CU announced the creation of the Colorado Athletics Visibility Award (CAVA) Dec. 1, 2021. The $20,000 scholarship, the first of its kind in collegiate athletics, recognizes student-athletes who use their platform, power and visibility to support LGBTQ+ participants in sports. CAVA was founded by Buff Club development intern Nicholas Turco (PolSci’22). Turco conducted a study about sports climate and culture for LGBTQ+ members in CU Athletics, which identified challenges for transgender student-athletes and the difficulty of being one’s authentic self in male-identified revenue-generating sports.
In partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, Turco coordinated raising over $80,000 towards a goal of covering attendance at CU for two recipients annually, while also funding other student-athletes’ projects. Volleyball’s Alexia Kuehl (SLHSci’24) and men’s basketball’s Evan Battey (Jour’21; MSOL’23) are the first CAVA recipients. Kuehl hopes to promote awareness and inclusion for LGBTQ+ identities in local schools and create an anti-bullying video to be shared in the schools. Battey wants to create change for LGBTQ+ individuals in CU Athletics specifically, while raising awareness and funds for future CAVA recipients.
“My hope is to bring both my communities together with sports and LGBTQ+, and help raise awareness for younger generations so they don't have to be afraid to be who they are,” Kuehl said. Battey added, “We need more proud allies in the community. It is incredibly important to me and the people around me that we must have a basic understanding of LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance of them.”
Photo by Matt Tyrie