Challenges and Best Practices for Sexual Violence Prevention and Education in Division I Athletics Departments

Molly Harry – University of Arkansas
Katrina Garry – University of San Francisco

The NCAA provides athletics departments with guidance through its Policy on Campus Sexual Violence (2021), but practitioners tasked with implementing Title IX and preventing sexual violence and educating stakeholders on these areas still encounter many obstacles related to training and compliance. However, practitioners have also developed strategies to tackle these obstacles. Through interviews with practitioners working at the nexus of intercollegiate athletics and Title IX (n = 15), the purpose of this study was to uncover challenges related to sexual violence prevention and education and ways these participants chose to address said challenges. Through a conceptual combination of bottom-up policy implementation and procedural justice, three challenges and associated best practices materialized from participants’ interviews. The first challenge was (1a) a resistance to sexual violence education from stakeholders which was addressed by the best practice of (1b) creating a community mindset. The second challenge was (2a) an emphasis on external image by the institution/athletics departments with the accompanying best practice being (2b) proactive stakeholder participation. The third challenge participants discussed was (3a) information gatekeeping which was dismantled by establishing the best practice of (3b) a scaffold of trust and communication between Title IX officials and athletics.