Graduate Student Essay Award

The North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) gives an annual award to graduate students for original work in sport history. The NASSH Prize is awarded annually to the graduate student whose historical essay is judged by the committee to be of the highest quality.

The award winner will present their paper in a special session at the NASSH convention. The winner will also receive the following support for the next in-person conference: 

1) Round-trip travel, including economy airfare, from a site in North America to the next in-person NASSH Conference; 

2) Hotel accommodations and meals at the convention; 

3) Free convention registration; 

4) The winning essay will also be forwarded to the Journal of Sport History for review and possible publication. 


1) Any student doing graduate work in a recognized university during the academic year (including masters and doctoral candidates) or, any new Ph.D. or Master’s student who is within six months of having received his or her graduate degree is eligible. 

2) Candidates may submit only one paper to the competition per year. 

3. The paper must be your own work; co-authored publications are not permitted. The research and writing are to be undertaken by the student submitting the essay. 

4) Previous winners are ineligible. 

5) A student who has previously entered this contest (and did not win) may not submit a paper on the same or closely related subject in another year. 

Submission Rules:

Papers must be submitted in English, and must follow the basic style guidelines of the Journal of Sport History (based on Chicago Manual of Stylewith the exception that footnotes—not endnotes—should be used for citations. For more information on JSH style go to: 

Essays of 6,000 words are considered to be 24 pages long with approximately 250 words on each page of text. Please use one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, and double space your main text. Footnotes (single-spaced) are included as part of the essay’s total word count. Please note: essays exceeding 6,500 words or failing to follow other requirements—such as lacking an abstract—will not be considered for the award. 

By submitting a paper to the competition, the writer agrees that if they wins, that they shall attend the conference and present their paper.  Papers submitted to the NASSH Graduate Essay Competition may also be submitted to the NASSH Program Committee for possible inclusion as a regular conference paper at NASSH 

Applicants must complete the Graduate Essay Nomination form (available as a PDF) and should attach to the nomination form your 4,000-6,000 word essay as a single PDF with LastName_FirstName.pdf as the title. You should upload that file to the NASSH Conference Conftool System under the graduate essay award option.

2024 DEADLINE: January 15, 2024

For questions, contact Sarah K. Fields,

Past Graduate Student Essay Competition Winners


Cam Mallett, The Pennsylvania State University, “The 100% Wrong Club: How Atlanta’s Most Influential Black Booster Club Used Sport to Lobby for Social Change”


Tom Fabian, University of Western Ontario, “Whose National Sport? The Dubious Origins and Reinvented Histories of National Sports”


Zach Bigalke, The Pennsylvania State University, “Two Flashpoints in Time: BYU Football as a Catalyst for the Bowl Championship Series Era”


Conor Hefernan, The University of Texas at Austin, “Superfood or Superficial? Plasmon and the Birth of the Supplement Industry”


Austin Duckworth, University of Texas at Austin, “‘Decisive Political Ways’: The 1988 Seoul Olympic Games”


Ben Pollack, University of Texas at Austin, “Hot Body for a Cool Medium: Debbie Drake, Television, and the Sexualization of Exercise in Postwar America”


Cat Ariail, University of Miami, “The Athletic Citizenship Quest of Carlotta Gooden”


Ashley Brown, George Washington University, “Swinging for the State Department: American Women Tennis Players and the Politics of Gender in Goodwill Tours,1942-1959.”


Nathan Titman, University of Iowa, “Artist def. Machine: Bill Tilden’s Unruly Masculinity in 1920s Tennis”


Bieke Gils, University of British Columbia, “Flying, Flirting and Flexing: Charmion’s Trapeze Act, Sexuality and Physical Culture at the Turn of the Twentieth Century”


Dominic G. Morais, The University of Texas, Austin, “Branding Iron: Eugen Sandow’s Utilization of ‘Modern’ Marketing”


Terry Gitersos, University of Western Ontario, “‘Une grande victorie pour le Quebéc François’: The Elimination of English at Le Collisée”


John Gleaves, Penn State University, “Doping Professionals and Clean Amateurs: Amateurism’s Influences on the Modern Philosophy of Anti-Doping”


Travis Vogan, Indiana University, “Exceptional Excess: Prize Fighting Films, Jack Johnson, and Documentary Affect”


David Lunt, Penn State University, “The Heroic Athlete in Ancient Greece”


Matthew P. Llewellyn, Penn State University, “A Nation Divided: Great Britain and the Pursuit of Olympic Excellence, 1912-1914”


Carly Adams, University of Western Ontario, “From Montreal to London, 1926-1952: The Journey of Pauline Perron, Outsider, Pro Ball Player”


David Mizener, York University, “The State, the Agrarian Press, and the Ontario Plowman’s Association: Competitive Plowing and Agriculture in Twentieth-Century Ontario”


Jaime Schultz, University of Iowa, “‘A Wager Concerning a Diplomatic Pig’”: Remembering and Forgetting in the Iowa-Minnesota Football Contests, 1934-1935”


Kenneth Cohen, University of Delaware, “The Case for Space: Billards and American Sub-Cultures”


Jennifer Guiliano, Miami University of Ohio, “Sports Mascots as Illegitimate Identities: A Case Study of Miami University’s Redskins”


Matthew Andrews, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, “Equal Suffrage as Far as Prizefighters Go: Gender, Pugilism, and Public Space in Turn-of-the-Century San Francisco”


Annmarie Jutel, University of Otago, “Morality and Medicine: Sylvester Graham’s Doctrine of Healthy Living Revisited”

Greg Gillespie, University of Western Ontario, “Wickets in the West: Cricket, Culture and Constructed Images of Nineteenth Century Canada”


Brad Austin, Ohio State University, “The Politicalization of Intercollegiate Athletics During the Great Depression”


Susan L. Forbes, University of Western Ontario, “Defining Practices: Female Employees’ Leisure at Eaton’s”


Dan Mason, University of Alberta, “The International Hockey League and the Professionalization of Ice-Hockey, 1904-1907”


Stacy Lorenz, University of Alberta, “‘A Lively Interest on the Prairies’: Western Canada, The Mass Media, and a ‘World of Sport, 1870-1939”


R. Gregg Bennett, Auburn University, “Top of the 1st: Baseball from Reconstruction at Four Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conferences”


Patrick Trimble, Penn State University, “Babe Ruth: The Media Construction of a 1920’s Personality”


Robert Rinehart, University of Illinois, Urbana, “Fists Flew and Blood Flowed: Cultural Resistance, Hungarian Water Polo, and International Responses, 1945-1956”


Dennis Gildea, Penn State University, “Counterpunch: The Morrissey-Heenan Fight of 1858 and Frank Queen’s Attack on the ‘Respectable Press”


Jack Davis, Brandeis University, “Baseball’s Reluctant Challenge: Desegregating Major League Spring Training”


Barbara S. Pinto, University of Western Ontario, “Ain’t Misbehaving: The Montreal Shamrock Lacrosse Club Fans, 1868-1884”


Mark Dyreson, University of Arizona, “The Emergence of Consumer Culture and the Transformation of Physical Culture: American Sport in the 1920’s”


Stephen Wenn, University of Western Ontario, “A Tale of Two Diplomats: George S. Messersmith and Charles H. Sherrill on Proposed American Participation”


James Coates, University of Maryland, “The Racial Segregation of Baltimore Public Parks System, 1890-1917”


Jan Todd, University of Texas at Austin, “Benarr Macfadden: Reformer of Feminine Form”


Catriona Beaton Parratt, University of Windsor, “Sport and Hegemony: Windsor, Ontario, Canada, 1885-1929”