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NCAA awards $100,000 in grants to 6 research teams

Teams will produce work touching wide range of areas involving student-athletes

Six research teams will receive a total of $100,000 through the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program, designed to enhance college athletes’ psychosocial well-being and mental health.

The program is aimed at funding projects that will bring tangible benefits to college athletes when used by individuals or by NCAA member schools’ athletics departments. This year’s grant recipients will produce work that touches a wide range of areas, including first-year transition, career readiness, international student-athlete well-being and social media literacy.

A panel that reviewed the 87 proposals and selected the grant awardees represented all three NCAA divisions and was composed of athletics administrators, scholars, current and former student-athletes, a mental health clinician, a student affairs professional and a faculty athletics representative. The committee, which funded grants in amounts ranging from $6,700 to $25,000, felt confident that the pilot programs funded will lead to programs that other colleges and universities can adopt for use on their campuses or adapt to fit their local needs.

This is the sixth year of the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program. These six teams will present their findings in January at the NCAA Convention in Anaheim, California:

Boise State, Illinois State

Project: A student-athlete first-year transition program.

Project team: Eric Martin, Ph.D.; Scott Pierce, Ph.D.; and Kelly Rossetto, Ph.D.

Embry-Riddle (Florida)

Project: Gamified online platform to support student-athlete career readiness.

Project team: James Pembridge, Ph.D.; Leroy Long III, Ph.D.; and Erin Minta.


Project: Developing a student-athlete well-being scale.

Project team: Jeff Reese, Ph.D.; Rena Goodwin; and Marc Cormier, Ph.D.

Lock Haven

Project: Online social media literacy program for student-athletes.

Project team: Brian Foster, Ph.D., and Patricia Lally, Ph.D.

Oklahoma State

Project: Academic orientation course for international student-athletes.

Project director: Timothy Baghurst, Ph.D.

Sacramento State

Project: Peer podcasts to develop and strengthen resilience in student-athletes.

Project team: Joyce Mikal-Flynn, Ed.D., FNP; and Bethany Crouch.

Members of the external review panel, which chose the grant recipients:

  • Panel chair Kelley Kish, athletics director, Lake Erie.
  • David Arnold, associate vice president for health, safety and well-being initiatives, Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
  • Kurt Beron, faculty athletics representative, Texas-Dallas.
  • Ken Chew, director of the student counseling center, Indiana State.
  • Emma Milstead, student-athlete, Butler.
  • Meghan Roman, head softball coach and senior woman administrator, Illinois College.
  • Anna Acosta Russian, graduate student, Indiana.
  • Byshup Rhodes, student-athlete, Wabash.
  • Katie Voelz, student-athlete, UIndy.