Change in NCAA rules will allow Schooling to keep S$1m gold medal reward

Change in NCAA rules will allow Schooling to keep S$1m gold medal reward
Joseph Schooling celebrates with his Olympic gold medal. Photo: Reuters
Published: 4:18 PM, August 13, 2016

SINGAPORE – Joseph Schooling’s historic victory in the 100m butterfly at the Olympic Games on Saturday morning (Aug 13, Singapore time) turned the 21-year-old into an instant millionaire, as he is set to pocket S$1 million as part of Singapore National Olympic Council’s (SNOC) Multi-Million Dollar Awards Programme (MAP).

While Schooling will be required to give 20 percent of his MAP incentive – amounting to S$200,000 – to the Singapore Swimming Association (SSA) for ‘future training and development’, he is still expected to pocket close to S$750,000 after taxes.

And following changes to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) rules last year, the University of Texas student will be able to keep every cent of that sum of money, reported US newspaper USA Today.

NCAA rules prohibit United States college athletes participating in events such as the Olympics from accepting prize money or money from endorsements. Instead, they will be awarded prize money according to terms set out by the US Olympic Committee (USOC) Operation Gold program, which sees gold medal winners earn up to US$25,000.

But following a change to the NCAA rules, which came into effect on Aug 1 last year, the Operation Gold programme now “does not apply to international student-athletes”.

The exception allows international student-athletes to keep the monetary incentives from their country’s Olympic governing body “based on their finish in one event per year that is designated as the highest level of competition for the year by the governing body.”

Schooling previously attended and trained at the Bolles School in Florida in 2009, before enrolling in the University of Texas two years ago to train with the Texas Longhorns swimming under former US head coach Eddie Reese.

He delivered on his vast potential on Saturday as he beat Michael Phelps, Chad Le Clos and Laszlo Cseh in the final of the 100m butterfly to clinch Singapore’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in a new Olympic record time of 50.39s.