Racial Reconciliation: Action Steps for Coaches

Coaches have influential platforms that can help spur change. In light of ongoing injustice and unrest, the NABC has launched the NABC Committee on Racial Reconciliation, which will address issues both within intercollegiate athletics and society at large. South Carolina head coach Frank Martin will chair the committee.

While coaches can and should lend their voices to making a difference on the national, regional and local levels, it is also imperative not to overlook the wellbeing of the student-athletes under our immediate care. Our players look to us for leadership, compassion, support and advice during difficult times, and we must be prepared to first and foremost meet those needs.

The NABC Board of Directors has developed a set of recommended initial action steps to help coaches of all levels address these topics with our teams. This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather a starting point to initiate important dialogue. We encourage coaches to use their own experiences and ideas to further support and serve their players, campus and local community.


– Hold an in-person or virtual team meeting to discuss current events and racial injustice. Convey what these issues mean to you personally, and encourage student-athletes and staff to be open with personal experiences, fears and questions.
– Reinforce the team’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Stress the benefits of diversity in all aspects of society and how it helps raise awareness of injustice and unfairness.
– Share your team’s feedback, concerns and plan of action with senior athletics department and campus leadership.

– Establish Election Day as an annual team day off.
– Encourage all student-athletes and staff to register and then to vote in all local and national elections.
– Encourage student-athlete engagement with campus and/or community organizations that support social justice. Adjust team schedules as necessary to allow for extracurricular activity.
– Provide resources and help connect student-athletes with experts on how to pursue future careers of influence, such as law enforcement, political office, teaching and coaching.

– Hold an in-person or virtual team meeting with local law enforcement leaders.
– Hold an in-person or virtual team meeting with athletics department and/or campus diversity and inclusion leaders.
– Frequently invite successful minorities from a range of occupations and backgrounds to address the team.

– Establish an influential voice on campus and in the local community. Contact local media to share insight on the issues; speak at or attend a local rally; offer to facilitate a summit with local law enforcement, political and civic leaders.
– Consider making a personal financial contribution to a social justice-related charitable organization of your student-athletes’ collective choice.

– Schedule a team visit to the campus and/or community black culture center.
– Invite campus African American studies faculty to address the team.
– Encourage student-athletes to read a variety of perspectives and viewpoints (click here and here for examples).