How Mindfulness Training may mediate Stress, Performance and Burnout

Submitted by  P. Furrer1*, Dr. F. Moen2*,  and. Dr. K. Firing3*

1* Master student; Faculty of Teacher Education; The Nord-Trøndelag University College; Levanger, Norway

2* Associate Professor; Department of Education; Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Trondheim, Norway

3*Associate Professor; Department of Leadership; The Royal Norwegian Air Force Academy; Trondheim, Norway

Frode Moen is currently the head manager of the Olympic Athlete program in central Norway, where he also has a position as a coach / mental trainer for elite athletes and coaches.  He also is an associate professor at the Department of Education at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  He previously has worked as a teacher in high school where sport was his major subject, and he has been a coach for the national team in Nordic combined in Norway for several years.  Frode received his Ph.D.  in coaching and performance psychology from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.  His research focuses mainly on coaching in business, coaching in sport, communication, performance psychology and relationship issues.


The aim of this article was to explore the influence of mindfulness training on stress, perceived performance in school and sports, and athlete burnout among junior elite athletes.  One goal was to determine the usefulness of mindfulness training in performance enhancement and burnout prevention in junior elite sports.  A mindfulness-training program (MTP) was conducted with 29 junior elite athletes over a period of 12-weeks.  Six of the athletes who were participating in the MTP were randomly chosen to voluntarily participate in a semi structural interview that explored possible effects from the MTP.  Our qualitative analyses showed that the mindfulness intervention had a positive impact on the athletes’ awareness and recovery.  The authors also discuss positive effects on the athletes’ focus and performances.  The findings are discussed against the usefulness of mindfulness training in athlete burnout prevention.

Key words: mindfulness, stress, athlete burnout, sport


2015-07-16T13:25:18+00:00July 15th, 2015|Contemporary Sports Issues|Comments Off on How Mindfulness Training may mediate Stress, Performance and Burnout

A Preliminary Investigation of NCAA Division II Compliance Officers


NCAA DII Compliance Officers


This study examined the position of Compliance Officer at NCAA Division II institutions in the Upper Midwest of the United States. A perceptual and attitudinal scale was used to measure the participants’ responses to the structure that supports their job of NCAA compliance. Results indicated that having an experienced person responsible for compliance was essential. Overall, respondents reported that hiring professionals who have experience in law or a degree in law, such as a Juris Doctorate, was beneficial. Although the respondents reported that the introduction of new or innovative initiatives were welcomed and that their compliance efforts were better than the previous year, more than half of the participants agreed that the athletic department still should use more resources and strategies in fulfilling NCAA requirements. The majority of the Division II Compliance Officers’ surveyed suggested that limited staff and work load were factors which might hinder compliance efforts.  The findings from this study could benefit individuals responsible for maintaining a fair competitive playing field in sport organizations.

The tenuous balance between academics and athletics in higher education has created controversies that date back to the late 1800s (2). Early intercollegiate athletics became so aggressive and dangerous that during the 1905 season, 18 athletes died while numerous others were seriously injured in football alone.  Demonstrating how popular college sport had become, President Theodore Roosevelt demanded reform leading to a set of established rules and the precursor of the modern National Collegiate Athletic Association (19).

The NCAA is a multipurpose organization that governs intercollegiate athletic departments and their student-athletes.  From its inception in 1905, the NCAA has adopted thousands of rules and regulations to protect the student-athlete and prevent unethical advantages (4). Today, the NCAA Manual (2010-2011) continues to have distinct functions that strive to meet specific goals and objectives that directly involve student-athletes and their institutions.

The NCAA monitors three divisions (I, II, III) of athletic competition. Regardless of the type and size of the institution, the NCAA is responsible for addressing issues relating anywhere from academic issues like “Progress Towards Degree” and “Graduation Success Rate” to infractions and eligibility for each sport’s championship segment (21). NCAA rules must be monitored at each member institution and this multifaceted responsibility is handled by the Compliance Officer(s). The most publicized infractions tend to be associated with major revenue producing programs within NCAA Division I institutions (14, 26). Little research has been conducted at either the NCAA Division II or III level examining the role and duties of Compliance Officers. Therefore, a study investigating NCAA Division II Compliance Officers is warranted.

Compliance Issues
NCAA athletic compliance is a complex and often challenging aspect of intercollegiate athletics that all governed Division I, II, and II institutions must follow. Institutions must monitor and enforce athletic habits of student-athletes, coaches and administrators. If a school is held responsible for a violation, it most likely involves a lack of institutional control and monitoring of standards on behalf of the compliance department and athletic administrators (3, 8).

