New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

NYU announces new athletics director, Jake Olkkola

Olkkola will be NYU’s first permanent athletics director since the university’s previous director, Stuart Robinson, left last semester following an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against him.
Jake Olkkola was announced as NYU’s new director of Athletics, Intramurals, and Recreation on April 23, 2024. (Courtesy of NYU Athletics)

NYU’s athletics department announced that Jake Olkkola, who currently serves as the deputy director of athletics at Johns Hopkins University, will be the university’s next athletics director. The announcement comes close to eight months after NYU broke ties with former athletics director Stuart Robinson following an investigation into sexual harassment claims against him. 

“Since my initial engagement with NYU, I’ve been inspired by the passion and dedication to fostering student success in all aspects,” Olkkola said in a press release. “It’s a tremendous honor for me to take the helm of this department, aiming to elevate it to even greater heights of excellence.”

Olkkola, who has been working in higher education and athletics for over two decades, joined the Johns Hopkins athletics department in 2019 as a senior associate athletic director before being promoted to deputy director of athletics in 2021. Under his leadership, student-athletes won the 2022-23 Division III Learfield Directors’ Cup title. He also helped plan and lead a Recreation Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging program.

The university had hired the higher education search firm AGB last semester to find and background check candidates shortly after Robinson’s departure from the university, multiple sources close to the athletics department, who asked to remain anonymous due to employment concerns, told WSN. An executive search firm NYU had used to hire Robinson back in 2020 had failed to find a 2018 gender discrimination lawsuit in which Robinson was named during its vetting process.

Prior to his time at Johns Hopkins, Olkkola served as director of recreation for Harvard University’s athletics department in 2003 — where he worked for five years overseeing the university’s club sports as well as a $16 million renovation of the school’s athletics center. Olkkola then took a position in the athletics department at the University of Delaware in 2010, and later worked as athletics director for Colby College in 2017, where he helped multiple programs win conference championships for the first time ever.

Olkkola will officially enter his role as director of athletics, intramurals and recreation on June 10. After Robinson’s departure from the university in September 2023, Senior Vice President for University Life, Jason Pina, took over his position in an interim capacity.

“Throughout this process, it became evident that Jake brings a demonstrated ability to manage a complex enterprise; an understanding of the integral relationship between athletic and academic excellence within a Division III program,” Pina said in the press release. “He has a keen awareness of the opportunities and challenges presented by NYU’s unique location in an urban environment and its impact upon our students’ experience of sport and, above all, an approach to leadership grounded in integrity and compassion.”

An NYU spokesperson and Olkkola did not respond to requests to comment.

Contact Ania Keenan at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Ania Keenan
Ania Keenan, Features Editor
Ania Keenan is a sophmore double majoring in Journalism and Data Science. She is from California and loves black coffee, long walks, writing poetry and reading non-fiction. When she is not working on the next features investigation, you can find her running along West Side Highway, listening to audiobooks or complaining about the cold.

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