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Australian Institute of Sport

Elite Athlete Friendly University program

Supporting Australia’s elite athletes to achieve academic excellence

Nominated Staff Contact

Each university must appoint a specific staff contact person, to support elite athletes within the university. It is expected that this person be of a significantly senior position within the university, to be able to effectively negotiate and implement the guiding principles across the university environment. This position will provide the following support:

  • Advice and guidance to student-athletes on academic planning
  • Support in negotiating necessary flexibility to meet academic requirements
  • Advocacy for the student-athlete within the university environment
  • Support in negotiating and/or implementing student cross institutional study or credit transfer arrangements
  • Provision of advice and support to local Athlete Wellbeing and Engagement Manager or related personnel.

Flexible Study Options

Universities will use their best endeavours to tailor (or develop) policy documentation to incorporate the student athlete needs highlighted below:

  • Assessment related needs:
    • Ability to negotiate assessment deadlines based on sporting related travel commitments
    • Ability to sit exams externally under exam conditions, within the athlete’s environment (e.g. whilst travelling, in their hotel etc)
    • The minimum attendance at lectures, tutorials or practicals waived where student-athlete unavailable due to sporting commitment
  • Enrolment related needs:
    • Ability to:
      • tailor academic study load to integrate with sporting commitments, available for first year students as well.
      • negotiate lecture, tutorial and practical timetables to accommodate sporting commitments
      • extend minimum time to complete course due to periods of decreased study load
      • take several leaves of absence where required due to increased sporting commitments (e.g. Olympic Games year)
      • complete cross institutional study options with interstate universities, and flexibility within this policy provided for student athletes (e.g. first year student’s eligible, increase number of subjects able to be completed by cross institutional study
    • Provision of summer study alternatives and/or ability to swap between distance education mode and on campus mode, depending on sporting commitments
    • Recognition of credit achieved at interstate universities
  • Course related needs:
    • Access to distance education materials, and/or class notes for missed lectures, tutorials or practicals

Course entry

Universities will ensure the ability for elite-athletes to submit accompanying documentation for consideration for entry into course. This to be highlighted within Tertiary Admissions documentation.

Defining Elite Athletes

It is recognised that the implementation of this policy document relies heavily on the accurate identification of athletes and coaches as being elite. Whilst the majority of elite athletes within Australia will be either their National Sporting Organisation (NSO) categorised athlete list and/or on scholarship within the network of institutes and academies of sport around Australia, there are many athletes that may fall outside of this cohort. The following strategies are suggested for identifying elite athletes and coaches studying at universities within Australia.

For athletes and coaches to access the support identified within the guiding principles outlined above, they must be identified and recognised, or be a member of one of the following organisations as an 'elite athlete or coach.'

If an athlete falls outside of these organisations, they may submit an application for consideration, to the University. Australian Institute of Sport representative/s can investigate, verify and make a recommendation where required.

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