“Don’t Be Open or Tell Anyone”: Inclusion of Sexual Minority College Athletes

Megan R. Turk – University of Arkansas
Sarah E. Stokowski – University of Arkansas
Stephen W. Ditmore – University of Arkansas


It is important not only for athletic departments to consider the promotion of inclusion but also the overall treatment and protection of college athletes. Numerous studies (e.g., Barber & Krane, 2007; Cunningham, 2015a, 2015b; Cunningham & Melton, 2011) have demonstrated the competitive advantage of inclusion. Informed by Ottenritter’s (2012) framework for accepting and supporting LGBTQ individuals, the purpose of this case study is to understand and describe inclusion of college athletes who identify as sexual minority within a NCAA Division I institution. Through convenience and purposeful sampling (Patton, 2002), this study employed multiple data collection methods including interviews and document review. The intent of this study is to positively contribute to the development and implementation of inclusive policies and practices regarding college athletes who identify as sexual minority.