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NCAA schools’ investments yield returns for Olympians

Every year the U.S. Olympic Committee supports America’s future medalists by funding performance programs, providing training facilities and offering financial assistance to more than 1,000 potential Olympians and Paralympians. But the organization is also open about the fact that it doesn’t work alone. College sports play a key role in Olympic success. Seventy-five percent of Team USA at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro competed in college, and 34 percent of the 2018 team that competed in Pyeongchang, South Korea, did as well.

To gauge just how much colleges and universities contribute to the development of future medalists, the USOC worked with NCAA research to determine what Division I schools spend on Olympic sports each year. The results make one thing clear: Because of college sports, the Olympic development system in the United States is unique, with no peers in the world. Division I schools together invest more than $5 billion annually.

Section 127 / Illustration | Source: 2015-16 NCAA Division I Annual Financial Report of Sport Operations (scholarships, coaching, recruiting, training, competition, athlete services, etc.)


About Champion

Champion magazine goes behind the headlines and beyond the scoreboards to celebrate the unique connection between Americans and college sports. Champion is published by the NCAA.