Violations of NCAA bylaws and regulations are varied and can occur in all sports (12).  The aftermath from breaking NCAA rules not only affects the athletic program, but can also tarnish the overall reputation of the institution (5). A study examining NCAA infractions at all divisions between 2005 and 2008 identified the seven most common violations that can occur at an institution or to their student-athletes (22). The most frequent institutional violation was a failure to monitor athletic programs. This type of infraction can be considered the worst to commit because it represents failure for the entire athletic department on all fronts. Furthermore, it shows that the institution as a whole, even beyond the athletic department, has failed to put a proper monitoring system in place (8).

Another frequently reported compliance issue pertains to academic fraud and academic progress. In 2003, the NCAA started collecting data for the Graduation Success Rate (GSR) (21), a measure calculated annually by Division I member institutions to determine athlete graduation rates.  Division II institutions followed a similar methodology, the Academic Success Rate (ASR), but also gave unique consideration to athletes who entered their first year without receiving athletic-based aid. The NCAA also instituted an Academic Progress Rate (APR) to measure academic achievement by teams each term (1).  The goal of the APR is to hold schools accountable for educating athletes throughout their athletic career.  NCAA sanctions can occur if a team’s APR score falls below a certain threshold.  As a condition of NCAA membership, institutions are accountable for reporting these measures of the academic records for their athletic teams (12).

The Position of Compliance Officer
The position of Compliance Officer has emerged to take responsibility for complying with NCAA rules and regulations. The duties of a Compliance Officer, at governed institutions are to educate, monitor, report, and enforce NCAA bylaws (13). A distinct aspect of an intercollegiate Compliance Officer’s position is the need to possess a thorough understanding of legal and NCAA regulations for an association, conference, and institution.

The Compliance Officer position covers a diverse subject area requiring a wide variety of skills and competencies. There is a constant dynamic that compliance officers must navigate as stated by (23) Pierce, Kaburakis, and Fielding (2008) “Coaches need to win, whereas Compliance Officers need coaches to abide by the rules” (p. 87). The compliance coordinator role within the athletics department has continued to expand and has gained the well-deserved respect of coaches, administrators, and student athletes.

Compliance efforts have become the cornerstone of maintaining institutional control within an athletics program. Institutions must be fully aware of what could happen to their well-being if and when an NCAA violation does occur. Therefore, Compliance Officers need to have more of a standard within the workplace including the ability to recognize and understand legal jargon, start a benchmark for the NCAA Divisions, and exercise their authority when appropriate (3, 8).

Purpose of Study
Research on the duties and roles of collegiate Compliance Officers is limited. Although the concept of compliance under the NCAA is not new, the little available research has been done almost exclusively at the Division I level. The purpose of this study is to provide a basic framework for research at the Division II level, thus establishing a justifiable need for this study.  Without research on compliance at the Division II level, it is difficult to advance the field of literature.

At the time this study was conducted, there were no studies addressing compliance issues or the accountability and level of support for Compliance Officers specifically at the NCAA Division II level. A more complete understanding of NCAA Division II Compliance Officers requires investigation. Research on compliance in particular at the Division II level would better represent the NCAA as a whole. Overall, this study has the potential to contribute to the lack of literature with NCAA Division II compliance efforts. This study will establish a basic foundational understanding of Division II Compliance Officers and their responses to the structure that support their job of NCAA compliance.

Participants and Procedure
Participants for this study were 14 Compliance Officers from a Division II conference in the upper Midwest of the United States. A total of 11 surveys were returned. The conference has undergone significant expansion in member institutions within the time frame of this instrument’s distribution. Two of the 14 full time member institutions were in the midst of transitioning from affiliation within the National Association for Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) to the NCAA Division II.  This change may have affected their ability to respond to the survey.

Study participants completed a series of questions related to their opinions about the structure that supports their job as a NCAA Compliance Officer. Participants were asked  anonymously, and on a voluntary basis, to fill out an online questionnaire through Survey Monkey. The data-collection process was completed in 5 weeks within the 2010-2011 academic year.

The questionnaire, which was specifically developed for this study, included a total of 15 questions. Responses were recorded on a 5-point Likert-type scale which included: 1 = strongly agree, 2 = somewhat agree, 3 = neither, 4 = somewhat disagree, and 5 = strongly disagree. Each question on the survey addressed NCAA compliance efforts within an athletic department. Face validity was established by asking two athletic department staff members and two graduate students working for the athletic department to judge language of the statements in the questionnaire. The staff members and students were deemed to be a representative of those chosen to participate in the study. To determine the reliability of the instrument, Chronbach’s alpha was employed. The reliability coefficient was determined to be .712, which is within the acceptable range for the interpretation of scores (7). Descriptive data by percentages were used to measure NCAA compliance efforts at Division II institutions.

