More than 400 NCAA athletes are designated as elite by the USOPC, the sport’s governing body

More than 400 Division I athletes have been recognized as elite NCAA athletes by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee and their national sports governing bodies, a recognition that gives them flexibility in the types of activities they can offer and their training hour limits through NCAA regulations.

Overall, the USOPC has earned 434 Division I elite student-athletes representing 100 schools for the 2023-24 academic year.

In particular, through the Division I rules passed in 2020, elite student-athletes can receive additional training funds from the USOPC, national governing bodies or their international Olympic committee, including travel for parents, guardians, coaches, peer trainers and sports professionals. . the same elite athletes can also exercise with their colleagues without timing, but only if the exercise is initiated by the student and does not cause missed class time.

Adelaide Aquilla, a former Ohio State shooting guard, is one example of how the rules can benefit student-athletes. While a student athlete, Aquilla represented Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2022 World Championships. He credits the top honors he received twice during his career at Ohio State for helping him reach such heights.

“Being selected as an athlete has helped me start to achieve my goals,” said Aquilla, a four-year NCAA champion. “It allowed me to have one-on-one practice with my coach, which helped me improve my throwing skills.”

The USOPC and its governing bodies around the world work together each year to select the elite NCAA athletes, based on a sport-by-sport basis. The sports with the most NCAA athletes selected by the USOPC are swimming and diving (99 swimmers and 49 divers from 34 schools), track (61 student-athletes from 28 schools) and indoor volleyball (39 student-athletes from 19 schools). (See full explanation below.)

“College sports are uniquely positioned as Olympic pipelines for Team USA and nations around the world,” NCAA President Charlie Baker said. “The legislation allowing more flexibility for elite student-athletes is a good example of a modern way to provide additional development opportunities and resources to achieve their dreams of representing their countries.”

The order outlines the requirements of the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council – a 12-member council consisting of Team USA administrators and athletes – to identify and remove obstacles faced by elite athletes who develop, train and compete internationally. Before the Division I board adopted the law in 2020, more than 300 national team athletes, coaches and national governing body administrators identified key obstacles and worked with policymakers to develop legislative solutions in three main areas: academic flexibility, access finder of elite and Paralympic development. including.

The law also emphasizes the commitment of the NCAA and its members to expand opportunities for Olympic and Paralympic sports. During the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games – held in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – more than 1,000 current and former athletes from all three disciplines competed for more than 100 countries. College sports are very important to Team USA. About 80% of Team USA’s Olympic medalists went on to compete in the NCAA. Sixty-five US Paralympians in Tokyo (more than 25% of the 2020 US Paralympic team) competed together as members of NCAA programs, including 30% of US Paralympic medalists.

2023-24 NCAA top student-athletes: 434 NCAA top student-athletes from 100 schools

Sports NCAA Elite Athletes Representative Schools
Basketball (5×5) 0 0
Basketball (3×3) 15 11
Biathlon 1 1
Swimming 49 23
A fence 12 5
Hockey game 17 8
Physical exercise 19 9
Ice Hockey 13 8
ModernPentathlon 0 0
Olympic Games 18 16
Rowing 0 0
Rugby 0 0
Sailing 1 1
Shooting 25 12
Ski/Snowboard 13 5
Football 0 0
Softball 22 15
Swimming 99 23
Tennis 3 3
Track & Field 61 28
Triathlon 3 2
Volleyball (beach) 6 5
Volleyball (indoor) 39 19
Water Polo 14 5
Struggle 4 4

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