• Intercollegiate Athletic Department Staff Members’ Lived Experiences with Policy Implementation for Trans Student Athletes

      Hardin, Brittney; Tift College of Education
      The number of trans students choosing to participate in intercollegiate sports is increasing. However, most NCAA members across its three divisions remain unsure of how to implement inclusive policies for trans student athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics. While current research highlights inclusive policies for trans students in the academic sector of institutions of higher education, little to no research exists that addresses how leaders in athletic departments systematically construct, implement, educate, and embed inclusive policies for trans student athletes in the athletic sector. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to gain a greater understanding and awareness of how leaders in intercollegiate athletics entrench themselves in developing and enacting inclusive policies for trans student athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics at their respective institutions. Utilizing Kotter’s (1995) eight-step model of leading change as the theoretical framework, this qualitative research emphasized the voiced experiences of 10 participants who held a range of position titles and experience within selective NCAA divisions of intercollegiate athletics in various regions of the United States. Data collection for this study consisted of 10 semi-structured interviews and the collection of pertinent web-based documents or documents shared by participants. Data analysis focused on an interpretative phenomenological analysis approach to better understand participants’ personal and social experiences with creating and implementing inclusive policies for trans student athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics at their respective institutions. Data analysis led to the finding that participants’ campus environment and continuous application of identified actionable steps were influential in the process of creating, implementing, and embedding their respective inclusive policies for trans student athletes to participate in intercollegiate athletics. The experiences of the participants were found to be transferrable to institutions seeking to develop inclusive policies for trans student athletes. However, further research should explore diverse perspectives, rather than single member experiences, from campus committees who are responsible for enacting such inclusive policies. Additionally, further research should explore the experiences of trans student athletes directly affected by these inclusive policies.