The Impact of Mentorship in Intercollegiate Athletics: Perspectives From Female Athletic Administrators at the Division II and Division III Levels

Jennifer L. O’Neill – Gonzaga University
Jimmy Smith – Gonzaga University


The number of women working in intercollegiate athletic administration has increased over the last several decades. With more women looking to pursue careers as sport leaders, there is a need to provide them with career development opportunities. Mentoring has been shown to increase career success as well as improve employee retention and productivity. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of mentor relationships on the careers of female athletic administrators at the NCAA Division II and Division III levels. Mentor Role Theory was utilized as a framework to explore the specific career-related and psychosocial mentor functions that the administrators perceived as important. The results reiterated previous findings that mentorship was important for career success and provided perspectives on the mentor functions viewed as valuable. The feedback also indicated a need for determining how to provide mentorship opportunities at these smaller Division II and Division III institutions. This information has potential benefits for athletic departments and sport organizations seeking to provide more professional development opportunities for women in athletic administration.