LGBTQ advocacy organization Athlete Ally has released its updated Athletic Equality Index, which provides a comprehensive look at how Power 5 NCAA schools are supporting LGBTQ-inclusive policies through sports.
First unveiled in 2017, the Athletic Equality Index rates schools on a scale which scores based on how well an athletic department commits to and publicizes inclusive policies, including:
- Comprehensive nondiscrimination policies (35 points)
- LGBTQ+ resources and educational materials (20 points)
- An inclusive fan code of conduct (10 points)
- Policies for transgender student-athletes (10 points)
- Student-athlete initiatives relative to LGBTQ+ inclusion (10 points)
- Out or ally-trained athletics staff members (5 points)
- A co-hosted event supporting LGBTQ+ inclusion (5 points)
- A recurring LGBTQ+ inclusive initiative (5 points)
Data was collected by researchers, who contacted a minimum of three high-ranking individuals from each Power 5 institution — including but not exclusive to the AD, the senior woman administrator, and the highest-level athletic compliance staff member.
Scores from all 65 Power 5 institutions increased an average of 10.3 points. Among individual conferences, the Big 12 Conference showed the most improvement, increasing by an average of 11 points, while the SEC increased by an average of 8.7 points.
Eight schools earned perfect 100-point scores on the latest AEI, including Duke, Miami, Ohio State, Indiana, Illinois, Texas, Cal and USC.
The most-improved institution was the University of Pittsburgh, which saw its score jump to 95 points on the latest AEI, up 47 points from its 2017 score of 48 points.
The Pac-12 rated the highest of all Power 5 conferences with an average of 83.5 points. The Big Ten was second with an 83.3 average. The ACC (79.4), Big 12 (69.8) and SEC (65.6) were third, fourth and fifth respectively.
“We hope that the Athletic Equality Index will act as a resource and catalyst needed for institutions to continue their pursuit of proactive LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices,” Athlete Ally said in a release announcing the latest AEI figures. “We believe that everyone should have equal access, opportunity and experience in sport, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression — and are committed to producing resources that aid and support institutions to support that right.”