Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis


Communication Sciences & Disorders

First Advisor

Rose Campbell


The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic rapidly spread throughout the United States in 2020, affecting many lives in the process. As health communicators, dealing with this disease and sharing effective health messaging in a fluid and unknown situation was key to preventing greater spread of COVID-19 and keeping the public safe from harm. For athletics, like all other aspects of society, protocols needed to be put in place to ensure that athletes could safely participate and compete in their sport. The present study looks to examine NCAA COVID-19 protocols of mask wearing and social distancing and how NCAA Division 1 soccer players personally felt about the protocols and how these athletes viewed their institution’s take on these protocols. A cross-sectional (online) survey was distributed through a snowball sample to NCAA Division 1 soccer players (N = 110). Key findings include significant differences between male and female athletes’ perceptions of protocols, high optimism bias and comparative bias among athletes, high self-efficacy and response efficacy in relation to the protocols, and significant influences on the athletes’ beliefs about COVID-19 by their parents and teammates. Implications highlight the inequalities between male and female athletes and the risk of lack of credibility among the NCAA in future health messaging.

Included in

Communication Commons