The College Sport Research Institute (CSRI) at the University of South Carolina celebrated the in-person return of its annual conference by recognizing a legend in the world of college sport.
Ellen J. Staurowsky, Ed.D., is the 2022 recipient of the Sonny Vaccaro Impact Award, given to individuals who have made a positive impact on college sport by advocating for or defending college athletes’ fundamental civil and human rights.
“CSRI is proud to recognize Dr. Staurowsky with the Sonny Vaccaro Impact Award. There is no scholar who has had a larger impact on college sport research than Dr. Staurowsky,” says CSRI Director and University of South Carolina Professor of Sport and Entertainment Management Richard Southall. “Her groundbreaking research has laid bare the exploitation of NCAA profit-athletes, and informed and inspired an entire generation of scholars.”
Staurowsky, a professor of sports media in the Roy H. Park School of Communications at Ithaca College, is a widely renowned teacher, author and researcher, internationally recognized as an expert on social justice issues in sport. She has earned numerous previous honors, including the Women’s Sports Foundation Researcher of the Year award, the National Association for Girls and Women in Sport’s President’s Award, the Laughlin Education Award from Ursinus College and the CSRI Lifetime Research Achievement Award.
“It is deeply humbling to have been selected for the Vaccaro Impact Award. Sonny Vaccaro is an exemplar in speaking truth to power,” says Staurowsky. “To be recognized as someone contributing to and carrying on his legacy is a tremendous honor.”
Staurowsky is a leading advocate for gender equity and Title IX, pay equity and equal employment opportunity, college athletes’ rights and ending the exploitation of college athletes, the faculty role in reforming college sport, representation of women in sport media, and ending the misappropriation of American Indian imagery in sport. She is co-author of the College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA Amateur Myth and editor and author of Women and Sport: A Continuing Journey from Liberation to Celebration. She has published research in many scholarly journals and given expert analysis and commentary for many media outlets, and was the lead author on the Women’s Sports Foundation’s research report, Her Life Depends on It: Sport and Physical Activity in the Lives of American Girls and Women.
She currently serves as a contributing / senior writer with Sports Litigation Alert and Legal Issues in College Athletics and has served as a research consultant to the National College Players Association, co-authoring several reports addressing issues regarding college football and basketball player value.
The Sonny Vaccaro Impact Award was established by CSRI in 2017 in honor of Vaccaro, who became famous for his tremendous success over decades as a sport marketing executive with Nike, Adidas and Reebok. Vaccaro’s greatest legacy, however, comes from his continuing work to change the fundamental structure of college sport. His relentless championing of the rights of high school and college athletes has included speaking on college campuses across the country, granting interviews and providing context for countless journalists, historians, documentary filmmakers, congressional staffers and college sport reformers, and convincing several lawyers to file lawsuits against the NCAA. He continues to speak truth to power and hold those who deny college athletes their fundamental rights up for public scrutiny.
CSRI, a research center within the University of South Carolina’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management, is dedicated to supporting interdisciplinary and inter-university collaborative college sport research. It serves as a research consortium for college sport researchers from across the United States and disseminates findings to academics, college sport practitioners and the general public. Its annual CSRI Conference provides scholars and students from across the U.S. with a forum for sharing their innovative work on college sport research.
CSRI also sponsors the Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics (JIIA) — a peer-reviewed, open-access resource that promotes discussion and examination of vital issues facing college athletics.