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Award for Diversity and Inclusion

The award represents a partnership formed by the NCAA and the Minority Opportunities Athletics Association to recognize and celebrate the initiatives, policies and practices of schools and offices that embrace diversity and inclusion across the intercollegiate athletics community.  This can be achieved through community service, professional development, hiring practices or programming activities that enhance opportunities for people of diverse cultures, backgrounds and experiences.

Diversity in itself is not enough to produce environments where all individuals and perspectives are welcomed and valued. While the presence of individuals from different cultures and backgrounds may suffice as a representation of numbers, the practice of inclusion refers to intentional creation of policies, procedures and practices that invite all voices to the decision-making table. Without these proactive measures, the benefits of diversity – increased creativity, the capacity for solving complex problems, greater satisfaction and higher quality organizational productivity – are nearly impossible to attain.


NCAA or MOAA member institutions, athletics departments and conference offices are eligible to receive the award.

Applications are reviewed for efforts in the following areas:

  • Leadership – For inclusion to be accepted and championed throughout a department, buy-in from individuals at the top levels of the leadership structure must provide visible and consistent messaging about the importance of diversity within the organization. Not only do leaders need to show support for diversity efforts, they must provide the vision, initiative and clears expectations that others embrace and imitate.
    • Examples: vision and Mission statements, core values, goals, rituals, branding, celebrations and traditions.
  • Infrastructure – For inclusive environments to be sustained, policies and systems must be implemented that support the long-term goals of the department.
    • Examples: diversity action plans, committees and task forces, hiring practices, targeted recruitment, and reward systems.
  • Evaluation & Assessment – Each campus environment has unique factors which must be considered when programs and initiatives are created. Continuous assessment and reflection about the needs, strategies and goals ensures attention to changing dynamics within the department.
    • Examples: climate surveys, exit interviews, inclusion reviews, annual reports, departmental audits, focus groups, and town halls.
  • Education – Diversity and inclusion efforts can be enhanced by creating and supporting programs aimed at increasing cultural and practical competencies for all individuals who have a role in the department’s success.
    • Examples: diversity trainings, annual orientations, speaker series, funding and time for professional development, mentoring programs, diversity conferences and seminars.
  • Collaboration – The athletics department both influences and is influence by the campus and community environments that it is embedded within. Collaboration with individuals and organizations outside of the department that have shared goals around inclusion can increase that success and impact of those programs.
    • Examples:  partnerships with campus chief diversity/inclusion officer, co-sponsored events, community outreach and engagement.

Key characteristics of award winners may include:

  • Focusing on the importance and the benefits of managing diversity, equality and promoting a culture of inclusion.
  • Raising and deepening awareness of equality and diversity issues, from both an employment and service provision point of view.
  • Providing mentoring opportunities and/or programming internally or externally.
  • Supporting inclusive and/or diversity related educational/professional development opportunities.
  • Implementing creative and inclusive work policies to support the needs of a diverse staff.
  • Fostering an environment that celebrates differences.
  • Contributions in the last year for innovative initiatives that affect the organization internally or externally.

Nomination and selection process

Nominations can be made online until the Sept. 25 deadline.  Two letters of support are required for all nominations.  Self-nominations are welcome.

Nominations will describe how the nominee has fostered leadership and commitment to enhance diversity and inclusion and expanded opportunities for students, staff and/or faculty within the athletics community.  Further, letters of support from self-nominated institutions, athletics departments or conference offices must come from members outside of the athletic department/conference office that have knowledge of their accomplishments or involvement with the programming.

The selection committee will consist of individuals from the MOAA membership, the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics and the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee.  


The 2021 winner will be recognized in January at the 2021 NCAA Convention and participate at the MOAA Symposium to be held in conjunction with the NACDA Convention in June 2021.

Past winners

To Begin the Nomination Process:

  1. Access the online nomination form at:
  2. If you are a repeat Program Hub user, log in with your “Program Hub User” email and password. To create a profile as a new user, click the “Create A New Profile” button under the “New User” section.
  3.  Follow the instructions in Steps 1 and 2. Input your school's name in “Step 3: Institution and Role” found under the “Profile” tab. If your school's name is not provided, you will be unable to access the NCAA Award for Diversity and Inclusion application under the “Applications” tab.
  4. Click the “Applications” tab located in the middle of the top navigation bar.
  5. Click “Start Registration Application –NCAA Award for Diversity and Inclusion.”
  6. Complete the nomination form. Please note that each question on the nomination form must be answered in order to submit the NCAA Award for Diversity and Inclusion application. Incomplete applications will not be considered.  Also, please note that the two letters of support must be submitted by the nominator as one pdf document.

    Letters of support from self-nominated athletics departments or conference offices should be written by members outside of the athletics department/conference office that have knowledge of their accomplishments or involvement with the programming. 
  7. Click “Save and Submit” on the final page to submit your nomination.