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Australian Institute of Sport

Elite Athlete Education Network

Supporting elite athletes for the duration of their study

Nominated University Staff Contact - Elite Athlete Student Coordinator

Each endorsed university within the Elite Athlete University Network appoints a specific staff contact person or persons to support elite athletes during their time 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 Managers 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 (eg whilst travelling, in their hotel etc)
    • The minimum attendance at lectures, tutorials or practicals waived or rescheduled where the student-athlete is unavailable due to sporting commitments.
  • 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 (eg Olympic Games year)
      • complete cross institutional study options with interstate universities, and flexibility within this policy provided for student athletes (eg first year students 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 or overseas higher education institutions.
  • 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 their preferred course. This is 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. The majority of elite athletes within Australia will be either identified as categorised by their National Sporting Organisation (NSO) and appear on a current categorised list and/or will be on scholarship within the National Institute Network across Australian states. 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 'elite coach.'

If an athlete falls outside of these organisations they may submit an application for consideration by the University. The AIS can investigate, verify and make a recommendation where required.

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