College Sports: A brave voice stands out from the common dialog

One woman leads the way in changing the narrative about college sports and the athletes who participate.

Rachel Baribeau is about changing college sports. She is doing it by helping change the lives of thousands of student-athletes. Baribeau had a long and successful career in sports media. She broke barriers for women who followed her.

Now she is on a new path. It is even more noteworthy than her previous, stellar career. In 2016, Baribeau started a new movement. It is known through the statement I’m Changing the Narrative. Since 2016 Baribeau has conducted sessions with more than 30 schools. She began working with the Big Ten in March. On Thursday the Big 12 announced a partnership with Baribeau “to supplement and support student-athlete well-being.”

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said,

This impactful platform helps student-athletes to make better choices in their personal lives, while destigmatizing mental and emotional support outreach, and removing barriers to advocate on issues of social justice.

Given the scope of the task, Baribeau should be recognized for not just boldness, but also courage. She is also engaged in an effort to accomplish the same goals with high school students. Raising them up, as she says to become ‘Queens and Kings.” A deeper dig into Baribeau’s program shows it is not just for young people. She has a virtual training curriculum applicable to individuals from “seven to 85.”

Why such a broad effort? The answer is simple. Someone needed to be doing what Rachel is doing. In a world too often defined by separateness, Baribeau is seeking to unite. For young people, her effort is powerful because her message is powerful.

talking to young athletes about being Kings and Queens through purpose, passion and platform; and on a deeper level how we look at/respect women in society as a whole, and within their universities.

That is not all. Baribeau also targets support for young people in trouble. She describes it as,

we have had one central goal: saving and profoundly changing lives by giving permission for those in need to take action within themselves first, and when necessary by seeking outside help and support,

Rachael Baribeau is not just trying to better lives inside college sports. Her vision is broader and deeper. She intends to change lives outside of sports as well.

Not everyone inside or outside of college sports will truly get the value of Rachel’s efforts. Her designs can appear almost too simple to fully appreciate. Pull people up from turmoil; help build them up through awareness and training; support them building themselves and others up through resolve and resilience. The world needs more Rachel Baribeaus.

Baribeau said she is honored and humbled for the opportunity afforded her by the Big 12. She and the conference are willing to be “forces for positive change in society.”