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The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented crisis that has impacted every corner of the globe. One of the many industries affected by the pandemic is intercollegiate athletics. As with any crisis, developing clear and consistent messages is vital during times of immense uncertainty. The purpose of this study was to explore the effectiveness of intercollegiate athletic departments’ COVID-19 communication efforts. Specifically, this research investigated this topic from the perspective of NCAA Division I student-athletes. A total of 572 student-athletes participated in an electronic survey. Results revealed that nearly half of student-athletes have been confused by communication provided to them by their athletic department and perceive those efforts to be ineffective or only somewhat effective. Additionally, findings show that approximately half of student-athletes did not feel supported by their athletic departments during the pandemic.
Keywords: COVID-19, NCAA, student-athletes, crisis communication, Division I