Athlete Ally Statement on AEI Scores and Anti-LGBTQ+ Campus Climates

We have heard public concerns about BYU receiving an 85/100 on the Athletic Equality Index (AEI), and we recognize that BYU is one of several institutions scored by the AEI with policies against LGBTQ+ inclusion.

The AEI was designed to measure the LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices that would most help protect, respect and affirm the experiences of LGBTQ+ athletes, fans and athletic department personnel nationally. While the AEI has directly led to important policy and practice at adoptions, there remain gaps in creating a measurement that fully reflects the lived experiences of LGBTQ+ athletes, fans and personnel. These gaps are most pronounced at institutions with faith based affiliations, those that have sought or received Title IX exemptions, and those institutions with a history of failing or falling short of their commitment to people with other minority identities. 

Athlete Ally designed the AEI with a narrow focus on those LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices which were directly within the authority of athletic departments to implement. As the scope and importance of the AEI continues to grow, we recognize that the measurement of policies and practices alone is an insufficient indicator of culture and climate for prospective LGBTQ+ individuals who are considering calling these institutions their home. 

In an effort to better align AEI metrics with the likely lived experiences of the people these institutions seek to serve, Athlete Ally will be updating the AEI pages for every DI institution with the following additional information.

  1. Title IX exemptions – sought or received.
  2. Honor Codes or other faith affiliated pledges which may impact a person’s ability to live openly and authentically.
  3. Prominent and publicly available institutional legal allegations or investigations on the negative treatment of minority populations. 

We believe that these additional changes to our AEI criteria will continue to allow institutions to commit to those measurable changes which are in the control of athletic departments and which will meaningfully improve an institution’s commitment towards their LGBTQ+ constituents; while more accurately reflecting the ways in which LGBTQ+ individuals might be experiencing harm at these colleges and universities. 

The goal of the Athletic Equality Index has always been to help every NCAA institution in the country take meaningful and measurable steps to better support their LGBTQ+ athletes, fans and personnel. This has at times required Athlete Ally to acknowledge and uplift schools who have shown tangible progress towards that goal, despite their known shortcomings. Going forward, Athlete Ally will do a better job of both highlighting those areas of growth and investment as well as the ways in which institutions may not be living up to the values and expectations of the AEI.