Athletic trainers in employment leadership positions at National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institutions

Authors: Dr. Lindsey H. Schroeder

Corresponding Author:
Lindsey H. Schroeder Ed.D., LAT, ATC, CES
601 S. College Rd.
Wilmington NC, 28403-5956
schroederl@uncw.edu
910-962-7188

Dr. Schroeder is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Wilmington in the Athletic Training Program. She is a licensed and certified athletic trainer and is also an alumnus of the United States Sports Academy.

Athletic trainers in employment leadership positions at National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institutions

ABSTRACT
The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine the percentage, by sex, of athletic trainers (AT) in employment leadership positions at National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I (DI) institutions. This percentage was analyzed specifically in the power five conferences. Participants were 351 institutions in 32 conferences. A list of institutions by conference was obtained from the NCAA website. Each institution’s athletic webpage was used to locate the name, picture, and employment bio of the athletic trainer with the upmost authority. Manifest coding was used to note the sex of each athletic trainer holding a leadership position. One institution did not list who was responsible for its athletic training program resulting in a final sample of 350 institutions. Results found 286 institutions had male ATs (81.71%), 60 had a female AT (17.14%), and four had dual representatives (1.14%) in positions such as Assistant/Associate AD for Sports Medicine, Director of Sports Medicine, or Head Athletic Trainer. When separated by the power five conferences, 60 male ATs (92.3%) held leadership positions. For the remaining five institutions, Female ATs held four positions (6.15%) with one institution having dual representatives (1.54%). Currently, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association membership consists of a greater number of females ATs (55.16%) than male ATs (44.67%). Even with more female ATs in the profession, the representation of female ATs in the position of upmost authority in NCAA DI member institutions has not increased in the last 20 years.

Keywords: Athletic Trainers, Sex, NCAA

INTRODUCTION
There is no recently published material on the percentage of athletic trainers (AT) by sex in employment leadership positions. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) distributed the last publication in 2010 based on the 2009-2010 academic year. That document reported that women held a low percentage of head athletic trainer positions at the Division I (DI) level (4). While inequality is not unique to athletic training, it is nonetheless troublesome, especially now that there are slightly more women than men in the profession (10). The exact number of female ATs in positions of authority in DI is unknown.

METHODS
The study was a quantitative content analysis. Data were collected for this groundbreaking exploratory research through a quota sample of the population by obtaining a list of all 2016-2017 NCAA DI member institutions organized by conference from the NCAA website. Thirty-two conferences and 351-member institutions were recognized, which is not a static number due to constant shifting in the number of NCAA DI institutions and conference membership. ATs were identified by each institution’s website with name, photo, employment narrative, and job title. Careful attention was placed on institutions with dual conference memberships, one for football and another for remaining intercollegiate sports, so an institution was not counted twice.

Manifest coding was used to count AT’s sex at each institution (2). Once noted, the breakdown of AT’s sex was also categorized by conference membership. Sex was determined after looking at an employee name, institutional photo, and if available, reading an employment narrative. Total sex percentages were calculated for each NCAA DI conference. Additional focus was placed on the power five (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big East Conference, Big Ten Conference, and Pac-12 Conference). Percentages for each of these power five conferences was also tabulated for a total percentage. To ensure accuracy and inter-coder reliability, a Ph.D. research editor independently reviewed results.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Of 351 institutions, one institution in the Southland Conference did not recognize an individual with the upmost authority in sports medicine/athletic training. Therefore, the results are based on 350 institutions where a leadership position was noted. Of those institutions, 286 had male ATs (81.71%) in positions such as Assistant/Associate AD for Sports Medicine, Director of Sports Medicine, or Head Athletic Trainer. Additionally, 17.14% (n = 60) of leadership positions were held by females with the remaining four institutions (1.14%) having dual positions held by a female and male (Table 1). When the conferences were separated into the power five (Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference, Big East Conference, Big Ten Conference, and Pac-12 Conference), 92.3% (n=60) of leadership positions were held by male ATs. Female ATs held only four positions (6.15%) with one institution having dual representatives (1.54%) (Table 2).

In 2009-2010, of 400 Head Athletic Trainers at NCAA DI institutions, 325 were male (81.25%) and 75 (18.75%) were female (4). Yamamoto, Rubley, Stahura, Holcomb, and Mangus (11) found the 173 NCAA DI Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) institutions to be male-dominated with 97% having a male AT. A longitudinal study conducted 1977-2014 (1) found approximately one of three head athletic trainers in NCAA member institutions were female with DI having the smallest percentage at 19.5%. This 2014 percentage was slightly higher than the 18.9% found in 1998. These findings indicate a static representation by sex over the last 20 years. The 2009 National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) membership data were comprised of 9,678 male ATs (52.1%) and 8,893 female ATs (47.9%) employed in college and university, secondary school, and clinic settings (5). Currently, overall membership representation from the June 2017 NATA ethnicity demographic data reveals a shift in percentages with 44.67% male ATs (n=21,546) and 55.16% female ATs (n=26,604) (10). Even though the percentage of female ATs has increased in the last seven years, the percentage of representation in positions of upmost authority has remained level.

Previous research found females in the role of head AT at NCAA DI institutions acquired the position after persistence, developing leadership skills, and encouragement. Multiple barriers to career advancement such as work-family challenges, organizational barriers, as well as women holding back, were also identified (7). Similar findings were noted in a study on female ATs employed as head AT in NCAA DI FBS. The most frequently cited barrier is work-life balance (9). Additional barriers to advancement were low aspiration and the old boys’ club. Female ATs in the positon of upmost authority cited mentoring and networking as facilitators for advancement (3).

