NCAA DI Council adopts Olympics legislation, with more flexibility for elite student-athletes

By Michelle Brutlag Hosick, NCAA | Jan. 24, 2020, 9:12 a.m. (ET)
Athletes designated as elite by nationally recognized groups may receive additional developmental training expenses from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee or national governing bodies, including travel for parents, guardians, coaches, training partners, training partners and sport experts. The Division I Council adopted the new flexibility Wednesday. The legislation is not considered final until the close of the Division I Board of Directors meeting Thursday.

Those same elite athletes also may work out with coaching staff members without it counting against time limits, but only if the workout is initiated by the student and doesn’t cause missed class time.

“Student-athletes who are training and preparing for elite competitions like the Olympics can face difficult financial choices, and NCAA rules now provide additional flexibility to allow these students to prepare to compete for their country while also maintaining their eligibility for college sports,” said M. Grace Calhoun, chair of the Division I Council and athletics director at Penn. “Additional access to high-level coaching will help them achieve their goals for international competition.”

The changes are effective immediately. Last week, the autonomy conferences voted electronically that specific legislation applicable to Olympic Games and Olympic teams and athletes also applies to the Paralympic Games, Paralympic teams and athletes. Similarly, legislation applicable to the Pan American Games now also applies to the Parapan American Games. The Council adopted similar legislation that addresses other legislative provisions.

Council members also adopted legislation to require schools to annually report all sport-related concussions in student-athletes and the resolution of those concussions. The Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports will develop and maintain policies and procedures for the reporting. The legislation will be effective immediately for concussions diagnosed May 18, 2020, and later. This rule also will be final following the Division I Board of Directors meeting.

The Council also received an update from the Division I Name, Image and Likeness Legislative Solutions Group and provided feedback, which will be considered as the group works toward creating legislative recommendations later this year.

The Council had small-group discussions to provide input on the principles put forward by the Board of Governors and potential additional issues that could require attention. Members are focused on legislative solutions that would allow student-athletes to benefit from the use of their names, images and likenesses while also preserving fair competition and other important benefits.

In other news, the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee discussed ways to enhance the pre-draft process for draft-eligible student-athletes for the 2020 NBA Draft and recommended approval of a blanket waiver allowing student-athletes to use trainers on an NCAA campus to prepare for the draft. A similar waiver was approved was approved in 2019.