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NCAA awards $100,000 in research grants

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

Five 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 LGBTQ ally training, resiliency skill building and nutrition education.

A panel that reviewed the 66 proposals and selected the grant awardees represented all three NCAA divisions and was composed of athletics administrators, coaches, scholars, current student-athletes, two mental health clinicians, a student affairs professional and a faculty athletics representative. The committee, which allocated $20,000 to each finalist, felt confident the funded pilot programs 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 seventh year of the NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program. These five teams will present their findings in January at the NCAA Convention in Washington:


Project: Online application to support peer health educators

Project team: Lee Za Ong, Ph.D., and Praveen Madiraju, Ph.D.

North Dakota State

Project: Bystander training to reduce LGBTQ prejudice in sport

Project team: Christi McGeorge, Ph.D., and Russell Toomey, Ph.D. (Arizona)

Tennessee Tech

Project: Online education program connecting nutrition and mental health

Project team: Anthony P. Paradis, M.S., Samantha L. Hutson, Ph.D., Holly G. Anthony, Ph.D., and Bedelia H. Russell, Ph.D.


Project: Skills-based podcast program for coping with mental health challenges

Project team: Alicia A. Dahl, Ph.D., and Abby Coffey


Project: Data-driven “return to learn” support for concussed athletes

Project director: Traci Snedden, Ph.D., and M. Alison Brooks, M.D.

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

  • Panel chair Kelley Kish, athletics director, Lake Erie.
  • Ken Chew, director of the student counseling center, Indiana State.
  • Cornealious Cook, coordinator of student experiences, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
  • Artie Equihua, student-athlete, Wabash.
  • Mary Grace Ertel, student-athlete, UIndy.
  • S. Marlon Gayadeen, faculty athletics representative, Buffalo State.
  • Chris Keller, head soccer coach, Wabash.
  • Hannah Melchiorre, student-athlete, Purdue.
  • Meghan Roman, head softball coach and senior woman administrator, Illinois College.
  • Candice Williams, athletics counselor, Ohio State.