Including the Exclusive: A Framework for Diversity and Inclusion Training in Intercollegiate Athletics

Including the Exclusive: A Framework for Diversity and Inclusion Training in Intercollegiate Athletics

Abeni El-Amin, Ramon Johnson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-4803-8.ch012
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This research provides an analysis of Kentucky State University's (KSU) Athletic Departmental Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) training series based on Wolfe's leadership competencies. Utilizing Wolfe's competencies of leaders profile to measure DEIB training effectiveness provided a framework to evaluate the program. Wolfe's four domains are Domain 1: Vision, Values, and Culture; Domain 2: Personal Skills, Mindsets, and Values; Domain 3: Capacity Building for Innovation and Continuous Improvement; and Domain 4: Shared Responsibility and Structures for Continuous Improvement, Innovation, and Assessment. It was found that leaders must focus on the internal complexities of leadership and organizational development, as well as operations. The goal of this chapter is to illuminate areas of growth as well as proficiency in DEIB training. Described is the execution of the DEIB training and development program in an intercollegiate athletic setting at a Historical Black College and University (HBCU).
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The Meaning of Including the Exclusive in Relation to Intercollegiate Athletics

Society often perceives athletes as privileged and entitled (Bimper, 2017). This perception is credited to the popularity that athletes possess based on their physical makeup, mental fortitude, and athletic prowess. Unrealistic as it may be, this assessment has prohibited athletes' inclusion, assuming that athletes are always included. The reality is that this idea could not be further away from the truth (Singer, 2008). Ironically, false concepts like this contribute to athletes being overlooked because of their visibility. Whether it is football on a Friday night or an ongoing newsreel on ESPN, the lives of athletes are constantly accessible and allow society to formulate the opinion that athletes do not need anything.

Former athletes can personally attest to the societal omissions related to athletes (Rubin, 2016). High school counselors would work diligently with non-athletes to secure federal grant and aid opportunities and scholarships so that these students could go to college. The same urgency in providing these services to athletes is not as prevalent (Heddy et al., 2017). Counselors assume that athletes had athletic scholarship opportunities or that coaches were facilitating the process, so the need to assist the student-athlete was not their priority (Purdy et al., 1982). On the other hand, coaches assumed that counselors were obligated to assist all students. The result was that everyone assumed someone was completing a task that anyone could have completed but instead, no one did. Consequently, the student-athlete suffers due to societal perceptions and assumptions.

These assumptions continue to manifest more as athletes transition from high school to college. Whether an athlete is a Division I athlete or a Junior College athlete, society assumes that the athlete has access to unlimited resources. Because of the misconception consciously omits the athlete from gaining access to resources and services accessible to non-athletic students (Singer, 2008). The reality in most cases is that athletes need more access to resources because the number of athletic scholarships is limited, and the number of athletes that receive scholarships is even more limited. Tutorial services, mental health services, counseling, time management seminars, and advising are all services that are accessible for non-athlete students; however, the design was not intended for students that have responsibilities and obligations outside of the realm of just being a student.

Additionally, although student services are available, the pressures of athletics do not permit time to take advantage of student services. Moreover, academic scholarship services are not convenient or readily available (Singer, 2008). Outside academics, the athlete has additional responsibilities, whether team meetings, practices, games, private workouts, film study, or media interactions. Indeed, the athlete is overly committed and under-supported.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Chief Diversity Officer (CDO): The Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) position has emerged as an executive-level position, which delivers strategic focus for diversity planning and execution efforts ( Leon, 2014 ).

DEIB Initiatives: Organizational efforts to promote awareness of diverse racial, ethnic, and cultural identities within diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives with intentionality and a desire for change ( El-Amin, 2022 ).

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