The participants surveyed were Compliance Officers from a NCAA Division II conference in the upper Midwest of the United States. Demographics of the respondents revealed that 64% identified themselves as male, and 36% as female. Participation by type of institution was 64% public and 36% private. Perhaps the greatest difference between NCAA Division I institutions and the Division II level is Compliance Officers often have responsibilities in addition to compliance. In this study, the current position of respondents was, 9% Marketing Directors; 18% Senior Women’s Administrator; 9% Faculty Athletic Representative; 9% Coach; 9% Associate Athletic Director; and 46% Assistant Athletic Director.  Regarding years in position, 64% reported they had been working for the organization for more than 6 years, 9% between 4 and 6 years, 9% subjects between 1 and 3 years, and the rest, 18%, had worked for the organization less than one year.  The total enrollment of the surveyed institutions was 27% had less than 2,500 students; 27% were between 2,501 and 5,000; 27% between 5,001 and 10,000; and 19% between 10,001 and 20,000. The average number of full-time professional staff employed in the athletic department were 18% (0 – 4); 9% (5 – 10); 9% (11 – 20); 64% (21 and more). Description of the participant demographic composition is presented in Table 1.
(Insert Table 1 here)

Descriptive Analysis
Descriptive analysis was conducted to examine Division II Compliance Officers and their responses to the structure that supports their job of NCAA compliance. Respondents were asked if their athletic department has an individual(s) specifically responsible for NCAA compliance. It was reported that 100% indicated that it would be beneficial to have an individual(s) designated full-time to be responsible for compliance within an athletic department.

An inquiry was made to examine what factors respondents thought were important to support their job of NCAA compliance. Of the 11 respondents, 80% indicated that their athletic department was doing a good job of letting the Compliance Officer introduce new, innovative strategies related to NCAA compliance and 100% agreed that NCAA compliance efforts are better today compared to a year ago. Regarding NCAA compliance efforts used within respondent’s athletic department, 50% agreed that an athletic department should be using more compliance resources, strategies, and initiatives and 80% indicate that the university has invested sufficient time and resources to adhere to NCAA compliance rules and regulations.

Overall, 100% of the respondents indicated that the leadership of the athletic department is fully committed to the long-term success of NCAA compliance and initiatives.  When asked if athletic departments should hire professionals who possess experience with NCAA compliance, 100% indicated that it was somewhat important. Although a vast majority of respondents revealed that professionals should possess experience with NCAA compliance, 60% agreed that professionals should possess experience in law (i.e. Juris Doctorate).

Respondents were asked specific questions related to factors that could hinder them from carrying out NCAA compliance rules and regulations. Overall, respondents agreed that operating constraints (67%), support from administration/supervisor (67%), budget (56%), and experience/expertise (68%), were not major factors that hindered them from carrying out NCAA compliance. Conversely, respondents indicated that limited staff (89%) and work load (78%) were key factors that stalled them from successfully carrying out NCAA compliance rules and regulations to the fullest extent. A summary of the results is presented in Table 2.
(Insert Table 2 here)

Compliance is an essential component of an athletic department. A Compliance Officer plays a key role for the institution in its efforts to achieve full compliance with all rules and regulations (18). Thus, athletic departments need to acknowledge the importance of evaluating a Compliance Officer’s work environment.  Trends emerged that provided insight into the work environment of a Division II Compliance Officer.

Continuing Education
The NCAA requires that each member institution, regardless of division, have a designated Compliance Officer for its athletic program. In fact, more and more institutions are recognizing that compliance is a significant theme that needs qualified personnel to help manage the rules and regulations that the NCAA has established.  Therefore, Compliance Officers with little or no legal training are often required to interpret the legal language of a complex NCAA manual.

Overall, respondents reported that hiring professionals who have a degree in law, such as a Juris Doctorate (J.D.), is preferred.  This continued education (i.e. J.D.) leads to formal qualifications that provide compliance personnel with the adequate knowledge and skills pertaining to NCAA compliance. Likewise, previous research has shown that at Division I, conference commissioners and fellow administrators perceived potential candidates positively when possessing a J.D. (6). Furthermore, those Compliance Officers who obtained a J.D. to pursue athletic administration were most often hired as Associate Athletic Directors and other executive administrative positions (27).
To emphasize the importance of compliance officers having a J.D., the National Association of Athletics Compliance (NAAC) has developed important benchmarks to standardize the industry of compliance within athletics (3). The NAAC website supports its members by providing educational opportunities to increase their knowledge and skill set, establish opportunities to increase understanding of relevant industry issues, and initiate and disseminate industry research, data and trends to enable compliance personnel to perform better. (17). While athletic compliance efforts evolve and become multifaceted, this study revealed that one Division II conference supported continued education.

