NCAA Student-Athlete Activism and Racial Justice Engagement Dashboard

NCAA Student-Athlete Activism and Racial Justice Engagement Study

The NCAA Student-Athlete Activism and Racial Justice Engagement Study examined student-athlete perceptions and experiences in terms of civic engagement, student-athlete activism and racial justice engagement during fall 2020. Survey questions were embedded within the NCAA Student-Athlete Well-Being Survey (Fall 2020). The survey instrument was designed by NCAA Research in collaboration with the NCAA Sport Science Institute and the NCAA Division I, II and III Student-Athlete Advisory Committees. The survey generated nearly 25,000 student-athlete responses.

NCAA Student-Athlete Activism and Racial Justice Engagement Resources


Tracking Transfer in Division I Men’s Basketball

National data indicates that many of today’s college graduates transfer at some point on their way to a degree.  This is true among student-athletes, as well, and may be most visible in Division I men’s basketball. Tracking movement from school to school for research purposes can be difficult, but recent NCAA studies have done just that and uncovered some interesting findings:

  • The rate of transfer between four-year colleges in Division I men’s basketball is high relative to most other sports, but not the highest (see tables in full report).
  • The percentage of 4-4 transfers (those who transfer from one four-year institution to another) on Division I men’s basketball squads increased in 2018 and 2019 (blue line in Figure 1), while the rate of two-year college transfers in men’s basketball has remained relatively flat (red line).
  • That said, about 40% of all men’s basketball players who enter Division I directly out of high school depart their initial school by the end of their sophomore year.

Where do these transfers end up? Transfers were identified by merging the 2020 Division I Basketball Transfers list from the Verbal Commits website with all Division I men’s basketball student-athletes listed in the 2019-20 Transfer Portal. Of the scholarship players on the list, 648 were identified as transferring to another school and joining the basketball team. In 2020, 63% of the transfers went to another Division I school, which was an increase from 2019 (54%). The percentage transferring to Division II remained near 25%, while those leaving for non-NCAA colleges (two-year colleges or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics schools) declined to their lowest levels since we began tracking transfers (Figure 2). Similar to years past, 1 in 10 “up-transferred” to a more competitive program.

NCAA GOALS survey data finds close to 90% of all men’s basketball transfers say they leave for athletic reasons. Absent proper academic planning, many of these student-athletes lose credits upon transfer and register lower Academic Progress Rates and graduation rates at their new schools than seen among nontransfers


PowerPoint describing methods and data in more detail.

Download a PDF copy of this Extra Point: Tracking Transfer in Division I Men’s Basketball

(Published Feb. 2021)

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NCAA Student-Athlete Well-Being Study

The NCAA Student-Athlete Well-Being Study examined the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical and mental well-being of student-athletes during spring and fall 2020. NCAA Research collaborated with the NCAA Sport Science Institute and the NCAA’s Division I, II and III Student-Athlete Advisory Committees to design and distribute the surveys to student-athletes spanning three divisions, all sports and athletics conferences. The two surveys generated over 60,000 student-athlete responses.

The surveys explored the following areas:

  • Mental health concerns 
  • Barriers to training
  • Living and learning environments
  • Academic experiences
  • COVID-19 testing and adherence to public health guidelines (Fall 2020)
  • Sport/championship cancelations (Spring 2020)
  • Maintaining team connections (Spring 2020)
  • Impact on academic timeline and career planning (Fall 2020)
  • Desired resources

Student-Athlete Well-Being Scale

As sport psychology and mental health professionals are becoming members of athletic department medical teams, it is important to consider efficient and effective ways to screen student-athletes for psychological distress and monitor the resulting progress for those who receive psychological services. The purpose of this project is to create a culturally and developmentally appropriate measure for college student-athletes that has the capacity to serve as both a screening and treatment outcome measure. The project consisted of three phases that included student-athlete and athletic staff input on content domains, follow-up feedback on the resulting measure, and an initial psychometric evaluation.

Social Media Literacy for Student-Athletes

There is currently no standardized social media training program available for college student-athletes. Social media training is important because consequences of posting unsuitable content may include loss of reputation, eligibility, scholarships, and future career prospects. The purpose of this project was to develop and test an online social media literacy program that emphasizes showcasing one’s unique strengths, assessing message credibility for active online citizenship, enriching sport performance, and managing cyberbullying. Based on recommendations from recent research, the program was designed to cultivate responsible social media attitudes and use.

Using Peer Podcasts to Develop and Strengthen Resilience in Student-Athletes

Athletes face challenges when transitioning into the rigor of college academics and athletics, as well as injuries, redshirting, deselection, the evolving athlete identity and moving beyond sports. An innovative program using podcasts addressed these issues. Interviews with current and former student-athletes relayed their challenges but focused on their resilience and how a growth mindset evolved due to the struggles and challenges brought forth by college athletics. Insights regarding both challenges and strengths are the foundation of the peer podcasts: Athletes Interrupted: Developing and Strengthening Resilience in Student-Athletes (DSR). Podcasts were created and recorded on-campus by students and faculty. A blueprint to guide NCAA member institutions on how to create, produce and utilize resilience-building podcasts for student-athletes is available.

Career Readiness Challenge

The ability for student-athletes to translate competencies learned through athletic participation into real-world applications outside of the athletics context is as a high-impact practice. However, athletic and academic responsibilities may limit the student-athlete’s ability to engage in traditional career service activities. The objective of this project was to develop the “Career Readiness Challenge” (CRC); a career development program that utilizes game mechanics and a blended instructional platform to increase motivation and enhance attitudes towards career planning. The research provides insight into how perceptions of career readiness competencies and attitudes toward career planning relate to the students’ athletic experiences and their identity.

Finances of Intercollegiate Athletics Database


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