Are you thinking about what choices you have for competitive sport and university studies after high school?

TAS is passionate about supporting the students of our member schools with a holistic education and providing opportunities for budding athletes to reach the elite level while building a career path through university studies. With plenty of options available for career paths, sporting teams and universities around the world, it may seem daunting to think about, which is why we’re bringing you some information about Griffith University’s Sports College and their Elite Athlete Program.

We spoke with Naomi McCarthy, manager of the Sports College at Griffith University and Director on the Board of the Queensland Academy of Sport. She has represented Australia at two Olympic Games in 2000 and 2004, winning a gold medal in Athens in 2004 for water polo. As a Griffith Alumni, Naomi understands the demands elite athletes often face when juggling training, competitions and study.

The Griffith Sports College has had several successful athletes across a variety of sports and competitions, including more than 55 Olympians, 10 Paralympians and 60 Commonwealth Games athletes. There are currently more than 65 professional athletes across AFL, AFLW, NRL, rugby union, football, netball and cricket studying at the Griffith University Sports College.



What is a typical day like for an elite athlete studying at Griffith University?

With over 600 elite athletes across 40+ sports who are training and studying full time at Griffith University, a typical day can vary depending on what sport in which they compete and what degree they’re studying.

Most students’ schedules allow them to do university lectures and study throughout the day, with time available for training and practices in the morning and afternoon.

While this might sound like your average day at high school, university allows for more flexibility as you have the option to change your workload or drop down to part time study, which can be great around competitions like the Olympics.


What are the sporting facilities like at Griffith University?

Griffith University is proud to be ranked as Australia’s top university for elite athletes, and they boast state-of-the-art sporting facilities to support students of all athletic abilities. This includes a 25m and 50m pool, indoor fitness centre with personal training packages and group fitness classes, outdoor courts and sports fields, a multi-sport complex and athletics track across their five campuses. Elite athletes also have access to special rates for physiotherapy and sports science services.

For athletic students that aren’t competing at an elite level, they can instead compete in sports clubs and even represent Griffith at the FISU World University Games and UniSport Games.


What is the Elite Athlete Friendly University Network?

The Elite Athlete Friendly University Network is a program designed to help elite athletes balance their commitments and support them in achieving their personal development and qualifications around their chosen sport.

As part of this network, Griffith University has elite athlete student coordinators who work with teaching staff and one-on-one with students to provide a supportive environment, whether that’s for timetable assistance, academic tutoring or exam flexibility.

Naomi tells us that the expert support provided by Griffith is one of the many reasons that Griffith is a leading sports university. She personally helps mentor elite athlete students and finds it rewarding to see students develop and achieve their goals both in academics and sports.


What partnerships and networks for sport does Griffith University have?

Griffith University has sport partnerships with the following organisations:

  • Gold Coast Suns
  • National Rugby League
  • Queensland Academy of Sport
  • Surfing Australia
  • Swimming Australia
  • Gold Coast Titans
  • Gold Coast Academy of Sport

Naomi is proud that Griffith is a part of a number of high-profile sporting associations, as it gives students the opportunity to access placements, work experience and research across the industry.


What pathway can students take to become involved in the Griffith Sports College?

If you compete at a state, national or international level in your sport, you might be eligible to join the Griffith Sports College, however every sport is different. Students can apply for the Sports College after applying for their undergraduate degree on QTAC.

Naomi’s advice is that if you’re a student in year 12 you have options and everything is possible, you don’t need to decide between sports and academics. A real-life example of this is Griffith University having the highest number of student athletes in the country, where they’ve previously led the way at both the Rio 2016 Olympics and Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.


What scholarships do you have available for an athlete studying at Griffith?

Griffith offers the following sporting scholarships and awards:

  • Griffith Sports Excellence Scholarships – For students who have demonstrated excellence in sport and have the potential to perform at a sound academic level at a tertiary institution.
  • Ron Clarke Griffith Futures Scholarship – This supports two Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples students, who are elite athletes competing in a Commonwealth Games sport.
  • The Clem Jones Scholarship – For students from low socioeconomic backgrounds with high levels of sporting and academic ability.
  • Adam Scott Foundations Sports Business Scholarships – For students who have overcome adversities in their life and are passionate about business and sport.

Naomi suggests also looking at scholarships outside of sport as there are a number of general scholarships that can support you through the course of your study at Griffith.


If you want to find out about the Griffith Sports College, you can check out the Griffith website or contact the university on