Sports

Perceptions Of NCAA Campus Violence Response And Prevention

To address and respond to sexual violence in the intercollegiate sports programs, the NCAA developed the “Athletics Tool Kit for a Healthy and Safe Culture” (7) for implementation on all NCAA member campuses, including UCLA, UCSD and UCSB.

In the 2018-2019 academic year, officials at UCLA,UCSD, and UCSB attested to following all of requirements outlined in the NCAA Policy on Campus Sexual Violence. We asked participants on these campuses to share their feelings on how well they thought their campus demonstrated their commitments to engaging college leadership in sexual violence prevention and offering evidence-based educational programming.

Athletes’, coaches’ and directors’ opinions of the NCAA’s commitment to engaging college leadership in sexual violence prevention

The NCAA’s first core commitment to preventing sexual violence in intercollegiate sports is leadership and making violence prevention a priority for college presidents, chancellors, athletics directors, coaches, sports medicine personnel and stakeholders.

Coaches and directors recognized their role as promoters of change – on campus and within the lives of student-athletes.

Student-athletes in leadership positions (e.g., team captains) were also aware of requirements for them to participate in formal training on violence prevention.
A perceived gap in UC leadership across campuses was transparent evaluation of violence prevention efforts implemented by the athletic department and/or mandated by the NCAA. Participants felt more should be done to assess the climate and impact of sexual violence prevention programs, overall and in the sports system. Students want to be involved in the solution but feel excluded.

“It’s my job – to help students become responsible adults. There’s only so much basketball we can teach and the teaching part means you teach them about life – how to be a good person, how to be responsible, how to be a man of your word, how to be on time, how to compete, how to be a great teammate. You know…how to have empathy for others who aren’t as fortunate as you. You’re an elite athlete – less than 1% of the population… If they don’t learn these things and they’re around us for four years, what are we doing? I shouldn’t be coaching.

[Athletic Staff Member]

Athletes’, coaches’ and directors’ opinions of the NCAA’s commitment to programming that changes behaviors and cultures that enable violence

The NCAA requires its member campuses to provide evidence-based educational programming that is tailored to meet the needs of student-athletes and provided to all who directly influence student-athletes’ decision-making and behaviors (e.g., coaches, athletics administrators, sports medicine staff, academic support personnel, faculty, family members, etc.) (8).

While many student-athletes and sports staff valued the positive intent of the NCAA violence prevention programming, most felt it was of low priority to the larger athletic department. Few staff members recalled any training other than the NCAA’s online learning module. These online training sessions were also available to student-athletes who, for the most part, felt the curriculum lacked authenticity and meaning and could be completed rapidly, without thinking or learning.

“People would scroll through the online program, like it was a joke. It was very cringy. I think it was well intended, but it wasn’t the best way to convey it. No one did it and we got to the last day and our coaches were like, ‘This is a list of everyone who hasn’t checked off that they’ve watched the video. Please do it by the end of the day.’”

[Female Athlete]

LEADERSHIP SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED IN PREVENTION
A common reflection on the education provided by the athletic department – including both in-person and online offerings – was that it reflected little thought from leadership and likely only served to achieve compliance with NCAA’s requirements.

“They did this out of CYA, which means ‘cover your ass.’ All University of California campuses have to take this online training about sexual assault and about these types of things. It’s about an hour. It’s taken online and you know that’s what everybody has to do. That’s what I call a CYA fix.”

[Athletic Staff Member]

LEADERSHIP SHOULD BE MORE INVOLVED IN PREVENTION
A common reflection on the education provided by the athletic department – including both in-person and online offerings – was that it reflected little thought from leadership and likely only served to achieve compliance with NCAA’s requirements.

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