The USOPC and NCAA are collaborating on the Para-college inclusion project ©USOPC/NCAA

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) has launched a new programme with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) aiming to increase visibility and advance three Paralympic sports.

The Para-college inclusion project is set to feature a wheelchair basketball college all-star event at half-time of the NCAA Division II and III Women's Basketball Championships in Dallas on April 1, including a brief scrimmage against the US Paralympic team.

The first men's and women's 100 metres Para college wheelchair national champions are due to be crowned at the prestigious Drake Relays in Des Moines from April 26 to 29.

Additionally, the US Tennis Association's National Collegiate Wheelchair Championships are set to be held alongside the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships in Orlando in May, and a wheelchair event added to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Fall Championships.

A new website to store educational tools, best practices and resources for programme administrators, coaches and athletes and emphasise the competitiveness of collegiate adaptive sports is also set to launch.

These initiatives came following collaboration between the USOPC and NCAA office of inclusion aiming to increase understanding, awareness and connection across the collegiate landscape.

Representatives from the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council and Paralympic Advisory Council and various NCAA Committees have also had an input.

The NCAA senior vice-president for inclusion education and community engagement Felicia Martin welcomed the latest steps.

"The USOPC and NCAA Para-college inclusion project is monumental because it marks the first time the two organisations have partnered at this level to celebrate and highlight adaptive sports and the amazing experiences of college athletes with disabilities," Martin said.

"The NCAA shares student-athlete stories through its many platforms and championships.

"We look forward to highlighting the wheelchair basketball exhibitions at this year’s Women’s Final Four fan events and the Division II and III Women’s Basketball Championships in Dallas."

The director of the NCAA office of inclusion Jean Merrill added: "The Para-college inclusion project is a great example of how we can create new pathways for student-athletes with disabilities on our college campuses and further promote inclusivity at our NCAA Women's Final Four Championship and event.

"We are thrilled to see the progress in our first year of collaboration with the USOPC as this work shines a spotlight on opportunities, the strength of partnerships and the importance of adaptive sports."

A NCAA and USOPC implementation team consisting of USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council member Greg Byrne, Para-college inclusion project member Graham Neff, Paralympian Jessica Heims and student-athlete Simon Detmer is set to assess the impact of these initiatives later this year.