UW Center for Leadership in Athletics

ASHE Pre-Conference Forum on College Athletics

2021 Conference – College Sports & Colonialism In Higher Education

Virtually Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 1:00pm-3:30pm Eastern 

Participants in this professional development session will learn more about the role of colonialism and colonial thinking in the structures and policies of college sports. These discussions will be framed around sports in Latin America. Puerto Rico has a long history of colonization, even before becoming an American territory in the late 1890s. Sport has played an important role in Puerto Rico’s colonial history. The United States used sport to promote western norms in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans also used sport to create a national identity apart from the United States.

Universities are also spaces where sport is used in colonization. Whether through the exploitation of student-athletes, the use of sport to promote western values as America expanded into the lands of Native Americans, or through the glorification of colonialism in team nicknames, colleges use sport to promote colonialist values.

During this forum, we will discuss some of the parallels between how sport is used in Latin America and within higher education to promote colonialism. Participants will be introduced to how the United States imports westernized colonialism into Latin America through sport, including through U.S. intercollegiate athletics. We will also explore the similarities and differences between the colonialist experiences of Latinos/as and the colonialist experiences of college student-athletes.

The opening session features an interview of Dr. Antonio Sotomayor, University of Illinois, conducted by Dr. Jorge Iber, Texas Tech University, on the role of sport in the Puerto Rican construction of national identity. This conversation will reveal how sport has been integral in the development of Puerto Rico’s autonomist political culture and agency in international politics.

During the Q&A and discussion sessions, participants will learn about the implications for college sports and how to integrate this knowledge of Puerto Rico into their teaching and research on college sports and colonialism in higher education.

Agenda (eastern time):

  • 1:00pm – Welcome
  • 1:15-1:45pm  Conversation with Dr. Antonio Sotomayor & Dr. Jorge Iber
  • 1:45 – 1:50pm  Break
  • 1:50 – 2:30pm  Discussion and Q&A with Dr. Antonio Sotomayor & Dr. Jorge Iber
  • 2:30 – 2:35pm – Break
  • 2:35 – 3:15pm  Discussion: Teaching Colonialism in College Sports
  • 3:15 – 3:30pm – Closing

Event Chairs:

Jennifer Hoffman – University of Washington

Guillermo Ortega – Idaho State University

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 (702) 895-2737 or office@ashe.ws.


  • Late Registration (By October 22, 2021):
    • Students (regardless of ASHE membership): $10
    • Current ASHE members: $30
    • Non-Members: $40

Learn more and register at www.ashe.ws/athletics2021



COVID-19, Black Lives Matter, and student-athlete name image likeness (NIL) policies are shaping college athletics in unprecedented ways. Too often, however, discussions around these topics do not center the voices of those most affected by these issues: the student-athlete. In this ASHE pre-conference forum, we will engage in a panel discussion with current student-athletes from across the US.  This student-athlete-only format centers the voices of college athletes on the changes that directly impact them. From monetizing their NIL, to mobilizing over Black Lives Matter, to speaking up about their health, this forum will focus on strategies to support college athlete voices in activism and free speech.


Kain Colter, co-founder of the College Athletes Players Association and former NCAA Division I Athlete


Kirsten Hextrum, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Oklahoma and former NCAA Division I Athlete


  • Michelle Atherley, Member of University of Miami Black Student-Athlete Alliance

  • Anna Cockrell, Co-founder of United Black Student-Athletes Association at USC
  • Maya McClendon, Founder of Sports Metaphor, LCC and affiliate with the #WEAREUNITED college-athletes rights movement

  • Angel Noriega, Former Division I Athlete & Athlete Activist



Now in its 12th year, the Pre-Conference Forum on College Sports engages the ASHE community on the issues of the relationship between intercollegiate athletics and higher education.
Past ASHE Pre-Conferences
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