A new Collegiate Advisory Council has been set-up by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to “guide and strengthen” sport programming at university level.
The panel has been billed as the first of its kind and represents the “latest step taken by the USOC to increase collaboration with National Collegiate Athletic Association member institutions and conferences to elevate national engagement and support of Olympic sport opportunities”.
It is charged with “bridging the gap” between high-contributing collegiate stakeholders and the Olympic Movement.
USOC Board member Kevin White, who is also vice-president and athletic director at Duke University, will chair the 11-member council.
He is joined by other collegiate administrators including eight other athletic directors.
These are Sandy Barbour from Pennsylvania State University, Greg Byrne from the University of Alabama, Jay Jacobs from Auburn University, Bernard Muir from Stanford University, Rob Mullens from the University of Oregon, Gene Smith from Ohio State University, Scott Stricklin from University of Florida and Stan Wilcox from Florida State.
They are joined by University of Texas women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky and Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby.
“We understand how unique and vitally important our American collegiate athletics system is to both higher education and the Olympic Movement, which is why increased collaboration is needed to sustain and elevate this system together,” said USOC chief executive Scott Blackmun.
“We are eager to map a course to work directly with collegiate leaders to support elite student-athlete opportunities on campus and within our national teams.”
Eighty per cent of US Olympians at the Rio 2016 Olympics were in or had come through the collegiate system.
This included 85 per cent of medalists.
The absence of players from the National Hockey League at next year’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang could also provide extra opportunities for collegiate-level male ice hockey players to feature.
An initial meeting of the Council has already taken place in Colorado Springs to discuss “opportunities” in the collegiate landscape.
The group now plans to outline key objectives and a future course of engagement by the end of the year.
By Nick Butler
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.