NCAA student-athletes pursuing their Olympic dream will be allowed to receive benefits that aren’t available to other college athletes.
USA TODAY reports that during Wednesday’s NCAA convention, the Division I Council adopted legislation that immediately allows Olympic hopefuls to be paid for training expenses by the U.S. Olympic Committee and other national governing bodies. The benefits, which will include travel for parents, guardians and coaches, are available to athletes that have been designated as elite by governing bodies.
“The intent is to be as supportive of student-athletes, college athletes as we can be and allow them this very extraordinary singular opportunity to represent their country every four years and do that in a way that isn’t damaging to the overall college athletic model,” NCAA president Mark Emmert told USA TODAY last week. “The NCAA has been trying to be as helpful as it can both to the U.S. Olympic movement and also to the young men and women that get to compete in those sports.”
In the past, athletes training for the Olympics could compromise their college eligibility. Ginny Thrasher, who was a West Virginia University student when she won a gold medal in women’s 10-meter air rifle in 2016, told the Associated Press that the additional benefits should strengthen the relationship between the NCAA and Olympics.
“I think the Olympic definition of amateurism and the NCAA definition of amateurism are not quite aligned and that makes it very unfortunate for people who are at that level,” Thrasher said. “I think if you have been identified by your national governing body as being eligible to receive those funds, I think it would be very helpful and I think it’s something the NCAA should allow.
“It would make it easier for people on that path to continue and not have to deal with any sort of division of conflict of interest.”
The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan will run from July 24 through August 9.
The NCAA convention continues Thursday with an eye on discussing how college athletes can profit of their name, image and likeness.