Athletics Administrators’ and Coaches’ Perspectives and Experiences Related to Student-Athletes’ Engagement in Social Activism

Naadiya C Hopkins, Fayetteville State University


The portrayal of activism by professional athletes has been a longstanding occurrence in the United States. Athletes across the nation have combated various social issues that have impacted the lives of individuals of color. A reawakening of activism across college campuses in the United States during this time, particularly amongst student-athletes, has created a need to provide support and development opportunities for student athletes and athletics administrators. The purpose of this mixed method study was to explore the types of activist behaviors that may be portrayed by athletics administrators and to understand the following: 1) their perceptions of social and athlete activism; 2) their perceptions of the social issues they believed student-athletes should address; and 3) to uncover past resources athletics administrators have used to help student-athletes develop their athletic, social, and activist identities. The following four research questions were investigated: RQ 1 : What are the activist orientations of athletics administrators at NCAA Division I, II, & III Universities?; RQ 2: How do athletics administrators define social activism at NCAA Division I, II, & III Universities?; RQ 3: What are the perceived social issues athletics administrators believe their student-athletes should address?; and RQ 4: What strategies or resources do athletics administrators use to assist their student-athletes in the developing their intersecting identities as individuals, athletes, and athlete activist at NCAA Division I, II, & III Universities? The methodological design was informed by mixed methodological sequential techniques of QUAN-QUAL for the analyses of the data collected from the participants. A concurrent nested research approach was utilized to implement the Activism Orientation Scale (AOS) with participants (N= 48) and a basic interpretive approach was chosen to analyze data collected from participants (n=7) through a semi-structured interview and a follow up questionnaire to provide a complete analysis of the perceptions and experiences shared by the athletics administrators. A composite score of the AOS was connected to the experiences of the participants and the results of the qualitative analysis in which 5 themes and 2 subthemes were developed. Selected findings seemed to suggest that the orientations of athletics administrators were low to moderate and factors and barriers that may affect student-athletes engaging in social activism were unveiled. Additionally, the Hopkins-Moffett Student-Athlete’ Activist Development Model is introduced and discussed for future research and future recommendations are provided.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Higher education|Sports Management

Recommended Citation

Hopkins, Naadiya C, "Athletics Administrators’ and Coaches’ Perspectives and Experiences Related to Student-Athletes’ Engagement in Social Activism" (2020). ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. AAI29005908.