University of Georgia standout track athlete Matthew Boling has foregone his final year of NCAA eligibility to turn pro.
With the Paris 2024 Olympics less than a year away now, Boling, 23, decided not to return to Georgia to prepare for the event.
The Texas native, who will go on to focus on his “Olympic dream” described his time at the University of Georgia as “amazing” and thanked everyone who has helped him along his journey.
Boling transcended into track headlines way back in high school. The Strake Jesuit College Preparatory graduate ran the opening leg of the 4x400m relay for Team USA, to earn the silver medal at the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships.
Boling set the high school all-conditions record in the 100m when he broke the 10-second barrier in 2019 with a time of 9.98 seconds.
The then-high schooler also made headlines when he split 44.74 seconds in the final leg of the 4x400m relay at the Texas State Championships.
In 2019, Boling won the 100m and 200m at the USA U20 Championships and followed this with wins in both events at the Pan American U20 Athletics Championships.
Boling capped off his high school career by being named Gatorade national boys track and field player of the year.
His success didn’t stop in high school. In his first season at the University of Georgia, Boling placed second at the SEC Indoor Championships in the 200m before his season was cut short due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In 2021, Boling won the indoor NCAA National Title in the 200m, clocking a time of 20.19 seconds. He followed this with a 2nd and 3rd placing in the 100m and 200m, respectively, at the SEC Championships during his outdoor season.
In his final season at the University of Georgia, Boling placed 6th in the 100m with a time of 10.18 seconds and 2nd in the 200m clocking 20.13 seconds at the NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
Boling was selected to Team USA’s 4x400m men’s and mixed relay teams for the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary. Boling would only run the heats with the men’s relay team, however, the mixed team would win the gold medal and set a new world record in the process.
Alongside his impressive results, Boling has made headlines through viral videos, such as when he was seen racing University of Georgia football players in a relay.
His combination of results and viral appearances made him marketable. When the age of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) came into the NCAA, Boling was quick to partner with various companies such as Nike, Phillips Norelco, Dunkin, and Epic Games.
Before 2021, it was a violation of NCAA rules for an athlete to capitalize off their name, image, and likeness.
“College sports used to be the greatest amateur programs going, and it’s not amateur anymore. With the NIL opportunities now, it’s become a semi-professional opportunity for student-athletes,” says Chris Ault, former football and athletics staff member at the University of Nevada.
What remains a violation of NCAA rules is payment for performance.
After signing with Hawi Sports Management and Excel Sports Management, Boling will move to South Carolina to train under Alleyne Francique, who also worked with 2021 Tokoyo Olympic silver medalist Fred Kerley.
Boling will compete at the U.S. Olympic Trials in 2024 in Eugene, Oregon for a spot on the 2024 Paris Olympic Team.
Until then, Boling will continue to focus entirely on his training to do what he can to achieve his goal:
“By the time I’m at (U.S. Olympic) trials in June, I’m going to make sure no stone is left unturned,” Boling said in a press conference. “I’m embracing this next step in my journey. I believe this next step is going to get me to where I want to be.”