Partner Initiatives 

The Institute For Sport & Social Justice (Institute SSJ), formerly the National Consortium for Academics and Sport (NCAS), is now in the fourth year of a partnership with the U.S. Fund for UNICEF (UNICEF USA), annually targeting between 4 and 10 college and university campuses across the United States.  Prominent student-athletes, coaches, athletic administrators and students will speak out and educate peers during a one-week program at each university.  The goal is to raise awareness about human trafficking in the United States and to inspire students to take action while learning the value love and forgiveness can have in implementing change.  Leaders of the initiative will share their takeaways from the program, and reflect on the power of love and forgiveness to make a difference.  Shut Out Trafficking will educate college students on the brutality of human trafficking and the $150 billion dollar industry it has become, and empower students to take action against it.  Trafficking is one of the most profitable criminal industries in the world second only to drug trafficking with profits growing by nearly 400 percent in the last five years alone.

Human trafficking is one of the most horrific human rights violations existing in our world today.  An estimated 26 to 28 million people—about half of whom are women and children—are enslaved at this very moment.  The root causes include poverty, discrimination, lack of education, lack of social and legal protections and violence. The international community is finally mobilizing to protect all human beings from this heinous crime.  In the United States, most people who know it exists only believe it is a problem outside our borders.  However, trafficking has been reported in all 50 U.S. states, and in the United States alone it is estimated that there are between 100,000 - 300,000 children at risk for sex trafficking.

Institute SSJ and UNICEF USA will host 3-day outreach programs on campuses of colleges and universities across the United States.  The events will include public service announcements,  film screenings, appearances by prominent student-athletes and coaches, and possibly speakers who are survivors of human trafficking and discussion groups with students.  Speakers will share their personal stories and their reflections about the power of love and forgiveness in their lives.  Students participating in the events will be invited to become active in the fight to end human trafficking.  One of the goals of the project is to create a cadre of student activists who will be involved in anti-trafficking work on an ongoing basis.

TEAMwork Leadership Institute

Program Overview

Benefits of TEAMwork Leadership Institute (TLI) include the development of cohesion among staff, enhanced skills for coaches working with diverse athletes, and the development of a strategic plan for dealing with issues when they occur. Ultimately, TLI promotes unity and leadership, highlights opportunities to respect and celebrate diversity, and accelerates staff and player unification within an organization.  The TLI program has facilitated over 500 diversity education and training workshops since 1997. TLI also provides a “crisis intervention” service that provides individual or small group sensitivity training within an organization.  This service is directed at specific issues relative to the immediate need for sensitivity, awareness and/or education. We have provided workshops or intervention services for numerous universities and sports organizations across the nation and abroad.

The training program, which incorporates a significant amount of sports-related material, includes a variety of exercises and discussion points. Facilitators lead awareness exercises that focus on self-identity and how we develop stereotypes that interfere with effective teamwork, and look at ways an organization, team or staff can provide better understanding on campus and/or workplace environments.

The workshops are interactive learning experiences that involve sports-related videos to stimulate discussion and interactive exercises prompting workshop participants to engage and address various diversity topics. Case studies and role plays are sometimes used to provide real-life scenarios.

Each workshop is slightly different, depending on the needs of the organization. Some of the needs are discovered through interviews with department heads and some through a confidential TLI survey, which is distributed prior to the actual workshop. The surveys are analyzed by TLI staff, and that information is incorporated into the training curriculum.

The final step of the training is the most important: workshop leaders create an “action plan” to implement programs that celebrate racial diversity on teams, staffs and departments.

Huddle Up

Program Overview

Huddle Up leverages the transcendent power of sport to eradicate gender violence, in all of its forms, and the sexism underpinning this abuse. In sport, the huddle is a powerful symbol of togetherness, a place where many become one. In the huddle, teammates convene to reinforce their union, challenge & support one another, and communicate strategy. In the huddle, teammates forget past set-backs, galvanize conviction, and always have a unified front against the opponent. Huddle Up harnesses that power by challenging, educating, and empowering participants to be "all-in" to defeat our opponent – sexist abuse.

Huddle Up addresses the full continuum of abusive behaviors and empowers participants to understand how misogynistic language, sexual harassment, gendered bullying, sexual assault, rape and domestic violence are linked together. This understanding inspires participants to have the courage to challenge behaviors on all levels of the continuum.

Branded a Leader

Program Overview

Branded a Leader (BAL) is a leadership program that teaches critical decision-making skills to student-athletes while challenging them to be responsible for their decisions and those of their teammates. BAL is a highly interactive training that engages student-athletes in unusually effective ways. BAL trainings are also utilized for coaches and staff.

Branded a Leader, created in 2008 by the National Consortium for Academics & Sports (NCAS),now officially the Institute For Sport & Social Justice (Institute SSJ) was developed in partnership with Michigan State University. Michigan State’s Student Athlete Support Services was seeking a training that would engage their student-athletes in educational discussions on key issues such as: Violence Against Women, Alcohol & Drugs, Hazing and Responsible Computing. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) adopted BAL as a conference-wide training initiative beginning in 2008.

Athletic leadership in the 21st century

Program Overview

Athletic Leadership in the 21st Century is delivered at colleges, universities, and professional sports organizations. This workshop is designed to explore the topic of Leadership.  Through an examination of our leadership style and a discussion of various types of Leadership (Transactional, Transformational, Servant), participants are engaged throughout the workshop in identifying how they currently lead and how they may be more effective.  At the very core of the workshop is an examination of the relationships that we develop with those that we coach and lead.  We explore how those relationships lead to the achievement of individual and team goals, as well as whether or not we are creating a positive and inclusive environment.

Athletic Leadership in the 21st Century is a two-hour block workshop. The interactive nature of the workshop demands participation and full engagement. Participants are engaged through individual and group activities, small group discussions, and larger group discussions as well.  Various mediums are used including paper and pencil activities, a power point slide show, flip charts, scenarios, and videos. All of our workshops are delivered by former professional and/or collegiate athletes. This creates an immediate connection and credibility with the audiences we serve.

Athletic Leadership in the 21st Century forces participants to examine how they are connecting, coaching, and transforming those they interact with on a daily basis. Time spent in this workshop helps to ensure that influence is being maximized in a positive manner.

Degree completion program

Program Overview

Outreach and Community Service

Nationally, student-athletes at Institute SSJ institutions have worked with over 22 million students in school outreach and community service programs. Collectively, these student-athletes have donated more than 30.5 million hours of service while Institute SSJ member institutions have donated more than $300 million in tuition assistance. The Institute SSJ is collectively the nation’s largest and most highly recognized outreach and community service program using student-athletes to reach children.  More than 95 percent of Institute SSJ programs have historically directly benefited children.