America East and LGBT SportSafe Launch First-Ever Conference Partnership
BOSTON - The America East Conference and the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program announced today a new partnership that will provide education and programming centered around LGBT issues to the conference’s member institutions. America East is the first collegiate conference to partner with LGBT SportSafe as it continues to be a national leader in its efforts to support LGBT inclusion efforts.
“The America East and its members are proud to be the first conference to partner with LGBT SportSafe,” said America East Commissioner, Amy Huchthausen. “This partnership builds upon our existing relationship with the You Can Play Project and reinforces inclusion as a critical part of our mission in creating a complete student-athlete experience. Our members have sought increased programming in this area and this partnership with LGBT SportSafe will help ensure they continue to create a best-in-class environment around LGBT issues and inclusion.”
Founded in 2015 by Nevin Caple and Dr. Eric Lueshen and formally launched this summer, LGBT SportSafe provides an infrastructure for athletic administrators and coaches to support LGBT inclusion in college, high school and professional sports. As part of the conference partnership, LGBT SportsSafe will provide tailored programming that best fits the needs of each institution as well as provide workshops for coaches, administrators and student-athletes at all nine America East institutions.
"LGBT SportSafe is thrilled to partner with the America East Conference,” said Caple, LGBT SportSafe Co-Founder and Managing Director. “As the first conference to implement the LGBT SportSafe model at every member institution, the America East Conference not only backs up a commitment to LGBTQ inclusion in sport, but continues to lead the conversation nationally."
The LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program uses an innovative algorithm to help administrators understand how to implement inclusive programming, policies and public awareness initiatives within their respective athletic communities. Benefits for member institutions that actively engage in inclusion will be awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medallion for the athletic department website, a listing in the LGBT SportSafe national registry of inclusive athletic and recreational sport communities, and exclusive access to Coaches Corner, a comprehensive online resource for LGBT inclusion in sports which provides everything from webinars and model policies to discussion forums and best practices for athletic professionals.
“We in America East are awfully proud of being the first league that is comprehensively involved with LGBT SportSafe,” said Marty Scarano, University of New Hampshire Director of Athletics and Chair of the America East Athletics Director’s Council. “This is a very important initiative given the state of our culture today, the importance of the issue and the emphasis that all of us in America East institutionally have put on this topic. For the league to take this step, and to be the first comprehensive league to align themselves, says everything you need to know about the value system in America East."
LGBT SportSafe is the second organization devoted to LGBT issues with which America East has been the first NCAA Division I conference to partner. Since 2012, the conference has aligned with the You Can Play Project, whose mission is to promote equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity. This partnership has resulted in the very successful “YCP Nights” hosted by all nine members across several sports, including basketball, over the past two years and featured in USA Today this past February.
About America East: The America East provides its member schools and their athletic programs a platform upon which student-athletes can achieve both collegiate and life success through the promotion and nurturing of athletic excellence, academic achievement and leadership, on and off the field.