USOPC and NCAA extend Para-College partnership. USOPC

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the NCAA Office of Inclusion continue the Para-College partnership with four key activations in 2024 in wheelchair basketball, track and field, and wheelchair tennis.

The United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) are expanding their commitment to engaging schools in adaptive sports and raising awareness of Paralympic sports at NCAA championships. 

Athletes and sport leaders from the USOPC Collegiate Advisory Council and NCAA committees have been driving these diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives forward.

Jean Merrill, NCAA Director of Inclusion, said: "The NCAA is truly honoured to once again partner with the USOPC to raise awareness od Para sport at the collegiate level, celebrate collegiate Para sport student-athletes and promote participation opportunities."

"In a Paralympic Games year, we recognise the critical role our NCAA member institutions play in building a pipeline for Team USA and promoting lifelong health and wellness."

Thomas Venos, former NCAA athlete. USOPC
Thomas Venos, former NCAA athlete. USOPC

Julie Dussliere, USOPC Chief of Paralympics, said: "We are thrilled to continue our groundbreaking collaboration with the NCAA Office of Inclusion on Paralympic awareness and opportunity." 

"The overwhelming response from colleges and athletes last year was amazing and we're eager to bring Para sports and the importance of growing the college pipeline to even more athletes, schools and fans across the country," he added.

The Para College Inclusion Project will launch the following four initiatives in 2024 through four tactical teams: A Team USA vs. College All-Star Game hosted by the USOPC, NCAA, and National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) will be held at halftime of the Women's Final Four Championship Game in Cleveland, Ohio on 7 April. Other events will take place in Tourney Town on 6 April, including a game and panel discussion as part of the NCAA's Beyond the Baseline series.

The Intercollegiate Tennis Association, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) and the NCAA will once again include collegiate wheelchair tennis as last year to be part of the NCAA Division I Tennis Championships on 24-25 May in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on the main courts strategically timed between the NCAA Championships singles and doubles finals. 

For the first time, the national collegiate 100-metre wheelchair races will be part of the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships on 7-8 June 2024 in Eugene, Oregon. One male and one female athlete will be crowned national champions in the wheelchair events, following their debut at the Drake Relays in 2023. 

The USOPC and NCAA will also launch a Central Hub for Collegiate Adaptive Sports, a one-stop-shop for high school athletes and college administrators to expand para-sport programmes and athlete participation nationwide.