Student athletes, like all students at UConn, are considered to be a vulnerable population because of concerns with issues of coercion, undue influence and privacy. However, their involvement in research studies raises special concerns regarding recruitment and compensation for research studies since they are subject to NCAA rules and regulations that are related to their scholarships and participation in athletics (scholarship and drug testing).
Any member of the coaching staff, faculty or graduate student researchers (particularly those assigned to an athletic team) are encouraged to contact the IRB office prior to submission of the protocol for advice to minimize the potential for undue influence or coercion. You may be advised to consider using anonymous data collection methods or an independent third party to consent participants or collect data.
If student athletes are specifically recruited for a research study because of their status as athletes, the researchers must obtain approval from the Athletics Compliance Office prior to enrollment. Written documentation of approval from the Athletics Compliance Office must be provided to the IRB and indicate that they understand the research and agree that it will not jeopardize the student athlete’s NCAA eligibility.
If results of the research will be shared with the coach or any member of the coaching staff, sports medicine or athletic training staff or any staff person in the Director of Athletics office, the nature of the data being shared must be fully explained in the protocol application. In addition, the student athletes must be informed of this in the consent form.
Compensation to Student Athletes
According to the NCAA Compliance Office and the Big East Compliance Office, student athletes may be paid for their participation in research studies provided that the student athletes are being recruited from the general student body because they are students at UConn and NOT because they are student-athletes. If a research study targets individuals who are athletic and, as an example, a soccer or field hockey player wants to participate in the study, they may be able to participate and get paid. However, student athletes MAY NOT be recruited for a study AND be provided with payment for participation JUST BECAUSE of their student-athletes status.