Date of Award

5-2018

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Lars Dzikus

Committee Members

James H. Bemiller, Leslee A. Fisher, Lois Presser

Abstract

The number of reported campus offenses at public and private four-year non-profit institutions increased 22.9% from 2014 to 2015 (United States Department of Education, 2017). In recent years, several publicized incidents of sexual assault and interpersonal violence involving student-athletes have increased pressure on the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) to use its institutional power to help improve the safety of all students. The creation of a guide, Addressing Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence: Athletics’ Role in Support of Healthy and Safe Campuses (ASAIV), resulted from NCAA initiatives. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine the ASAIV including its content and historical, political, and organizational factors that contributed to its development.I conducted interviews with the ASAIV’s key contributors and performed a thematic analysis of the guide’s content. I identified six themes: (a) key messages, (b) defining athletics, (c) deflection, (d) student-athletes, (e) coaches, and (f) addressing sport culture. I discuss how the NCAA positioned student-athletes as change agents and, in part, deflected culpability for sexual assault and interpersonal violence away from intercollegiate athletics. For athletic stakeholders and sport scholars, findings contribute to the understanding of how seriously the NCAA views sexual assault as a problem for its student-athletes and institutions, as well as the NCAA’s process for finding a solution.

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