Press Release

Ohio Wesleyan University Receives $10,000 NCAA Innovations Grant

February 23, 2015 – by Cole Hatcher

Jay Martin, Ph.D.

Men’s Soccer Coach, Health and Human Kinetics Professor Jay Martin, Ph.D., to Study Athlete Hazing

Jay Martin, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – What if coaches could identify individual players and even entire teams with a potential propensity toward hazing? Ohio Wesleyan University’s Jay Martin thinks the knowledge could be a game-changer – and the NCAA agrees.

Martin – the winningest collegiate men’s soccer coach in all divisions – also is a professor of health and human kinetics. And now, he is part of a research team being awarded $10,000 from the 2015 NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program to study hazing.

Martin, Ph.D., will collaborate with Simon Clements, director of behavioral training and tools for the Chicago-based EXACT Sports research group, to develop a psychometrically validated method to assess an athletic team’s culture and potential for hazing behavior. The researchers comprise one of six teams selected to receive NCAA Innovations funds, which support research aimed at benefitting the psychosocial well-being and mental health of all college athletes.

Martin and Clements’ project was chosen for funding by an external review panel composed of NCAA Research Committee members, practitioners, current student-athletes, and scholars representing NCAA Division I, Division II, and Division III athletics.

“I see opportunities to directly help student-athletes with some of the most pressing issues they’re facing these days,” R. Scott Kretchmar, chair of the review panel and an exercise and sport science professor at Pennsylvania State University, said in announcing the grant recipients. “A number of the issues addressed have to do with the kind of pressures athletes face between their academic work and their athletic responsibilities.”

For their project, Martin and Clements will spend a year developing a Team Culture Inventory (TCI) – a practical, gender-specific assessment to document the probability of hazing behavior involving a team or individual athlete. They also will develop an implementation strategy and how-to manual for coaches who wish to use the assessment.

Martin and Clements will begin their work by assembling a panel of up to 10 coaches from all three NCAA divisions to identify factors associated with hazing. Based on existing research, these factors may include such things as a (mistaken) belief that hazing promotes team loyalty.

After winnowing and weighting their list with panel input, Martin and Clements will create a provisional set of items comprising the Team Culture Inventory. Next, the TCI will be administered to 150 male and 150 female first-year college athletes representing different college sports. The data will be used to create a beta version of the TCI, which will be tested again with upperclassmen for whom enough time has elapsed during their college careers to enable an accurate measurement of hazing history.

When the TCI’s effectiveness is validated, Martin and Clements will collaborate to create a system for online administration and automatic scoring. They also will prepare a user manual describing the rationale, content, administration, scoring, and interpretation of the TCI, which will be available online as part of a free website that houses related research. Martin and Clements ultimately hope to submit their research for peer-referenced publication.

In their NCAA Innovations proposal, Martin and Clements state that their goal is create “an efficient tool that not only protects the safety of student-athletes but also helps the institution and athletic department to showcase a positive proactive approach to preventing hazing.” The tool will allow coaches to assess teams prior to their season and over time, taking action to educate and intervene as appropriate. The TCI also will help athletic departments to monitor teams and identify high-risk individuals.

“Hazing has long been a part of the collegiate athletics culture,” said Martin, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan staff in 1977, served 19 years as athletic director, coaches the winningest men’s soccer team in the NCAA, and serves as editor of the Soccer Journal. “We want to determine why teams haze new players and what we can do to change the culture in collegiate athletics.”

Read the complete 2015 NCAA Innovations in Research and Practice Grant Program announcement at www.ncaa.org. Learn more about EXACT Sports at exactsports.com, and read more about Martin and the Ohio Wesleyan men’s soccer program at www.battlingbishops.com.

Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers 86 undergraduate majors and competes in 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Ohio Wesleyan combines a challenging, internationally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities to connect classroom theory with real-world experience. OWU’s 1,750 students represent 46 U.S. states and territories and 43 countries. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” listed on the latest President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.