Nature of Work
Variables exist that penetrate the offices, meeting rooms, and operational facilities. Athletic departments must be able to identify those variables that should be addressed in any program to improve the work environment. Respondents indicated they had other job duties beyond that of a Compliance Officer.  Limited staff and the nature of the job were cited as factors that could hinder their ability to carry out NCAA compliance. (25) Robinson, Peterson, Tedrick and Carpenter (2003) suggest that excessive job demands due to multi-tasking can impact job satisfaction of NCAA athletic administrators. According to (16) Mueller and Wallace (1996), (28) Tyler and Cushway (1998), and (29) Zhang, DeMichele, and Connaughton (2004), the lack of resources, less rewarding work conditions, lack of support from supervisors and co-workers, and heavy workloads have an effect on an employee’s satisfaction toward their jobs. Thus, an employee’s level of satisfaction may be shaped by multiple features of a particular department and institution.

Although respondents suggested that their institutions were fully committed to the long-term success of NCAA compliance and initiatives, respondents indicated that they would like to see athletic departments use more compliance resources, strategies, and initiatives. Athletic administrators must acquaint themselves with compliance and institutional control and not solely place the responsibility on the Compliance Officer (6). It is imperative that all coaches and administrators work together with their Compliance Officer to manage and adhere to the rules and regulations that have been established by the NCAA.  Athletic departments must be prepared to offer expertly established, promoted, implemented, and evaluated compliance standards (8). But to do this, universities must realize that compliance is not just a component of the NCAA, but an important tool that helps develop the overall makeup of the institution.

The body of knowledge is limited with regard to NCAA Division II compliance positions.  Although this study attempted to provide a limited perspective of these Compliance Officers, broadening this area of research to include additional sport governing bodies would create a greater understanding of the role and job duties of this increasingly important position. With specific regard to NCAA compliance and the need to decipher an often-complicated NCAA manual, future studies might also examine the effectiveness of NCAA compliance training sessions that introduce new and existing strategies that can help all Compliance Officers be more productive and learn with their jobs.  Because the study used a perceptual and attitudinal scale to measure Compliance Officers’ responses to the structure that supports their job of NCAA compliance, answers may change with time as well as organizational structure, individual responsibilities, and positions. Finally, further investigation into the job satisfaction and job related stress related to monitoring NCAA rules and regulations at all divisions is warranted.

Although this study focused on issues of compliance in NCAA Division II institutions, similar governance structures can be found in a variety sport organizations (11).  The need for such offices can be seen through well-publicized controversies that are not limited to any particular level of competition. In an attempt to monitor these issues, sport organizations often devote departments to attempt to regulate and control its member institutions. These structures are put in place to help maintain a fair competitive playing field and require constant monitoring and evaluation.

Policing such a wide array of rules and regulations can prove to be a challenge for sport organizations. The findings of this study suggest that to help meet and maintain NCAA regulations attention should be paid to the position and role of the institution’s Compliance Officer.  By offering avenues for continued education to broaden areas of expertise in compliance and by providing appropriate work related resources, NCAA compliance standards may be more easily met.  The participants in this initial study responded they often have job responsibilities in addition to Compliance Officer.  Not surprisingly, those who responded also suggested institutions might be well served to increase compliance staff in an effort to decrease workload.  Regardless, the qualifications and work environment of those charged with maintaining a balanced field of competition warrants further study.



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Table 1     Demographic Characteristics of Division II Compliance Officer Sample (N = 11)










Type of Institution



Current Position
Marketing Director
Senior Women’s Administrator
Faculty Athletic Representative
Assistant Athletic Director
Associate Athletic Director




 Years in Position
More than 6 years
4 – 6 years
1 – 3 years
Less than 1 year




Table 2     Division II NCAA Compliance (N = 11)

NCAA Compliance





Individual Responsible for NCAA Compliance






Beneficial to Have Individual Designated to Compliance








Compliance Efforts
Ability to Introduce New, Innovative Strategies





Overall NCAA Compliance Efforts Today, Compared with a       Year Ago



Athletic Departments Should be Using More Compliance Resources, Strategies, and Initiatives



University Has Invested Sufficient Time and Resources to Adhere to Compliance Rules and Regulations



Leadership of Athletic Department is Fully Committed to the Long-Term Success of NCAA Compliance and Initiatives



Athletic Department Should Hire Professionals Who Possess Experience with NCAA Compliance



Professional Should Possess Experience in Law (i.e. Juris Doctorate)



   Factors That Could Hinder NCAA Compliance

Operating Constraints (Required NCAA Guidelines)



Support from Administration/Supervisor






Limited Staff



Nature of Work







2016-10-12T15:05:44+00:00April 2nd, 2013|Contemporary Sports Issues, Sports Studies and Sports Psychology|Comments Off on A Preliminary Investigation of NCAA Division II Compliance Officers