Carrie White: Education Having An Impact In The NIL Era

Carrie White was named Vice President of Athlete Development and Engagement at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) in May 2022. In that role, she leads the development, engagement, and support of Team USA athletes off the field of play.

Carrie comes to the USOPC after serving as Chief Operating Officer of AthLife since September 2013. In that capacity, she provided leadership over the day-to-day operations of AthLife, Inc. and the delivery of professional development advising services for professional and post-professional athletes. Carrie also served as a NCAA Academic and Membership Affairs staff member focusing on Division 1 Academics since 2013. Prior to AthLife and the NCAA, Carrie served as Associate Athletic Director for Academics and Director of the Academic Support Program for Student-Athletes at North Carolina State University.

A native of Vernon, Connecticut, Carrie earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Towson University where she participated on the gymnastics team. She earned her Master of Business Administration from Elon University where she also worked in the Athletics Department. She currently resides in Charlottesville, VA with her husband.


I don’t love where we are for the student-athlete experience. I have a lot of concerns about where our point of emphasis is with student-athletes - and it’s not the student part, in my opinion. Once we have a look at the data and understand the impact of some of these moving pieces over the last three, four, five years, I don’t think it’s going to be good. I’m really curious about what the academic and graduation metrics will look like over time.

Unfortunately, I think it is the students who will suffer the most - the students who are most at risk of missing out on the educational experience. I was working on campus at a time when academics and student-athlete development was a priority. It was the time when administrators supporting those units finally got a seat at the leadership table. We finally got to inform how decisions were made in athletic departments - making sure that the student-athlete experience was exactly that, both student and athlete. 

This is not to say athletics is not important to me. It is and has always been - I believe in its transformative power. My concern now is that those individuals who are most at risk may not come out of the other side with a meaningful and impactful educational experience. What’s going to happen? We all know that the pursuit of professional sports is going to work out for some, and it’s not going to work out for most. 

I hope this current legal settlement will bring some clarity and boundaries to the space. What’s challenging, is we’ve now lived in this time where there are very few restrictions, so it’s hard to put some back in. I do, though, remain optimistic that the pendulum is going to swing back. 

The transfer portal has definitely played a role in creating this new environment. It’s hard for me to point to a singular thing that was most impactful in changing the landscape because of all of the changes. We saw changes in transfer rules and NIL, while also dealing with the impacts of COVID. We weren’t ready to deal with those changes all at once. 

My concern with the portal is that it makes transferring easier. Sometimes the best thing for athletes to do is work through the hard times, instead of simply picking everything up and moving somewhere new. 

The portal and the NIL approach create an opportunity for a unique financial literacy curriculum to be delivered to them. I’m not sure whose responsibility it is - if it’s the collectives’ or not. I still think about the institution and the ethical responsibility it has to provide an educational experience. But I absolutely think those young people should be getting financial education. I can’t even imagine getting the money they are getting when I was 18 without some information and learning about how to navigate finances. 

When the NIL landscape changed, I did see this moment coming, although I didn’t think it’d be as chaotic as the spot we are in right now. But I always had concerns, and never really liked it. My concerns were always - and remain – trying to create the most positive environment for the most successful student-athlete outcomes and impacts.