Yannick Kluch, Ph.D.
Joining the Center for Sport Leadership in August of 2021, Yannick Kluch is an assistant professor for sport leadership and the director of outreach and inclusive excellence. Kluch is a scholar-activist, educator, and consultant focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in U.S. and global sport. Prior to joining the CSL, Kluch has worked in the office of inclusion at the national office of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and served as assistant professor and lead faculty consultant in the Center for Sports Communication and Social Impact at Rowan University in New Jersey, where he also drove strategic inclusion initiatives in the university's athletics department. Kluch has taught courses such as Sociology of Sport, Global Sport & Physical Culture(s), Sport Ethics, and Team Dynamics.
Kluch’s research is focused on utilizing the potential of sport as a vehicle for inclusive leadership and social change as well as on eliminating barriers to social justice in sport. Specifically, his areas of expertise include cultural studies of sport, athlete activism, sport policy, and equity, diversity, and inclusion in U.S. and global sport. His research has been published (or is forthcoming) in Communication & Sport, Interactions: Studies in Communication & Culture, The Journal of Popular Culture, International Review of Qualitative Research, Psychology of Sport & Exercise, Case Studies in Sport Management, Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, and Sport Management Education Journal. Kluch regularly presents his research at various national and international conferences, including the annual conventions of the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, the North American Society for Sport Management, the National Communication Association, and the International Association for Communication and Sport (IACS). Kluch’s work has received funding from the prestigious Spencer Foundation.
During his time in graduate school at Bowling Green State University (BGSU), Kluch founded We Are One Team (WA1T) as an intersection of his research, teaching, and service in 2015. We Are One Team (WA1T) was a first-of-its-kind initiative that utilized sport to promote diversity, inclusion, and social justice on American college campuses. The initiative has provided Kluch with a platform to translate his research to non-academic audiences and speak on issues related to sport, diversity, inclusion, social justice, and athlete activism at outlets such as the NCAA Inclusion Forum, the NCAA Annual Convention, and the Muhammad Ali Center Athletes & Social Change Forum. Under Kluch’s leadership, We Are One Team (WA1T) has received numerous awards, including the national NCAA Award for Diversity and Inclusion – the highest honor for diversity and inclusion work in U.S. intercollegiate athletics.
In 2020, Kluch was one of only four national experts appointed by the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to serve on the inaugural Team USA Council on Racial & Social Justice, where he is advising the Council’s steering committee on athlete protests and demonstrations alongside over 40 Olympic and Paralympic athletes. The recommendations he helped develop for the Council have led the USOPC to no longer sanction athletes who choose to protest for racial and social justice during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
As a consultant focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in sport, Kluch has worked with organizations such as the NCAA, USOPC, USA Diving, the Women's Collegiate Gymnastics Association, and countless athletic departments across the country to drive inclusive excellence through the power of sport. As part of his consulting activities, he frequently translates his research to sport industry practitioners. For example, he recently created a set of resources on student-athlete activism for the NCAA Office of Inclusion, titled “The Power of the Student-Athlete Voice: Activism for Social Impact” (target audience: athletes) and “Facilitating and Supporting Student-Athlete Activism” (target audience: coaches/administrators).