Pre-Conference Forum on College Athletics

Wednesday, October 27, 2021
1:00-4:00 pm Atlantic/San Juan Time

2021 ASHE Pre-Conference Forum on College Athletics
College Sports & Colonialism in Higher Education

What are colonialism and nationalism and what has been their sociohistorical role in the rise of modern athletic capitalism in the neoliberal university? How do we do more to understand the role of place after our land acknowledgements in our teaching and research? Given the ASHE annual meeting location and theme, we take a particular focus on the wide range of Latinx athletes and AAPI athletes from island communities who have been impacted by colonialism in college sports and who have influence in disrupting these practices today.

Participants in this professional development session will learn more about the role of colonialism and colonial thinking in the structures and policies of college sports. These discussions will be framed around sports in Latin America.  Puerto Rico has a long history of colonization, even before becoming an American territory in the late 1890s. Sport has played an important role in Puerto Rico’s colonial history. The United States used sport to promote western norms in Puerto Rico. Puerto Ricans also used sport to create a national identity apart from the United States. 
Universities are also spaces where sport is used in colonization.  Whether through the exploitation of student-athletes, the use of sport to promote western values as America expanded into the lands of Native Americans, or through the glorification of colonialism in team nicknames, colleges use sport to promote colonialist values.  
During this forum, we will discuss some of the parallels between how sport is used in Latin America and within higher education to promote colonialism.  Participants will be introduced to how the United States imports westernized colonialism into Latin America through sport, including through U.S. intercollegiate athletics.  We will also explore the similarities and differences between the colonialist experiences of Latinos/as and the colonialist experiences of college student-athletes. 

In this session, participants will be introduced to these themes in an opening keynote, then participate in two interactive roundtable discussions. A final closing session will be an open opportunity for Q&A, networking and brainstorming continued efforts.

The opening session features an interview of Dr. Antonio Sotomayor, University of Illinois, conducted by Dr. Jorge Iber, Texas Tech University, on the role of sport in the Puerto Rican construction of national identity. This conversation will reveal how sport has been integral in the development of Puerto Rico’s autonomist political culture and agency in international politics.

During the Q&A and discussion sessions, participants will learn about the implications for college sports and how to integrate this knowledge of Puerto Rico into their teaching and research on college sports and colonialism in higher education.

Roundtable discussions include topics on:
  • Understanding Colonialism in Higher Education
  • Identifying Colonialism in our Teaching
  • Uncovering Colonialism in our Research on College Athletics

2021 Schedule

Event Chairs

Jennifer Hoffman
University of Washington

Guillermo Ortega

Please feel free to reach out to the event chair with questions about the content of the event. Questions about registration or event logistics can be directed to the ASHE Office at (702) 895-2737 or


  • Early Registration (By September 1, 2021)
    • Students (regardless of ASHE membership): Free 
    • Current ASHE members: $20
    • Non-Members: $30
  • Regular Registration (By October 1, 2021):
    • Students (regardless of ASHE membership): Free 
    • Current ASHE members: $20
    • Non-Members: $30
  • Late Registration (By October 22, 2021):
    • Students (regardless of ASHE membership): $10 
    • Current ASHE members: $30
    • Non-Members: $40

Now in its 12th year, the Pre-Conference Forum on College Sports engages the ASHE community on the issues of the relationship between intercollegiate athletics and higher education. For more information, contact Jennifer Hoffman in the Center for Leadership in Athletics.

Past ASHE Pre-Conferences

2020 Raising Athlete Voices: A Panel Discussion on Student-Athlete Activism and Free Speech

2019 NCAA Division I College Sports Finances: Where the Money Comes From and Where the Money Goes 

2018 Moments In Athletics Scholarship: Stories of Educational Activism, Disruptive Innovation & Dialogue.

2017 Power to the Scholar: Emerging Media Practices for Higher Education Discourses on College Sports

2016 Advancing Student-Athlete Research and Policy For the Public Good Through Scholar-Practitioner Collaboration

2015 Accessing and Analyzing NCAA Data for Athletics Research & Policy

2014 Informing Research and Policy in Intercollegiate Athletics Knight Commission Database Workshop

2013 Invitation to A Dialogue: Student-Athletes and Higher Education. 

2012 Student-Athlete Climate Survey Pre-Conference Workshop

2011 Publish or Perish? Meeting the Challenges of Publishing Research on Intercollegiate Athletics

2010 Aligning the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics Within Higher Education Scholarship & Policy