Sport Sustainability Recommendations

The below recommendations were developed with sport-specific stakeholders. They are largely intended to serve as pilot engagements – once proven, methods can spread across the broader Olympic and Paralympic collegiate landscape. In total, the USOPC Think Tank developed seven actionable recommendations to be shared through the NCAA governance process in fall 2021.

Recommendation 1: Develop a customized recruiting plan for swimming and diving. This includes initiating the recruiting process during a prospect’s senior year of high school. By delaying initial contact, limiting visits and implementing a contained recruiting calendar, the adjustments will alleviate pressures on prospects, ease the time burden on athletes and coaches, and increase operational efficiencies. Learn more.

Recommendation 2: Allow flexible engagement with prospective and elite male gymnasts. This includes deregulating men’s gymnastics recruiting rules around clubs, tryouts, camps/clinics and national team access to ease operations, improve athlete engagement, and leverage collective resources. These changes would allow varsity programs to partner with youth programs and USA Gymnastics to share facilities, streamline expenses and generate revenue through expanded camps/clinics. Learn more.

Sport Structure Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Pilot the Olympic Sustainability Membership Category to test regulatory flexibility for low-sponsored sports. This flexibility includes multidivisional membership and nimble conference affiliation. Starting with men's gymnastics and men's volleyball, these adjustments will ease scheduling burdens, strengthen regional partnerships and ultimately grow the sport. Learn more.

Recommendation 2: Formalize USOPC and NCAA organizational alignment by expanding the existing USOPC/NCAA cooperation agreement to include terms to mechanize leadership-level connections, sport-level partnerships, communications collaboration and project-specific engagement. Learn more.

Vertical Partnerships Recommendations

Recommendation 1: Establish partnerships to achieve greater efficiencies within NCAA championships. Facilitate NGB/USOPC collaboration around NCAA championships by creating opportunities for (1) championships hosting partnerships, (2) NGB/NCAA efficiency partnerships and/or (3) auxiliary partnerships. Pilot concepts have been crafted with select NGBs and college stakeholders, and these adjustments are intended to increase operational efficiencies, open revenue opportunities and increase exposure while enhancing the student-athlete experience. Learn more.

Recommendation 2: Pilot Olympic and Paralympic Games content sharing and develop a national recognition program to increase storytelling and elevate national awareness of the role colleges play in developing Olympians and Paralympians. Over time, these efforts may strengthen commercial interest in the collegiate Olympic and Paralympic marketplace. Learn more.

Paralympic Inclusion Recommendation

Recommendation: Bring stakeholders together to launch the Para-College Inclusion Project. This includes conducting Paralympic/collegiate research on national adaptive sport programming, collectively promoting adaptive sports, and connecting school leaders that have adaptive programs with U.S. Paralympic leaders to strengthen sport structures. Learn more.