Celebrating Our Student-Athletes, National Student-Athlete Day, NSAD

Team USA athletes pose for a photo at the Team USA Hospitality Experience in Los Angeles.

Being a full-time collegiate athlete and Olympian is no small feat. Yet hundreds of students choose to represent Team USA each year. From track and field to ice hockey, Team USA has more than 400 athletes from 97 different schools who currently compete in 18 sports.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games welcomed 59 current student-athletes. 18 of those athletes are currently competing on the NCAA swim circuit. The Team USA swim team has 48 current or former collegiate athletes from 21 different schools, or 91% of the team. 11 of the 11 divers are current or former student-athletes, 45% of whom represent the Big Ten Conference. The US swimming and diving team isn’t the only Olympic team with significant representation in the conference. 30% of the women’s soccer team competed in the ACC conference, 48% of US rowers competed in the Ivy League, and one-third of US fencers competed in Notre Dame.

95% of our 128 track and field team members competed collegially. 70% of the Big 12 had one or more athletes on the team. The SEC also had an alumnus from each school on the 2020 U.S. Athletics roster.

75% of athletes who competed at Tokyo 2020 also competed collegially, representing 169 schools. 390 athletes competed in NCAA Division 1, seven athletes competed in Division 2, and four athletes competed in Division 3. An additional 60 athletes also competed in NAIA, NJCAA, or club sports. When softball returned to the Olympics, so did collegiate athletes. 100% of the 2020 US Olympic Softball Team competed collegially!

29 Olympians and one Paralympian made their winter break unforgettable by competing at the Beijing 2022 Winter Games. 45 schools were represented in China, with nearly 40% of the Team USA delegation being current student athletes or old. These student-athletes were not limited to winter sports, 21 athletes competed in different collegiate sports before competing for Team USA. USA Bobsled included former college football, basketball, and lacrosse players. Of the seven Winter Olympics sports, five teams had collegiate participation of 75% or more. Incredibly, the USA men’s and women’s ice hockey teams had a full roster of current or former college athletes. 48% of the women’s hockey team can qualify as Olympic medalists, as well as NCAA champions, and 60% of the men’s hockey team have left Beijing and returned directly to competition for their college. The University of Minnesota had the most varsity student-athletes with 12 Gophers representing Team USA. USA Nordic Skiing represented six schools, 165 students and alumni, and 30 athletes with academic ties to the University of Utah. Half of America’s alpine and cross-country skiers have competed in college, and three-quarters of the biathlon team have competed collegially in all three NCAA divisions.

Naomi C. Amerson