The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the NCAA on Tuesday announced the signing of an Enhanced Olympic and Paralympic Sports Cooperation Agreement, intended to drive further collaborative efforts between the two organizations through 2024.
The new terms of the agreement are rooted in the USOPC College Sports Sustainability Think Tank Recommendations and provide a basis for the NCAA and USOPC liaison functions outlined in the NCAA constitution. The agreement outlines tactics intended to test joint support of Olympic sports management, drive Paralympic sports growth strategies, and collaborate in the shared promotion of Olympic and Paralympic sports at the collegiate level.
“We are grateful to the NCAA and its member institutions for their commitment to Olympic and Paralympic sports programming and their willingness to increase collaboration,” said USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland. “Our collegiate athletic system is an American treasure worth protecting, and we are honored to partner with the NCAA to activate shared sustainability efforts to preserve large-scale athletic opportunities on campus through this partnership agreement. cooperation.”
Activation of the agreement will be overseen by the NCAA Division I Board and the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Board. It includes efforts to measure the impact of USOPC Think Tank recommendations through 2024. The agreement covers three areas:
- Olympic Sports Management Drivers: The agreement includes operational deliverables for sport-building efforts, which include pilot efforts to increase sport efficiency, test championship-related partnerships and improve the student-athlete experience. The pilot will be launched by engaging the gymnastics community, including NCAA committee members, school leaders who sponsor the sport, coaches, athletes and national governing body staff.
- Paralympic project: The agreement also includes efforts to launch the USOPC Paracollegiate Inclusion Project to expand adaptive sport opportunities at the collegiate level in collaboration with the NCAA Office of Inclusion through shared research. , increased school engagement and joint promotional programming. This project includes strategic discussions with various adaptive programs at the college level (e.g. wheelchair basketball, wheelchair tennis, integrated athletics), which could result in increased sport awareness, better school alignment and a reinforced sports infrastructure.
- Joint promotion: The agreement extends existing promotional efforts to establish a four-year communications plan on the USOPC and NCAA platforms to highlight and amplify the value of Olympic and Paralympic athletic opportunities at the collegiate level. The agreement includes various media milestones and a timeline to formalize the 2.0 scope of the Olympians and Paralympians Made Here campaign.
“As the college landscape evolves, NCAA member schools are committed to providing large-scale Olympic athletic opportunities at the collegiate level,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “The new constitutional charge and the terms of our USOPC agreement demonstrate the collective commitment to strengthening the athletic pathway for current and future student-athletes.”
The tactical work prescribed in the cooperation agreement aims to maintain the strength of the Olympic and Paralympic sports programs at the collegiate level, with the understanding that collaboration should be explored and tested before cuts are considered or implemented. Partnerships and alignment across the collegiate, Olympic, and Paralympic landscapes are key to creating operational efficiencies, leveraging untapped revenue, and creating a unified sport path.
The cooperative agreement between the USOPC and the NCAA will help activate the USOPC Think Tank recommendations, which have already been assigned to various NCAA committees.
- The NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Experience Committee advanced a recommendation in the 2022 NCAA Legislative Cycle to allow men’s gymnastics programs greater recruiting and hiring flexibility and is considering a proposal aimed at streamlining recruitment for swimming and diving programs.
- The NCAA Division I Strategic Vision and Planning Committee is evaluating a recommendation to create an Olympic Sustainability Membership Category that would provide membership flexibility for low-sponsored Olympic sports.
- The NCAA Division I Competitions Oversight Committee oversees athletic management pilot projects involving NCAA athletic committees (e.g., men’s and women’s gymnastics, field hockey, men’s volleyball, and track and field).
- There has been broad engagement from various NCAA Inclusion Committees, including the Committee on Women’s Athletics, the Minority Interests and Opportunities Committee, and the Committee for Promoting Diversity and cultural equity. Each committee reviewed and provided volunteers to contribute to the USOPC para-college inclusion project.
- Periodic progress will be shared with the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Board and the NCAA Division I Board to monitor the impact of each initiative.