CONCLUSIONS
The purpose of this study was to develop an updated list of sex representation in athletic training leadership positions at NCAA DI institutions specifically in the power five conferences. The results revealed no substantive increase in female AT representation at NCAA DI institutions in the last 20 years. Additionally, this percentage is dramatically smaller at power five institutions.

There were a few limitations to this study. It is important to note the number of NCAA DI member institutions is not static and changes constantly. Therefore, these results apply only for the time investigated. Additionally, confirmation of sex was done through institutional websites by viewing names, photos, and departmental bios. Therefore, there is an inherent limitation in the validity of manifest coding (2). Additionally, a limitation of the methodology was the inability to confirm these findings with each identified athletic trainer.

Future research should evaluate the representation of females in the profession of athletic training across employment settings. Researchers need to continue to follow trends to investigate whether this contributes to attrition. Additional research can also investigate the contributing factors to this stagnant ratio of female athletic trainers in positions of upmost authority in NCAA DI member institutions.

APPLICATIONS IN SPORT
The NCAA used to publish the demographic breakdown of staff at member institutions. However, the last publication was in 2010 (4). With the increase in women entering the profession, it is imperative to note how many currently hold leadership positions in the NCAA DI. “The domination of the athletic training profession by young, entry-level clinicians and the number of athletic trainers prematurely leaving the profession minimizes mature, seasoned professionals to model life-long work habits” (6, p.2). Intuitively, if women leave the profession early, there will be fewer women in senior leadership positions and fewer women to serve as mentors or role models for young women (8).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author would like to acknowledge, Dr. Adrian Anast, Ph.D., for her editorial support. There was also no financial conflicts of interest with this research.

REFERENCES
1. Acosta, V.R. & Carpenter, L.J. (2014). Women in intercollegiate sport: a longitudinal, national study. Thirty one year update: 1977-2014. Unpublished manuscript. Retrieved from http://www.acostacarpenter.org/2014%20Status%20of%20Women%20in%20Intercollegiate%20Sport%20-37%20Year%20Update%20-%201977-2014%20.pdf

2. Babble, E. (2014). The Basics of Social Research, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

3. Gorant, J. (2012). Female head athletic trainers in NCAA Division I (IA Football) Athletics: How they made it to the top. Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1113&context=dissertations

4. Irick, E. (2010). 2009-2010 Race and gender demographics – member institutions report. NCAA Publications. Retrieved from http://www.ncaapublications.com/productdownloads/2010RaceGenderMember.pdf.

5. Kahanov, L., & Eberman, L.E. (2011). Age, sex, and setting factors and labor force in athletic training. Journal of Athletic Training, 46(4), 424-430. Retrieved from http://natajournals.org/?code=nata-site

6. Kahanov, L., Eberman, L.E., & Juzeszyn, L. (2013). Factors that contribute to failed retention in former athletic trainers. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 11(4), 1-7. Retrieved from http://nsuworks.nova.edu/ijahsp/

7. Mazerolle, S.M., Burton, L.B., & Cotrufo, R. (2015). The experiences of female athletic trainers in the role of the head athletic trainer. Journal of Athletic Training, 50(1), 71-81. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-49.3.50

8. Mazerolle, S.M. & Gavin, K. (2013). Female athletic training students’ perceptions of motherhood and retention in athletic training. Journal of Athletic Training, 48(5), 678-684. https://doi.org/10.4085/1062-6050-48.3.05

9. Momsen, K.M. (2014) Perspectives of female leaders in athletic training. Retrieved form http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1355&context=etds

10. National Athletics Trainers’ Association (n.d.). NATA. Retrieved from https://www.nata.org/

11. Yamamoto, M., Rubley, M.D., Stahura, K.A., Holcomb, W.R., & Mangus, B.C. (2011). Gender equity in athletic training: an analysis of athletic training positions in NCAA division I athletics. Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 5(3), 169-182. Retrieved from https://www.novapublishers.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=1673

TABLES WITH CAPTIONS
Table 1. NCAA DI Conference Athletic Trainer Demographic Data

NCAA DI Conference

Female AT

Male AT

Dual AT

Atlantic Sun Conference

1

7

0

America East Conference

2

6

1

American Athletic Conference

1

11

0

Atlantic 10 Conference

3

11

0

Atlantic Coast Conference

1

14

0

Big 12 Conference

0

10

0

Big East Conference

2

8

0

Big Sky Conference

3

9

0

Big South Conference

2

8

0

Big Ten Conference

2

12

0

Big West Conference

3

6

0

Colonial Athletic Association

1

9

0

Conference USA

1

13

0

Horizon League

2

8

0

Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

0

11

0

Mid-American Conference

2

10

0

Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

8

5

0

Missouri Valley Conference

3

7

0

Mountain West Conference

1

10

0

Northeast Conference

3

7

0

Ohio Valley Conference

1

10

1

Pac-12 Conference

0

11

1

Patriot League

0

9

0

Southeastern Conferences

1

13

0

Southern Conference

1

9

0

Southland Conference

1

11

0

Southwestern Athletic Conference

6

4

0

Sun Belt Conference

2

10

0

The Ivy League

2

6

0

The Summit League

2

7

0

West Coast Conference

2

7

1

Western Athletic Conference

1

7

0

Total

60

286

4

Percentages

17.14%

81.71%

1.14%

Table 2. NCAA DI Power Five Conference Athletic Trainer Demographic Data

Power Five Conference

Female AT

Male AT

Dual AT

Atlantic Coast Conference

1

14

0

Big 12 Conference

0

10

0

Big Ten Conference

2

12

0

Pac-12 Conference

0

11

1

Southeastern Conferences

1

13

0

Total

4

60

1

Percentages

6.15%

92.31%

1.54%

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2018-03-23T11:19:59+00:00April 5th, 2018|Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on Athletic trainers in employment leadership positions at National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I institutions