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‘Think Tank’ to tackle violence prevention

By Gail Dent

The NCAA will host a Think Tank on campus violence prevention in Washington, D.C., Oct. 3-4, to discuss how the issue relates to higher education and intercollegiate athletics, and to develop best practices and possible solutions.

The NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct has been reviewing the topic of campus violence since 2010. The Think Tank will sharpen the focus on interpersonal violence, specifically looking at how athletics plays a role in the campus culture as it relates to violence prevention.  

“We are engaging a diverse group of experts from research, higher education, athletics, government agencies and advocacy groups to examine campus violence and discuss real solutions to apply at the local and national levels,” said Deborah Wilson, an associate athletics director at George Mason University who chairs the sportsmanship and ethical conduct committee. “We hope it will advance effective campus engagement to promote student-athlete well-being.”

Because of the varied viewpoints and perspectives on the matter, Wilson said the committee designed the event to provide the NCAA membership with resources and best practices to help facilitate conversation among student-athletes and administrators. Wilson said the session is not being staged in response to or as a result of any specific incidents involving violent acts.

The goals of the Think Tank are to:

  • Frame the issue  of campus-based interpersonal violence specifically for the NCAA membership;
  • Examine how athletics may be positioned locally or nationally to prevent interpersonal violence on campus; and
  • Develop best practices for the NCAA membership to address campus violence.

Invited participants include NCAA staff, NCAA athletics administrators and university officials. Subject-matter experts and advocacy group representatives also will be there.  There is no registration for the event – participation is by invitation only.

The Think Tank is the fourth NCAA-sponsored event addressing campus violence. The NCAA hosted a presidential session and a panel discussion at its annual Convention last year. The Association also hosted an inaugural Violence Prevention Summit in April 2011 that included presentations and general education on violence prevention.