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NCAA student-athletes kick off Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign today

For third year, effort will involve sharing stories of unity and support for social justice


NCAA student-athletes will voice their support around diversity, inclusion and social justice in athletics when they participate today through Thursday in the third annual Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign

The campaign provides a platform for NCAA student-athletes to talk about why they believe diversity, inclusion and social justice are important and how engaging in all three areas can foster inclusive environments in athletics, on their campuses and in their communities. The student-athletes represent Divisions I, II and III, and many are members of their campus Student-Athlete Advisory Committees or members of the national SAACs. The athletes are working in conjunction with the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee and the NCAA office of inclusion on campaign activities this week.

“This third annual Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign gives student-athletes all across the NCAA an opportunity to show the world who they are outside of the sport they play,” said Alexis Garrett, a Troy track and field student-athlete representative serving on MOIC. “We are all more than the jerseys we wear and the talents we display on the field. This week, we get to share our stories and be proud of them, so happy campaign week!” 

The campaign features a different theme each day for the social posts and will also include a designated hashtag #NCAAInclusion. The athletes will engage primarily on Twitter, but will have extended voices on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn social accounts. NCAA staff and the MOIC support the athletes by providing them with suggested ideas and guidance to implement the initiative, which occurs each fall. The campaign has been successful over the years, trending in the top five on Twitter activation charts.

The campaign begins today with the initial theme “My Story Matters,” which explores student-athlete identities, perspectives and experiences. Wednesday’s theme, “I’ve Got Your Back,” highlights student-athletes supporting one another to foster inclusive environments. On Thursday, the theme “Together We Rise” outlines personal action steps to inclusive excellence and celebrating collaboration across the campus community. 

“MOIC is proud to co-sponsor the third annual Diversity and Inclusion Social Media Campaign with our national SAAC,” said Dena Freeman-Patton, chair of MOIC and deputy athletics director/chief operating officer at the University of New Orleans. “It is an awesome opportunity to reflect on, engage with and promote diversity, inclusion and social justice. Now more than ever, we need to come together as an association for the benefit and support of our student-athletes.”

Additionally, SAAC and NCAA Student-Athlete Experience Committee members have been proactive in collaborating on a statement of support for all student-athletes. The student-athlete groups created a “Unity Pledge,” which emphasizes their intent to be inclusive and support and encourage one another.

“Athletes are much more vocal and active with social justice and community engagement in these challenging and unprecedented times,” said Niya Blair, director of NCAA inclusion. “This social media campaign provides NCAA student-athletes with platforms where they can talk about topics that are important to them, as well as providing examples and ideas on how to creative inclusive environments.”