Department of Educational Administration


First Advisor

Corey Rumann

Date of this Version



Kelba, L. (2018). Women's gender identities and NCAA policy. University of Nebraska- Lincoln. Lincoln, NE.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Educational Administration, Under the Supervision of Professor Corey Rumann. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2018

Copyright (c) 2018 Lauren E. Kelba


Since the implementation of Title IX in 1972 and resulting inclusion of women within NCAA intercollegiate athletic programs, participation numbers have increased dramatically at the post-secondary level (Miller, Heinrich, & Baker, 2000). With participation numbers increasing, the NCAA has developed a number of policies and regulations, including published policies and recommendations for practice in regards to gender equity and inclusion. These publications include Equity and Title IX in Intercollegiate Athletics, Gender Equity Planning Best Practices, and the NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Student-Athletes. With these policies, the NCAA has made efforts to improve the experiences of those who have marginalized gender identities; specifically for cisgender women. However, little is known about how these policies and recommendations support the lived experiences of student-athletes who identify as women.

This study has been designed and implemented to address that lack of knowledge. This research study explores how NCAA policies and recommendations for practice impact the lived experiences of student-athletes with marginalized gender identities. I interviewed four participants twice each to learn about their experiences. Three themes that emerged from this study encompassed the role these women felt policy played in their day-to-day experiences as student-athletes, their experiences being a woman on their college campus and within their athletic department, and their perceptions of the various educational and life skills programming participants received or did not receive.

This study was designed and implemented in a way that addressed the lack of research on the qualitative experiences of women student-athletes, outside of just participation numbers and the increase in scholarship opportunities for women in the NCAA. Several recommendations for student affairs practice and implications for future research resulted from this study.

Advisor: Corey Rumann