Elite Student-Athlete Pathways

Positive Thoughts, Positive Performance 

Student-Athlete Wellbeing Journal

UniSport have released a wellbeing journal titled 'Positive Thoughts, Positive Performance'. 

The journal encompasses 21 days of self-reflection questions that promote qualities linked to improved wellbeing – these being gratitude, positive thinking and support networks.


It also includes helpful info and tips to improve wellbeing covering topics such as gratitude, building and understanding support networks, dealing with stress and mindfulness.


A similar journal was utilised by the UniRoos team that competed at the 2017 Summer Universiade with some positive feedback. UniSport have now adapted this journal for any student-athlete to use – not just those competing at the elite level. The journal can be accessed from the links below. 

Printable version

Electronic version

ESAP Program

Launched in 2014, the Elite Student-Athlete Pathway (ESAP) Program is a partnership between the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and Unisport Australia (Unisport).


A key focus of the ESAP Program is to enhance the alignment and coordination of the university and high performance sport sectors.  The ESAP Program provides leadership and direction to establish and deliver strategies that build capacity and foster collaboration between Australian Universities, the National Institute Network (NIN) and National Sporting Organisations (NSOs) to identify, monitor and support elite student-athletes.

Elite student-athlete support


High performance sport requires a significant commitment from the athlete, especially when combined with academic studies. Elite student-athletes often require extensive support to excel in both pursuits. As such, elite student-athletes may be entitled to access support from several organisations such as their university, NSO, state institute/academy of sport (SIS/SAS), sporting club, government (local, state and/or federal) or local community.  

Elite student-athletes may also be eligible to compete for the UniRoos at international university sport competition. For more information visit the UniRoos section of this website. 

University support


Australian universities support over 4,750 elite student athletes across more than 48 sports. This support is provided to assist elite
student-athletes to balance the demands of a dual career in sport and study.  Support provided by each universities varies, however common forms include:

  • Academic support (e.g. timetabling flexibility, exam/assignment flexibility);

  • Financial (scholarships and travel);

  • Personal development such as workshops and mentoring; and

  • Training facility access.


To discover more about the support and services offered by Australian universities you read the UniSport report

For information on what individual universities  offer elite-student athletes access UniSport’s series of Showcases. 

Elite athlete definition


How an elite athlete is defined will vary across the university sector. Typically universities will support elite athletes within Australia whom are categorised by their respective National Sporting Organisation (NSO) and may also be on scholarship within the network of sport institutes and academies across Australia. 

Athletes who fall outside of this cohort must be identified and recognised, or be a member of one of the following organisations as an 'elite athlete or coach':


  • Australian Institute of Sport

  • State Institutes or Academies of Sport

  • AFL Players’ Association

  • Australian Cricketers’ Association

  • Rugby Union Players’ Association

  • Rugby League Professionals’ Association

  • Australian Professional Footballers’ Association

  • National squad members from Australian Sports Commission funded sports