevated competitive, scheduling and financial pressures experienced by elite national team student-athletes and was cultivated through insights from an anonymous survey of more than 300 national team athletes, coaches and NGB administrators.

“With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, this is the right time to modernize the pathway for our elite national team student-athletes and celebrate their journeys to the world stage,” added Rick Adams, USOPC chief of sport performance and NGB services.

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About the USOPC 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 director of 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