NCAA to allow potential Olympians to receive more benefits

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The NCAA will now permit elite athletes to be paid for training expenses by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and other national governing bodies.

The Division I Council adopted the legislation Wednesday at the NCAA convention and it is effective immediately.

Previously, college athletes could compromise their eligibility to compete for their schools by accepting some benefits that are provided to potential Olympians.

Under the new legislation, athletes designated elite by the USOPC or other organizations such as USA Swimming or USA Track and Field can have travel expenses paid for parents, coaches or trainers.

The new rules also will allow potential Olympians to spend more time working with their college coaches without breaking NCAA rules regarding practice limits.

“I think the Olympic definition of amateurism and the NCAA definition of amateurism are not quite aligned and that makes it very unfortunate for people who are at that level,” said Ginny Thrasher, who won the 2016 Olympic 10m air rifle while still competing for West Virginia University. “I think if you have been identified by your national governing body as being eligible to receive those funds, I think it would be very helpful and I think it’s something the NCAA should allow.”

Thrasher said allowing elite athletes to tap into those benefits will help solidify the relationship between the NCAA and the Olympic movement.

“It would make it easier for people on that path to continue and not have to deal with any sort of division of conflict of interest,” Thrasher said.

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