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This manuscript seeks to offer insight about how coaches can better address drinking among collegiate student-athletes. Using a mixed-methods design, 519 NCAA coaches reported their attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking, and responded to open-ended questions about their perceived role, strategies, and challenges to addressing problems in this population. Three dimensions of coaches’ attitudes and behaviors toward student-athlete drinking emerged that were consistent regardless of the players’ or coach’s gender or division: Concerned Communication, Conditional Leniency, and Enforcement. Effective strategies identified by coaches included enforcement of policy, education about consequences of drinking, establishment of quality coach-athlete relationships, and management of athletes’ schedules. Coaches indicated the need to play a role in managing, educating, influencing, and supporting the student-athletes to prevent alcohol misuse. Coaches reported challenges regarding the culture of drinking on college campuses, individual differences (e.g., age) among student-athletes, acceptance and enforcement of the alcohol policy, lack of awareness about student-athletes’ activities, and identification of alcohol misuse.
Chow, Bird, Soendergaard, and Yang are with the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.