Education Guiding Principles

The athletics department has a uniform, written policy requiring substance misuse education for student-athletes, cheerleaders, student managers and athletic training students/volunteers that is in addition to required NCAA education on banned drugs and the products that may contain them. Materials, programs, and referral sources are readily available, specifically tailored to the needs of student-athletes, and are evaluated regularly.  The athletics department participates in a peer education program designed and/or adapted for the needs of student-athletes. Substance misuse prevention professionals guide the peer education program and provide training on evidence-informed prevention and intervention programs. Coaches and sports medicine staff are well informed about substance misuse prevention, especially as it relates to the athletics culture. 

Evidence-Based Strategies to Address Education

The College Alcohol Intervention Matrix (CollegeAIM) was created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) to help schools select evidence-based programs for substance misuse prevention. Interventions listed below are rated by higher, moderate or lower effectiveness or there is mixed evidence/too few studies to rate effectiveness.  As you develop your action plan, first consider the items below rated with higher effectiveness. 

Higher effectiveness:

Moderate effectiveness

Lower effectiveness:


Information on nutritional supplement safety from Drug Free Sport, International


Programs developed by past APPLE attendees:

Division I

Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) - Saint Francis University

  • SAMs serve as mentors to first year student-athletes and serve as role models in leadership, scholarship,
    and service. Website provides links to several years of newsletters.

"No More" Video - University of Georgia

  • Student-athletes created a one-minute video on sexual assault and dating violence issues and encouraging bystander intervention.

"SAMs Say" Poster Series - University of Virginia

  • Student-athlete interns research health topics specific to student-athletes and created a series of posters hung in team locker rooms. Program description and many poster examples are available.

Knights CARE Program - University of Central Florida

  • The CARE Team's goal is to promote Courage to stand, Awareness of resources, Responsibility to act, and Excellence on and off the field. The link is to a PowerPoint presentation on the creation and components of the program.

Division II

Student Athlete Mentor (SAM) Program -  University of Virginia's College at Wise

  • The program is intended to provide education and a supportive culture among student-athletes and to help develop student-athletes into leaders. Website includes a link to the SAM nomination form.

Responsible Lions -  Texas A&M University, Commerce

  • A student-athlete led group promoting awareness and educating their teammates, peers, campus and community on a variety of issues. Videos and social media links are available on the website.

Division III

Choose Cardinals First - Catholic University of America

  • Through the NCAA CHOICES grant, Catholic University empowered students in their organizations, clubs, and athletic teams to create campus-wide change around alcohol and drug consumption through the Choose Cardinals First program. Students learn tangible skills around leadership, bystander intervention, harm reduction strategies, and ethical decision-making in a high-engaging activity model.

Badger Leadership: Promoting Healthy CHOICES - Johnson State College

  • This project, funded through an NCAA CHOICES grant, educates, supports, and empowers students to make choices that are healthy, safe, and legal concerning alcohol, and to actively engage student leaders in promoting positive choices to their peers through peer advocacy/mentoring. The website provides an overview of all campaign components.

Athlete Mentor Program - Worcester State University

  • The program connects upper class athletes with first-year athletes to help the students adjust to college. Mentors serve as knowledgeable resources and regularly meet with their freshmen mentees. Website links to several program press releases.

Athletic Mentorship Program (AMP) - North Central College

  • AMP connects first-year and upper class student athletes to help new students maximize their personal and academic growth. It is organized around regular meetings and assignments for mentees.

Student Athlete Services (SAS) Curriculum -  Gustavus Adolphus College

  • SAS is a four-year series of programs addressing eligibility, well being topics, leadership opportunities and career development. Year-by-year program offerings are provided.

Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) - Grinnell College

  • SAMs are internal team resources on health and safety issues.  The link is to a PowerPoint presentation that provides an overview of the SAM program, activities and lessons learned.

Student Athlete Mentors (SAMs) - Wilson College

  • SAMs promote student-athlete wellness and support the development of a well-balanced lifestyle that encourages their emotional well-being, personal growth and positive decision making skills.The SAM webpage provides detailed information on SAM goals, expectations, responsibilties, recruitment process and opportunities.