Sport Structure

Overview: The sport structure concept intends to protect the NCAA legacy of broad-based varsity sport sponsorship at the Division I level. Collaborative sport management with National Governing Bodies may help drive a sustainable direction on a sport-by-sport basis. Currently, the collegiate and national Olympic and Paralympic sports management structures are not formally aligned. The USOPC Think Tank believes increased collaboration could result in operational efficiencies, policy alignment and collective promotion of the sport pathway. 

2021 focus: The USOPC Think Tank strongly supports sustaining the sport sponsorship minimum at 16 and piloting sport management partnerships with NGBs before resorting to reductions. The USOPC Think Tank is facilitating surveys across the NGBs to determine management areas of alignment and overlap (rules management, officiating, governance, season structure, etc.). The insights will inform shared sport management programs for select low-sponsored and/or declining Olympic and Paralympic sports. 

Horizon: The USOPC Think Tank is reimagining an NCAA sport sponsorship structure whereby a range of sport categories could exist with varying forms of NGB support. In this reimagined structure, the NCAA may recognize a broad range of sports with flexible sport sponsorship categories (flexible membership requirements, agile season operations and sport-specific rules, etc.). Customization could help declining Olympic and Paralympic sports better manage within their sport ecosystem. A flexible sport structure could be modeled similar to the NCAA Emerging Sports for Women program, which could help preserve and grow Olympic and Paralympic sports. 


Robin Harris Ivy League headshot

Robin Harris
Ivy League
Executive Director

Gene Smith Ohio State headshot

Gene Smith
The Ohio State University
Senior VP & Athletics Director

Kyle Snyder, Olympic gold medalist, Ohio State

Kyle Snyder
The Ohio State University
Olympian (Wrestling)

Martin Jarmond headshot

Martin Jarmond
Director of Athletics

Jenn Frasier NCAA headshot

Jennifer Fraser
Director of Division I Governance

Joe Karlgaard Rice University headshot

Joe Karlgaard
Rice University
Director of Athletics, Recreation & Lifetime Fitness

Kendall Spencer former University of New Mexico student-athlete headshot

Kendall Spencer
University of New Mexico
Student-Athlete and National Team Member (Track & Field)

Adam Krikorian USA Water Polo

Adam Krikorian
USA Water Polo
Women's Senior National Team Coach

Stephanie Wheeler, 2-time Paralympian and Illinois women's wheelchair basketball coach

Stephanie Wheeler
University of Illinois
Two-time Paralympian (Wheelchair basketball)

Max Siegel USATF headshot

Max Siegel
USA Track & Field
Chief Executive Officer

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