The Student-Athlete KC, which was built in partnership with the NCAA, is a great example of the positive effect collaboration can have and a true sign of the importance of collaboration between student affairs and athletics. We are delighted to have you join with us as we work to gain a greater understanding of the needs of student-athletes on our campus and how the programs and services we provide as student affairs professionals can enhance their college experience.

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Student-Athlete Knowledge Community! We are delighted to have you join with us as we work to gain a greater understanding of the needs of student-athletes on our campus and how the programs and services we provide as student affairs professionals can enhance their college experience.


The purpose of the SAKC is to create and advance knowledge in higher education specific to how partnerships among athletics, student affairs and other campus entities could enhance the well-being of all students, including student-athletes.

The SAKC seeks to empower student affairs professionals with knowledge about athletics and the unique needs of student-athletes to enhance cross-campus collaboration and the collegiate experience for all students.

Current: 2016-19 Strategic Plan

Archive: 2013-16 Strategic Plan

Consistent with this purpose, the SAKC shares the following list of general resources.  Please see the Education Plan for additional, topic specific resources.

  • NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program. A grant program to support research and data-driven pilot projects designed to enhance student-athlete psychosocial well-being and mental health.
  • NCAA Research. The NCAA research staff conducts national research for its members on a wide variety of topics.
  • NCAA Health and Safety. The NCAA partners with member schools, the Department of Defense and the public sector to conduct research, promote policies and develop educational materials that benefit the safety, excellence and wellness of all athletes.
  • NCAA Leadership Development. The NCAA offers education and training programs, such as the Student-Athlete Leadership Forum and Career in Sports Forum, which are designed to enhance the well-being and personal development of college athletes.

The SAKC is committed to supporting and implementing the Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators through its research, presentations, and publications. 

Members are encouraged to draw upon the ACPA/NASPA Professional Competencies Rubrics as a helpful tool to gauge professional growth and foster further development.

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Knowledge Community leaders are NASPA volunteers who have generously devoted their time to their Knowledge Community. Chairs are elected by the Knowledge Community members while Regional representatives are selected from within the Region. Additional roles are selected by the Knowledge Community.


Education Plan

The Student-Athlete Knowledge Community has created this resource collection to aid student affairs professionals in understanding the unique culture of intercollegiate athletics and the unique needs of student-athletes. It is also serves as a hub for scholarship in three focus areas: Understanding athletic culture, supporting student-athlete development, and athletics and student affairs collaborations. 


Student Affairs professionals shall pursue an understanding of the impact on student-athletes of athletics time demands, physical injury, rules compliance, team or department rules, and the work hard/play hard culture of athletics. 

Culture of Athletics Overview 

Culture of Athletics Annotated Bibliography


Student Affairs Professionals shall recognize that student-athletes face a number of complex challenges and demands, which are similar to stresses that the general student population faces, yet are compounded by the pressures that accompany participation in a competitive sport. In 2014 and 2015, the SAKC leadership team reviewed literature and conducted a survey about the topical interests and priorities of SAKC members. Participants were also polled at the 2015 NASPA Annual Conference for ideas. Below are resources for the identified priority areas:

Needs of Student-Athletes Annotated Bibilography

3. Athletics and Student Affairs Collaboration

Student Affairs and athletics professionals shall collaborate to prepare student-athletes for life after sport and to enahnce campus and community engagement. Student Affairs Professionals shall consider how to program for student-athletes within the structure of campus-wide programming.

Model Structure for Student-Athlete Development

How to Program for Student-Athletes


Upcoming opportunities for presentations and/or publications through the SAKC

Contact Information
For more information or to submit your scholarship to the resource library contact:
Dr. Markesha McWilliams Henderson
University of West Georgia
SAKC Faculty Liaison

NASPA’s Online Learning Community is your home for professional development resources from NASPA. Over time, this community will not only offer online learning that’s only a click away, it will also include short courses, certificate programs, collaborative space, and online components of our popular face-to-face events. The Student-Athlete KC is excited to engage with our members via the Online Learning Community, and will use it as but one medium to activate our Education Plan.


Case Study of Student-Athletes' Life After Sport- The Life After Sports Research Team, University of Georgia

New Directions: Student Leadership Development through Recreation and Athletics- Stacey Hall, Ph.D., University of New Hampshire, and Cara McFadden, Ph.D., Elon University

Student-Athlete Mentors: An Opportunity to Integrate Athletics and Student Affairs- Jennifer Jacobsen, Grinnell College 


Research Agenda

The SAKC appreciates the involvement of SAKC members in the development of our research agenda.  In 2014 and 2015, the SAKC leadership team collected several critical data points to inform this agenda:

  • Reviewed recent literature on student affairs and intercollegiate athletics partnerships;
  • Conducted a survey about the topical interests and priorities of SAKC members;
  • Polled audience participants during the SAKC session of the  2015 NASPA Annual Conference.

These efforts yielded the following topics and timeline:

  1. Career Readiness/Life After Sport (Address in 2015-16)
  2. Mental Health (Address in 2016-17)
  3. LGBTQ (Address in 2017-18)
  4. Alcohol and other Drugs (Address in 2018-19)
  5. Race and Ethnicity

SAKC members are asked to create and share knowledge according to this agenda.  Members can: 

  • Bring awareness to these key issues. 
  • Submit content to the SAKC newsletter, which will serve as the venue for sharing knowledge on these topics. 
  • Submit articles for the annual Knowledge Community publication.
  • Submit proposals for the NASPA Annual Conference.
  • Propose and create a NASPA Online Learning Community course, webinar, etc.

Research and other knowledge generation can include:

  • Submitting original research being conducted in these areas;
  • Interviewing topical experts and submitting summaries of these conversations;
  • Providing book reviews and/or literature reviews on topical areas;
  • Sharing the best practices occurring on own or peer institutions related to the topics.

Participation in the Research Agenda is a great opportunity to be published and to hone professional development skills, all while raising awareness on the important topics identified by the profession. Be sure to review the fall SAKC Newsletter for additional details, and check this page for future updates and related calendars and deadlines.

The SAKC is committed to supporting and implementing the Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators through its research, presentations, and publications. Click here to access the Professional Competencies manual.

Contact Amber Fallucca with any questions or contributions.

Get Involved

Are you interested in helping the Student-Athletes KC? We have the following volunteer opportunities currently open:

Please contact Carrie Smith with any questions or interest.

  • Submit content requests or suggestions for the SAKC newsletter. Each newsletter shall include the following:
    • ​Best Practices
    • Empirical/Current Research
    • Literature Reviews/Hot Topics Forum
    • Interview with Professionals in the Field

And you can learn more about recent teleconference minutes of the S-AKC leaderhsip team by contacting the KC's Chair. 

Follow the SAKC on Twitter and Facebook.