Student-athletes in America should have an easier journey to success after the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) Collegiate Advisory Council (CAC) introduced legislative plans to provide more structure.
The idea of the CAC reforms are aimed at athletes competing at both collegiate and international level in a bid to enhance solidarity between the collegiate landscape and the Olympic and Paralympic Movements.
"While we have the best collegiate athletics system in the world, our elite national team student-athletes are feeling pressure to choose between their Olympic and Paralympic dreams, and their education," Kevin White, vice-president and director of athletics at Duke University, said.
"To be sure, we should be supporting their ambition to do both."
Among the recommendations are enhanced training flexibility for student-athletes who represent US national teams and providing streamlined access to development resources managed and provided by the USOPC and member Governing Bodies.
The new legislation also aims to offer broader inclusion of Paralympic sport within National Collegiate Athletic Association policies and to expand education and support for student-athletes during their post-collegiate transition.
All of the recommendations are expected to be vetted and advanced through the autonomy legislative process during the 2019-2020 academic year.
"This Council has dedicated more than a year strengthening collaboration between the collegiate and Olympic and Paralympic landscapes to support our shared student-athletes," USOPC director of collegiate partnerships Sarah Wilhelmi said.
"It is exciting to see these ideas translate into action in the lead up to the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games."
The reforms arose following an anonymous survey from more than 300 national team athletes, coaches and National Governing Body (NGB) administrators.
They outline the elevated competitive, scheduling and financial pressures experienced by elite national team student-athletes.
"With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, this is the right time to modernize the pathway for our elite national team student-athletes and celebrate their journeys to the world stage," Rick Adams, USOPC chief of sport performance and NGB services, added.