RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 21: Gold medalist Kyle Frederick Snyder of the United States stands on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Men’s Freestyle 97kg on Day 16 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 2 on August 21, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

With the 2016 Olympics coming to a close Sunday, many of the collegiate athletes competing in Rio will head back to their respective universities. For those who won medals, they will head back to the U.S. with a payout that could be as large as six figures.

Though the NCAA prohibits athletes from receiving pay while competing for their school, a stipulation put in place 15 years ago allows athletes to legally take the money they make while competing for their country. This rule means that the current or incoming college athletes at this year’s Games made $2.1 million in Rio thanks to medal awards.

For athletes that medal at the Olympics, the prize payout varies for each medal. A gold medal gets you $25,000, a silver medal gets you $15,000, and a bronze gets you $10,000. So U.S. swimming superstar Katie Ledecky, who is entering her freshman year at Stanford, took home $115,000 in medal awards.

However, the payout range can be more lucrative for those participating in different sports. This includes U.S. and Ohio State wrestler Kyle Synder, who won a gold medal on Sunday.

For wrestlers, however, the awards are enhanced by money connected to the sport’s national governing body, USA Wrestling. The organization’s Living The Dream Medal Fund, established in 2009, is maintained as a restricted pool of donor money aimed at keeping top competitors in the sport. The USOC allows its inclusion under the umbrella of Operation Gold.

So, last September, when Snyder won a world championship, he received $50,000. He then returned to Ohio State and won an NCAA championship.

For the Rio Olympics, the Living The Dream Medal Fund Awards were even more lucrative: $250,000 for a gold medal — an amount 24-year-old Helen Maroulis also will get for winning the women’s 53-kilogram freestyle competition — $50,000 for a silver and $25,000 for a bronze, which University of Missouri rising senior J’Den Cox claimed in the 86-kilogram freestyle competition.

More recently, NCAA athletes who compete for countries besides the U.S. can also keep their payout. Singapore swimmer Joseph Schooling, a junior at Texas, took home $740,000 for his gold medal win in the 100-meter butterfly.

Look, it’s great that these athletes get a financial reward for their work in the Olympics. But how about the NCAA thinks about the athletes in the revenue sports who don’t have a chance to represent their country in the Olympics?

[USA Today]

About Ryan Williamson

Ryan is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri and has recently returned to his Minnesota roots. He previously has worked for the Columbia Missourian, KFAN radio in Minneapolis and Feel free to email me at rwilliamson29 AT Gmail dot com.