BRISTOL, Tenn. – King University has been awarded an NCAA CHOICES Grant, beginning in the 2018-19 academic year. The NCAA CHOICES Alcohol Education Grant Program provides funding for NCAA member institutions to integrate athletics departments into campus-wide efforts to reduce alcohol abuse. The athletics department worked with the office of student affairs to submit a proposal for the program to the NCAA, and the two departments will work together to implement the program on campus.
King will receive grant funds for the next three academic years, and has committed to continue the program for at least two years following the expiration of the grant. King was one of 15 schools in the country and one of five NCAA Division II members selected to receive the CHOICES grant.
"The opportunity to provide additional training and education to our student-athletes, who can then model this behavior on campus, is one we are excited about at King," Director of Athletics David Hicks said. "The CHOICES grant will provide funding to address alcohol abuse from several different angles, including education, but also to train our students to become responsible citizens and Step UP! for their friends when the circumstances require it."
As part of the implementation, King will utilize the Step UP! bystander intervention program, a prosocial behavior and bystander intervention program that educates students to be proactive in helping others. It received a NASPA Gold award and recently was identified as a 'Best Practice' by the NCAA Sports Science Institute of national and international scholars.
The program with Step UP! will primarily focus on alcohol abuse and sexual violence. National trends indicate a correlation between alcohol abuse and sexual violence, and King's program will be designed to assist students in developing the skills and confidence to respond to situations that may arise and enhance the safety of their peers.
Nancye Rahn, Assistant Athletic Director for External Affairs, recently attended a Step UP! workshop, where she was trained as a facilitator for the Step UP! program. Rahn will lead the implementation of the CHOICES grant and Step UP! curriculum on campus.
"By educating our students on the dangers of alcohol abuse and educating them on how to intervene on behalf of their friends, we can also impact other dangerous behaviors that often have their roots in alcohol abuse," Rahn said. "With funding available through the CHOICES grant, we will establish the 'I will Step UP! For My Friends' program on campus, and have three years to adjust other budgetary expenses to continue the program beyond the years funding is provided by the grant."