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Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, University of Oklahoma

Kirsten Hextrum is the Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Hextrum is a former NCAA Division I two-time national champion rower and current expert on college sport access, equity, and diversity. As a cultural studies scholar, she employs critical theories to examine reproduction and contestation of power at the nexus of school, sports, and communities. Her book, Special Admission: How college athletic recruitment favors white suburban athletes (Rutgers University Press, 2021) contradicts the belief that college sports provide an avenue for upward mobility. She has appeared as an expert in documentary films, radio programs, and was quoted in over 40 national and international news media outlets including The Atlantic, The Guardian, CNN, and National Public Radio, among others. She is a frequent host of equity workshops and faculty advisor for OU’s white athlete ally program; the Pac-12 women’s athlete activists; and the Freedom Football League. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Hextrum worked in academic support services for college athletes and completed her PhD in Education at the University of California Berkeley.


2017: PhD in Education, University of California, Berkeley

2012: MA in Education, University of California, Berkeley

2007: BA in History, University of California, Berkeley, 2007


2017 - Present: Assistant Professor, Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, Core Affiliate Faculty, Women’s & Gender Studies, University of Oklahoma

Hextrum, K. (2021). Special Admission: How college sports recruitment favors white suburban athletes. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.


Hextrum, K. (In Press). “Fair play, Fraud, or Fixed? Athletic credentials in U.S. higher education.” In, S. E. & J. Carmichael (Eds.) Fake degrees and fraudulent credentials in higher Education. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature Switzerland AG

Hextrum, K., & Sethi, S. (2021). Title IX at 50: Legitimating state domination of women’s sport. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 1-18.

Hextrum, K. (2021). Socializing sport and socially constructing race: How academic exclusion and athletic inclusion draw Black youth to sport. Journal of Contemporary Athletics, 14(4), 281-305

Hextrum, K. (2021). White Property Interests in College Athletic Admissions. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 1-21. doi: 10.1177/01937235211015352

Hextrum, K. (2021). Producing athletes and centering whiteness: Exploring the collegiate athletic cultures that normalize racism. Journal of College and Character, 22(2), 114-133 doi: 10.1080/2194587X.2021.1898982

Hextrum, K., Becker, M., & Stinnett, J. (2021). Masculinist state protection: Safety concerns produce gender disparities in university housing. Gender Issues, 1-22 doi: 10.1007/s12147-020-09272-1

Hextrum, K. (2020). Individualizing conflict: How ideology masks college athletes’ educational compromises. Studies in Higher Education. 45(4), 755-767. doi:10.1080/03075079.2018.1554639

Hextrum, K. (2020). Amateurism revisited: How US college athletic recruitment favors middle-class athletes. Sport, Education, and Society, 25(1), 111-123. doi:10.1080/13573322.2018.1547962

Hextrum, K. (2020). Bigger, faster, stronger: How racist and sexist ideologies persist in college sports. Gender and Education, 32(8), 1053-1071. doi: 10.1080/09540253.2019.1632418

Hextrum, K. (2020). Segregation, innocence, and protection: The institutional conditions that maintain whiteness in college sports. Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 13(4), 384-395. doi: 10.1037/dhe0000140

Hextrum, K. (2019). Operation Varsity Blues: Disguising the legal capital exchanges and white property interests in athletic admissions. Higher Education Politics & Economics, 5(1), 15-32. doi:10.32674/hepe.v5i1.1359

Hextrum, K. (2019). Reproducing sports stars: How students become elite athletes. Teachers College Record, 121(4), 1-38. ISSN-0161-4681.

Hextrum, K. (2018). The hidden curriculum of college athlete recruitment. Harvard Educational Review, 88(3), 355-377.

Mirabelli, A. & Hextrum, K. (2018). Proactive program improvement: Incorporating assessment into student athlete academic support services. In D. Van Rheenen & J.M. DeOrnellas (Eds.) Envisioning Scholar practitioner collaborations: Building communities of practice in Education and Sport Research (pp.73-94). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing

Hextrum, K. (2017). Segregated bodies: Gender reproduction within college sport. In A. Milner and J. Braddock II (Eds.) Women in sport: Breaking barriers, facing obstacles, Vol. 2 (pp. 169-185). Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger.

Hextrum, K. (2014). A Feminist perspective on the school-to-labor pipeline. Berkeley Review of Education, 5(1), 89-112.

Cummins, J., & Hextrum, K. (2013). The management of intercollegiate athletics at Cal: Turning points and consequences. Center for Studies in Higher Education Research and Occasional Paper Series. 12(13), 1-41.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma


University of Oklahoma, Presidential Professorship (2021 - 2025); Emerging Scholar Award, American Education Researchers Association, SIG 164: Research Focus in Sport and Education (2020); Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education, Pre-Tenure Faculty Award (2020); NCAA Division I Rowing National Championship (2005, 2006)