UW Center for Leadership in Athletics

ASHE Pre-Conference Forum on College Athletics

November 16, 2022 ASHE Pre-Conference Forum on College Athletics

Humanizing Intercollegiate Athletics in Higher Education

The purpose of the ASHE forum on intercollegiate athletics is to bring together attendees into a discussion on the role of college sports in higher education. Participants in this forum examine current topics through the conference theme, build scholarly connections at any stage of the academic journey, and advance research and policy on college sports within the ASHE community.

As we convene the forum in 2022, college athletics are in a time of intense turmoil. As the main governing body of intercollegiate sports–the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)–and member institutions struggle to keep pace with calls for reform, recent restructuring, and a resurgence in athlete rights, it becomes increasingly critical to study higher education’s intersection with intercollegiate athletics.

During this forum, we will discuss how to humanize intercollegiate athletics through conversations surrounding three potential areas. The potential topic areas highlight intersections of history and current events. First, to honor the 50th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, we will critically consider how women’s increased opportunities in higher education and intercollegiate sports have been impacted over the previous half century. Similarly, we may consider how to further humanize athletics spaces with the intersection of Title IX and trans athletes.

Second, conversations in this pre-conference will consider recent shifts in humanizing athletes’ experiences. This includes athletes’ newly obtained rights and benefits associated with name, image, and likeness (NIL) policies and recent calls to reclassify athletes as institutional employees. College athletes, particularly athletes of color and those in the revenue-generating sports of football and men’s basketball, experience practices that dehumanize and devalue what they bring to higher education. Thus, providing increased rights and potentially reclassifying this group as employees may change this narrative. However, it may also come with new challenges for scholars and practitioners to consider.

Third, given the location of the 2022 conference, we will consider discussing more location-focused topics. One potential topic is the legal case of University of Nevada Las Vegas’ (UNLV) head men’s basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian versus the NCAA and the longstanding ramifications of this court battle. This case involved due process protection under the law, which seeks to uphold humanization. Another Las Vegas oriented topic is the evolving landscape surrounding betting in college athletics. We can discuss how betting culture diminishes college athletes as nothing more than commodities that help others turn a profit.

Event Chairs

Jennifer Hoffman
University of Washington

Guillermo Ortega

Molly Harry

Please feel free to reach out to the event chair with questions about the content of the event. Questions about registration or event logistics can be directed to the ASHE Office at (202) 660-4106 or office@ashe.ws.



Now in its 13th year, the Pre-Conference Forum on College Sports engages the ASHE community on the issues of the relationship between intercollegiate athletics and higher education. For more information, contact Jennifer Hoffman in the Center for Leadership in Athletics.

Past ASHE Pre-Conferences

  • 2021 College Sports & Colonialism in Higher Education
  • 2020 Raising Athlete Voices: A Panel Discussion on Student-Athlete Activism and Free Speech
  • 2019 NCAA Division I College Sports Finances: Where the Money Comes From and Where the Money Goes
  • 2018 Moments In Athletics Scholarship: Stories of Educational Activism, Disruptive Innovation & Dialogue.
  • 2017 Power to the Scholar: Emerging Media Practices for Higher Education Discourses on College Sports
  • 2016 Advancing Student-Athlete Research and Policy For the Public Good Through Scholar-Practitioner Collaboration
  • 2015 Accessing and Analyzing NCAA Data for Athletics Research & Policy
  • 2014 Informing Research and Policy in Intercollegiate Athletics Knight Commission Database Workshop
  • 2013 Invitation to A Dialogue: Student-Athletes and Higher Education.
  • 2012 Student-Athlete Climate Survey Pre-Conference Workshop
  • 2011 Publish or Perish? Meeting the Challenges of Publishing Research on Intercollegiate Athletics
  • 2010 Aligning the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics Within Higher Education Scholarship & Policy