US Olympic Committee looking for ways to aid college sports

With budgetary constraints threatening several Olympic sports on the college level, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) is looking into various ways to help support college athletic programs.

Speaking at the National Press Club Tuesday, USOC CEO Scott Blackmun noted several methods the committee has looked into for helping financially support Olympic sports at the NCAA level, according to USA Today.

A couple ideas Blackmun suggested: sponsoring national championships for various sports and helping connect donors with college teams to fund endowments of athletic programs, coaches and scholarships.

Though Blackmun said he didn’t envision the USOC directly supporting college athletic programs financially, he did say the committee already had a donor willing to contribute $5 million to support Olympic sports if a workable system can be created.

With financial belts tightening for the vast majority of college athletic departments, Olympic sports have often become the casualty. USA Today relays some statistics Blackmun gave about college sports: Blackmun said there were just 16 men’s gymnastics programs left in the nation, and the number of wrestling programs has been cut roughly in half (from 146 to 77) from the number that existed 35 years ago.

Swimming is no stranger to this phenomenon. Earlier this month, the College of Charleston announced it would be closing its pool and cutting its men’s and women’s swimming & diving programs following this season. A few years further back were the high-profile cuts of swimming & diving at Maryland and of the men’s program at Rutgers, among others.

Blackmun pointed out that the cutting of Olympic sports at the college level could threaten American successes at future Olympics, the major reason why the USOC would like to get involved in supporting college athletics.

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Greg

It’s about time! I experienced a sport elimination and not one call, email or letter from USA Swimming or the USOC to provide assistance or communicate sympathy. Our university team was even a USA Swimming registered club!

The USOC and sport delegations need to understand, embrace and therefore publically support the correlation between collegiate sport programs (and the resulting financial, academic, social and emotional support these programs provide), and adolescent sport attrition rates due to lack of future opportunity. For these entities not to act wouId be an indictment of a myopic scope and narcissism at the very least. I am hopeful this is not just bureaucratic mumbo jumbo

jman

I think Ohio State is a good model. All scholarships are endowed and maybe the coaching salaries. And they built a swimming complex that is combined with swim teaching facilities and REC/IM so it would be difficult to shut down the pool or unfund it.

bobo gigi

And how do most of the other nations which don’t have any college sports system to finance and help olympic sports? Take France for example. The biggest part of the money comes from the government and the local communities. In resume from the public money. The rest mostly comes from sponsors. In swimming, it’s all about clubs here. No college sports here. Only our best swimmers turn pro and they are lucky to be sponsored. Because the others struggle and often have to continue school or have a job while they continue swimming. Very hard here to be a student and a sportsman at the same time. Generally you have to choose. That’s why some French swimmers go to USA.… Read more »

bobo gigi

Correction. How do they manage to finance and help olympic sports?

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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