Athlete and Parent Resources

This page contains a variety of resources that can be useful to both athletes and parents of athletes. As new content is added it will be placed near the top. If content is removed it will be listed as such and the reason for it's removal listed (if applicable).


ECAC Board of Directors Casts Historic Vote...

Colleges/Universities that Offer Adapted Sports

US Dept. of Education - Dear Colleague Letter: Students with Disabilities in Extracurricular Athletics

Creating Equal Opportuniti4s for Children and Youth with Disabilities to Participate in Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics


ECAC Board of Directors Cast Historic Vote to Add Varsity Sports Opportunities for Student-Athletes with Disabilities in ECAC Leagues and Championships

DANBURY, Conn. – On January 15, 2015, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Board of Directors adopted an inclusive sport strategy that will provide new intercollegiate athletic opportunities for student-athletes with a variety of disabilities attending ECAC member colleges and universities in Division I, II and III.  By taking this pioneering action, the ECAC becomes the first NCAA sanctioned conference to provide a range of options for students with disabilities to realize their dreams of competing as intercollegiate varsity athletes.

“The ECAC is proud to promote and provide opportunities to potentially thousands of student-athletes with disabilities who attend ECAC member institutions,” said ECAC President and CEO Dr. Kevin T. McGinniss. “This historic action systematically includes student-athletes with disabilities in intercollegiate sports for the first time in any NCAA Division.  I believe this action will allow many more students, including wounded veterans returning to college, to experience the benefits of competitive intercollegiate sports.”  

This strategy includes providing reasonable accommodations in existing events and adding adaptive-specific events to existing ECAC Championship sports such as track & field, swimming, rowing, and tennis.  Over the coming few years, the ECAC also aspires to add new leagues and championships for adaptive team sports such as wheelchair basketball, sled hockey, goal ball and sitting volleyball.  To help insure the success of this strategy, the ECAC will provide all appropriate and necessary governance, administrative, operations, and sport technical support. 

The ECAC Board’s action culminated after a year of planning and discussions led by Dr. Ted Fay, who is a sport management professor at SUNY Cortland and a Paralympic expert as well as an ECAC Senior Advisor on Inclusive Sport.  He engaged former and current Paralympic athletes, coaches, intercollegiate sport administrators and athletic directors, and key officials from disability sport organizations and national sport governing bodies in helping to design this strategy. Work on this initiative will begin immediately with the first results anticipated to be seen in the 2015-16 academic year.   

About the ECAC

In the 76 years since its inception, the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) has emerged as the nation's largest NCAA conference. The ECAC has grown considerably from its charter membership of 58, currently boasting over 300 members in Divisions I, II and III, ranging in location from Maine to South Carolina, and westerly to Missouri.  At the conclusion of the 2014-15 academic year, the ECAC will host nearly 100 championships in 32 men's and women's sports as the sponsors of over 5,800 varsity teams and 111,000 male and female athletes. For more information, visit



American Collegiate Society for Adaptive Athletics

Colleges/Universities that Offer Adapted Sports

Sports and Team (types listed if known):

Dear Colleague Letter: Students with Disabilities
in Extracurricular Athletics (January 25, 2013)

Background and Fast Facts


On January 25, 2013, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released a Dear Colleague Letter (“Guidance”) clarifying the existing obligations of school districts to provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in extracurricular athletics. You can find the Guidance at


Why did ED Issue the Guidance?

The Guidance, based on a long-standing disability law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the Department’s implementing regulation, was issued at the recommendation of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).  A June 2010 GAO report found that students with disabilities participated in athletics at consistently lower rates than students without disabilities, and that schools lacked guidance on their responsibilities.  That GAO report can be found at

What does the Guidance say?

The Guidance says that students with disabilities have the right, under Section 504, to an equal opportunity to participate in their schools' extracurricular activities.  Ensuring that students with disabilities are given the opportunity to play alongside their peers—both with and without disabilities—is at the heart of the Guidance.

Does the Guidance Create New Legal Requirements?

No, the Guidance does not add new legal requirements.  It explains existing legal requirements and provides examples to inform school districts and other covered entities about how OCR evaluates whether they are complying with their legal obligations.  ED’s Section 504 regulation was issued in 1977 and has always applied to extracurricular activities, including athletic activities. 34 C.F.R. § 104.37.  This regulatory provision is discussed in pages 6-12 of the Guidance.

Does the Guidance Only Apply to Elementary and Secondary Schools?

Although the Guidance addresses K-12 activities, the main principles of inclusion and equal access it embodies apply to postsecondary schools as well.  Generally, the Guidance also applies to interscholastic athletic associations.

What Does the Guidance Say That School Districts Must Do?

A school district must provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in its existing extracurricular athletic programs.  This means that a school district must not exclude students based on stereotypes and assumptions. It also means that a school district must make an individualized inquiry to determine if there are reasonable modifications, or necessary aids and services, which would allow a student with a disability the chance to take part in the activity.  Examples could include:

Must School Districts Change Essential Elements of an Athletic Activity to Meet these Obligations?

No. The requirement to provide an equal opportunity does NOT mean:

The Guidance also notes that a school district need not provide a modification, aid, or service if doing so would put an undue burden on its program.  In most cases, however, we believe that providing reasonable modifications and necessary aids and services should not be unduly burdensome.

Does the Guidance Require School Districts to Create Separate, Parallel Extracurricular Athletic Programs for Students with Disabilities?

No.  Where students with disabilities cannot be included in existing extracurricular athletic activities, even with reasonable modifications and necessary aids and services, the Guidance urges–but does not require–that school districts create additional opportunities for students with disabilities to participate in separate or different extracurricular athletic activities.

The Department’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a guidance document that, among other things, includes suggestions on ways to increase opportunities for children with disabilities to participate in physical education and athletic activities.  That guidance, “Creating Equal Opportunities for Children and Youth with Disabilities to Participate in Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics,” August 2011, is available at

How can I get help from OCR?

OCR offers technical assistance to help schools achieve voluntary compliance with the civil rights laws it enforces and works with schools to develop approaches to preventing and addressing discrimination.  A school should contact the OCR enforcement office serving its jurisdiction for technical assistance.  For contact information, please visit ED’s website at

A complaint of discrimination may be filed by anyone who believes that a school that receives Federal financial assistance has discriminated against someone on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age.  The person or organization filing the complaint need not be a victim of the alleged discrimination, but may complain on behalf of another person or group.  For information on how to file a complaint with OCR, visit or contact OCR’s customer service team at 1-800-421-3481 (TDD 1-800-877-8339).

This original article can be read by clicking here.



Creating Equal Opportuniti4s for Children and Youth with Disabilities to Participate in Physical Education and Extracurricular Athletics

This article can be viewed by clicking the link below - published August, 2011


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