About the AEI


The Athletic Equality Index was developed to measure LGBTQ inclusion policies and practices in collegiate athletics. Launched in 2017 and updated in 2019, this first-of-its-kind report provides a comprehensive look at how NCAA D-I institutions are supporting their LGBTQ student-athletes, coaches, administrators, staff, and fans. As of November 2021, the AEI has expanded to include D-II and D-III institutions.


Athlete Ally believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes, and endangers LGBTQI+ people in sport. We educate individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQI+ people and how they can build an inclusive culture. We work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. We incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQI+ equality in and through sport. For more information, visit www.athleteally.org or follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram.


The following scale was developed that scores the implementation and accessibility of eight critical LGBTQ-inclusive policies and best practices. Read more about our methods here.


AEI Scoring


At Athlete Ally, our research is dedicated to the dignity and liberty of all people around the world, and in sport in particular. Our research vision and guiding values are living and meant to be transformational.


We believe research has an impact and is inevitably a reflection of our values as an organization.

We attempt to conduct our research in ways that are:


Reflexivity, to us, includes systematically paying attention to the contexts in which our understanding of research is constructed. While some may see these different ways of knowing as a reliability problem, we value these differences as they provide a richer, more developed, and evolving understanding of our work.


We seek a broad spectrum of perspectives in our research. To do so, we draw upon the experiences of marginalized groups (especially those of differing abilities, races, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, LGBTQI+ people, indigenous peoples, women, girls, young people, and older people). Our research strives to privilege perspectives of those not regularly considered in the academy or sport broadly.


Our methods and approaches attempt to be intersectional in addressing the ways homophobia and transphobia interplay with other forms of discrimination—including racism, white supremacy, sexism, and ableism, as well as discrimination based on religion, ethnicity, class, age, and beyond in this historical moment.


We are dedicated to ensuring our research is reliable, valid, and consistent. We employ independent reviewers in each phase of our work to minimize potential errors and conflicts of interest within, and beyond, Athlete Ally.


Our aim is to produce impactful research. In our work to end homophobia and transphobia in sport and to activate the athletic community to champion LGBTQI+ equality, we aim to conduct our research in ways that are honest, transparent, and ethical. As a non-profit organization, we accept government funding, public donations, and corporate sponsorships. We never will accept funding that will force us to compromise our core values as an organization. We do not allow the sources of funding to dictate the scope and angle of our research.


We strive to use our research in two ways. First, we aim to support people within the LGBTQI+ community and those who identify or might identify, as allies to the LGBTQI+ community to end homophobia and transphobia in sport. Second, we aim to extend knowledge of, and research on, the experiences of those in the LGBTQI+ community. We attempt to communicate our findings in clear and relevant ways.


We believe in the power of humility, are grateful for opportunities to expand our thinking, and appreciate new perspectives. We are committed to sharing our processes of continued growth to be informed and responsive.


At Athlete Ally, we believe we can always do better. In each iteration of our studies, we log our data collection or the reporting mistakes we have made, ways in which our research could better align with our values, and the lessons we have learned. From our logged errata, we also aim to implement better techniques and processes.


We believe in collaboration over competition. We believe in reaching across sectors and organizations to complement one another’s strengths and develop shared road maps for the world we all hope to build.


At Athlete Ally, we believe we can always do better. In each iteration of our studies, we: log data collection and reporting mistakes we have made, ways in which our research could better align with our values, and the lessons we have learned. From our errata, we aim to implement better techniques and processes. Please contact us at [email protected] with other items that we should be aware of.