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Research project gives insight into race and equality in university sport


The University of Wolverhampton, funded by Sport England, has been leading a research project for British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) with the aim to recognise best practice and share a summary of how to improve engagement with students from different ethnicities. 

British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS) is the national governing body for higher education (HE) sport in the UK, a membership organisation, and a company limited by guarantee with charitable status. 

Portrait of Dr Gavin Ward smiling at the camera

Dr Gavin Ward, Senior Lecturer in the University’s School of Sport, led on the commissioned research project on Race and Equality which aimed to develop their understanding for student and staff experiences of university sport from a Global Majority perspective. 

Dr Ward said: “It was a pleasure to lead this national research project into racialised experiences of university sport with a team of staff and student researchers from 4 other universities across the UK.  Our student researchers were very important and valued members of the research process by helping to co-create our methodology and by completing a significant amount of data collection.  

“Placing the voices of staff and students at the centre of the research helped to identify key recommendations for British Universities and Colleges Sport and their membership.  These aim to ensure that all types of abuse are not left to go cold, unchallenged and thus normalised.  The recommendations aim to support systematic and localised management of sport competition, mediation, in addition to data collection and analysis, to ensure social justice in sport is served, monitored and tackled strategically.  The research team are now working with BUCS and their members to work through the detailed process of implementing the recommendations.” 

Sam Bell-Minogue, Director of Delivery British Universities & Colleges Sport (BUCS), said: “The aim of this research is to identify areas for improvement, to recognise best practice and share a summary of how to improve our ability as a sector to engage with students from different race and ethnicities within the higher education sporting landscape.  

“The findings and recommendations will be used by BUCS, its network of member institutions (practitioners), and supporting partners to better engage a diverse range of students from all communities and provide insight into developing an inclusive approach to sport and physical activity programmes.  

“We aim to achieve equality of access to our portfolio of opportunities, so it is important that both BUCS and the higher education sector, and sporting partners fully understand the potential barriers that can prohibit students from engaging with such services. This research identifies recommendations that will help establish a truly inclusive approach to the development of physical activity programmes for BUCS and its members.  

“We would like to thank Dr Gavin Ward and his research team for all their sustained work and efforts in compiling the research but also identifying key recommendations which will enable BUCS and its members to develop an inclusive approach in all the programmes in which we deliver.” 

The report can be found here: 

A webinar on the research can be found here.

The first of two academic publications developed from the research can be found here 

The full article, Playing by white rules of racial equality: student athlete experiences of racism in British university sport, can be read here. 

 Anyone interested in studying for courses in the School of Sport at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days. 


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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