Most Outstanding University Sports Program: RMIT recognised on the national stage

Most Outstanding University Sports Program: RMIT recognised on the national stage

RMIT has once again proven to be a powerhouse in the world of university sport, with their recent success at the UniSport Australia Annual Awards held in Brisbane.

RMIT has collected an unprecedented three awards, including the highly coveted ‘Most Outstanding University Sports Program’ award for its nationally recognised, innovative Sports Academy program.

The awards didn’t dissipate there, taking out the ‘Male Athlete of the Year’ and ‘Most Outstanding Contribution by a Student Volunteer’ to augment their remarkable collection of UniSport Awards.  

The RMIT Sports Academy, since its inception in 2019, has been a training ground for students to gain work integrated learning placements across expert fields including Osteopathy, Chiropractic, Exercise Science, Statistics, Media & Communication, and Myotherapy and Remedial Massage.

The Academy is a highly professional environment for a transformational student experience while preparing participants for life and work. 

RMIT Sport Manager Sally Tanner elaborated upon the importance of work integrated learning in the RMIT Sports Academy. 

“The intern's development and growth are just as important as the growth of our players, which is why RMIT employs the very best to guide and mentor them.” 

The Academy currently focuses on Basketball, Tennis, and esports, providing participants with opportunities to not only play but also work in a semi-professional sporting environment.

The Academy was created to fill a void of offering performance sports at RMIT and has quickly become a leading force in the university sports landscape.

The RMIT Sports Media Program prepared me for the work I have today. It’s been invaluable for my future career. Learning alongside great people has been a game-changer.

 – Leo Spyrou, 2023 RMIT Sports Academy Graduate. 

According to RMIT's Basketball Development Manager Steve Coffey, who has extensive experience in elite sporting environments as a player and coach, likens what RMIT are doing to many successful high-performance programs. 

"The RMIT Sports Academy is comparable to many international professional programs in terms of the range of resources and support offered, which is not commonly found among Australian programs." 

In 2022, the Academy supported 77 student interns, a significant increase from the initial 13 students.

It has received significant support from academic staff across multiple disciplines but in particular from STEM staff Dr Amanda Kimpton and Dr Emilio Kardaris, who have supported the concept since induction, designing sport-specific learning that aligns with the treatment of athletes.

A major strength of the Academy is its community connections.

The Academy has formal partnerships with the Eltham Wildcats Basketball, Mill Park Boomers Basketball, Bundoora Tennis Club, and Gripping Potential Tennis Coaching.

These partnerships have enabled students to gain employment in Videography and Photography roles with the Eltham Wildcats, coach junior basketball with the Mill Park Boomers, live stream Premier League Tennis for Tennis Victoria, and compete in Premier League Tennis for the Bundoora Tennis Club.

The Academy is on the cusp of revealing an exhilarating esports partnership that perfectly aligns with RMIT’s focus on industry engagement and innovation.

This transformative collaboration will provide students with invaluable opportunities to develop their skills in a dynamic and growing industry. 

The RMIT Big V Basketball Men's Team partnered up with community business Tile2Tin going strength to strength as a team. The RMIT Big V Basketball Men's Team partnered up with community business Tile2Tin going strength to strength as a team.

In the other awards for categories for RMIT, one of the undeniable standout performers at the 2022 UniSport Nationals in Perth was ‘Male Athlete of the Year’, RMIT’s Alastair Christie-Johnson.

Alastair had an exceptional event, winning four individual medals.

Alastair was awarded the UniSport Nationals Overall Cycling champion, as well as the Redbacks Athlete of the Year award. 

Another RMIT student who made a significant contribution to the university's sporting community is Alexander Smyth, who was named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at the UniSport Australia Annual Awards.

Alexander is also the UniSport Inclusion Ambassador, is heavily involved in the planning and delivery of RMIT’s annual pride in sport events and a strong driver in delivering RMIT sport’s vision of inclusive sport.

Read more about Alex’s achievements here

The opportunity for Alex and Alastair to shine has been provided by our Representative Sport program, widely regarded by our peers across the industry as best practice.

Congratulations to Eliza Goulding who has led the program with meticulous detail, building student leadership capability while providing a life changing experience for participants.

Story: Michael Serpell

RMIT Sports Academy

The RMIT Sports Academy is a game-changer in university sports programs, providing opportunities for students to excel in sports and gain real-world experience in a highly professional environment.

The strong culture, professionalism and efficiency by its students, staff and volunteers hold the program in great stead for the future.

19 May 2023


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RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.