While many collegiate athletes are not in the public eye, there are those who are. Some go on to stay in that view as professional athletes and the rest who don’t make it that far take what they learned into the future paths of his or her life.
The NCAA athletes are brought into the team for a reason and from that moment on are always a representative of his or her school and team.
There are many different NCAA sponsored initiatives within communities that teams reside and play in. Many of the outreach events are planned around a larger event, i.e. Basketball Final Four, to bring together the athletes, coaches, and members of the community to participate in serving a cause or organization that helps others.
At the 2014 Women’s Basketball Final Four in Nashville, Tennessee, the impact made by the NCAA and its athletes will not quickly be forgotten. And that doesn’t even begin to include the actual Final Four event. Many different NCAA sponsored and partnered organizations came together to reach over 2,000 children in the Nashville area. According to NCAA.com, “The purpose of the NCAA Community Outreach 101 is to teach youth about social responsibility through service learning and to encourage participation in volunteer opportunities, enhance existing projects and foster a lifelong commitment to community service.” Many different clinics and events were held in the days before the Women’s Final Four began with involvement for the children and the athlete members.
NCAA Division II has its own website dedicated to the community programs that the NCAA Division II registered schools are a part of, as well as Division II as a whole. Upon opening the homepage, one can find a scroll of videos, news stories, and links that talk about the different engagement programs that Division II schools have participated in. Some events are well known, while others are unique to the school or team in participation. sornt6xtpq2e2bndDivision II is heavily involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which works to grant the “wishes” of children with life-threatening illnesses. In 2012 alone, the Division II schools raised almost $2.5 million to benefit the foundation, along with helping in the completion of a “wish.” Other schools or teams have taken to creating their own way of involving the community in other ways than just a typical game. UNC-Pembroke puts on “The Senior Games”, which brings senior citizens together to compete in Olympic type events in all different sporting disciplines. Clark-Atlanta created a community engagement committee to take a look into what was already being done by the school and NCAA to see what the athletic department and programs, as well as the university, together could do to benefit the community.
In short, community service and engagement are cultivated in an athletes mind from the very beginning, as a young athlete whole attends a sponsored event or camp to the college athletes who are putting on the camp or clinic to the professional associations that come for a select few athletes. It starts at the beginning and works to shape how important it is to give back to the community in any situation and in any way that is possible, small or large.