50 Years of NASSH

As part of NASSH's fiftieth anniversary, the NASSH 50 Subcommittee is collecting information about the history of the organization. The subcommittee therefore invites feedback on The  NASSH Timeline , created by Ron Smith, by clicking the heart icon above.

Please feel free to add comments and/or suggestions on the timeline to help the subcommittee create a more complete picture of NASSH's robust history. Using the comment box, which appears once text is highlighted, let the committee know what information is missing, if an interpretation is incorrect, etc.

If you have questions, please contact NASSH 50 co-chairs Carly Adams ( carly.adams@uleth.ca) and Lindsay Pieper ( pieper.l@lynchburg.edu).

Update on Future NASSH Conferences

The Time and Site Committee (Steve Gietschier, Chair, Russell Field, Johanna Mellis, and Ornella Nzindukiyimana) has unanimously recommended that the 2022 NASSH conference be held in Chicago rather than Columbus, Ohio. The Executive Council is in complete support of the recommendation as it allows us to fulfill the contract we signed but have been unable to honor with the Doubletree Hotel in Chicago for both 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19, no small matter as the organization would have been out some $46,000 by not following through on arrangements that had previously been negotiated.

Although this means our 50th Anniversary celebration will not be held at the site of our first conference, the Time and Site Committee and the Executive Council are excited about finally being able to fulfill the contract with the Doubletree Hotel and continue to be enthusiastic about Chicago as a conference venue. Importantly, the Time and Site Committee is in the process of revising the five-year plan for conference sites that was agreed upon by the membership in Boise, Idaho in 2019 and will provide an update of their discussion (and suggestions) well in advance of our upcoming virtual meeting.

Thanks to everyone for their understanding. The pandemic has required us to make difficult decisions, but decisions we think are in our best interests of the organization and its members. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Be well and stay safe.

Statement in Support of Dr. Johanna Mellis and Dr. Nathan Kalman-Lamb

The Executive Council of the North American Society for Sport History stands in support of and in solidarity with Dr. Johanna Mellis and Dr. Nathan Kalman-Lamb. They, in a good faith Twitter exchange about American college sport, experienced bullying from ESPN radio host Dan Dakich that escalated to  doxxing and sexual harassment on his radio show. We offer our colleagues support with the following statement.   

"The Executive Council of the North American Society for Sport History (NASSH) stands in support and solidarity with all those who are subjected to intimidation, incivility, and harassment. Regrettably, such behaviors are not and have not been unusual in the world of sport. Scholars with public-facing work ought to be able to engage with the larger community, whether digitally or in-person, without fear of harassment. NASSH supports an open exchange of ideas, including disagreement, and we stand against targeted harassment of all kinds, including sexual harassment, doxxing, and bullying. We particularly stand against misogynistic and sexist abuse. Such behaviors perpetuate harm and serve to silence critics, which is antithetical to the scholarly mission of our society. NASSH seeks to support its members, and we stand with all of our colleagues who are subjected to such attacks." 

Executive Council, NASSH

Black Lives Matter

The North American Society for Sport History (NASSH), a proud and thriving organization dedicated to the scholarly study and promotion of the history of sport, is set to celebrate its 50 years of existence in Columbus, Ohio in 2022. As excited as members are about this significant milestone in the organization’s history, a milestone that will be marked by a number of special activities and events, the NASSH Executive Council recognizes that a celebration of this type must coincide with a public recognition of the colonialism, racial inequality, injustice, and white privilege permeating North American culture. We are deeply troubled by the recent deaths of unarmed Black and Indigenous men and women, continued racism across North America, and persistence of police brutality evidenced on an almost daily basis.

Of many recent frightening images, the videos of a helpless Black man lying on the ground crying for his mother while having life literally sucked out of him by the pressure exerted from a policeman’s knee, a 26 year old Indigenous woman shot and killed after police were called on a ‘wellness check’ and the deadly police shooting of a young Black female emergency room technician while sitting in her apartment have been horrific. They are stark reminders of the genocide and displacement of the Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Black people and the ongoing legacy of racial inequality and discrimination that have been carried out in North America since the first arrival of the Europeans more than five centuries ago.

It is apparent that North Americans have failed to live up to our democratic ideals, devoting far too little attention to the systemic racism and colonialism that has resulted in the senseless deaths of Black, and Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) and negatively impacted every institution in our countries. . The great Black intellectual and activist W.E.B. DuBois was absolutely correct when he noted, initially at the First Pan-African Conference in London in 1900 and then more famously three years later in his The Souls of Black Folk, that “The problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line.” What he could not have anticipated is that the problem would persist into the twenty-first century. The recent spate of violence perpetuated against Black and Indigenous people has galvanized individuals and groups representing various colors, cultural backgrounds, sexual orientation, occupations, religious affiliations, and political parties into an extremely large and powerful and energized Black Lives Matter movement. BLM aligns with and reinforces the Indigenous Idle No More movement. Organized rallies and marches in cities large and small across the United States, Canada and Mexico  have been held to protest racial violence and discrimination. Sparked by the deaths of defenseless Black and Indigenous men and women in North America, protests reflecting the increasing anger over police treatment of Black and Indigenous people and different ethnic minorities have been staged in such culturally diverse places around the world as Berlin, Brisbane, London, Paris, Hamburg, and Tokyo.  But these protests and the political energy they generate must be turned into corrective action.

The Executive Committee is in full support of and stands in solidarity with those participating in these rallies and protests and other efforts made to wipe out systemic racism. We commit our scholarly association to the encouragement of Black and Indigenous scholars and of the critical, engaged scholarship and communication that interrogates and lays bare the scourges of colonialism and racism in all its forms in our societies.

Inspired by the words of famous Black poet Maya Angelou, “This is the time where we need to uplift, not to separate,” we are committed to inclusivity and diversity in all its various forms. We will undertake new initiatives and push for positive administrative and organizational change. In addition to our “Resolution on Racial Mascots” passed at the 2017 NASSH Business meeting, and the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples at the 2018 NASSH Business meeting, we approved at our recent Executive Council meeting the creation of a Diversity Recognition Award. Brought forward by the Membership Committee in an effort to increase diversity in our membership, the Award will be given to an individual studying the history of sport who self-identifies as an ethnic/racial minority. We approved, moreover, a new honor address brought forward by the NASSH 50 Committee that will recognize prominent individuals who have promoted diversity, equity, and social justice through sport history by virtue of their research, advocacy, and professional practice. Finally, we are very supportive of the “Caucus on Inclusion” initiative that has been put forward. Although not official sponsors, we are enthusiastic about this initiative which is intended to foster dialogue among members regarding diversity and ultimately result in measures to create and preserve the safe spaces necessary for people to talk more freely about racial matters and broader concerns of inclusivity. Please let me know by Tuesday, June 30 if you do not endorse this statement. On a related matter, the American Historical Association (AHA), with which we have affiliated status, has released what they term the “AHA Statement of Racist Violence in the United States." The Executive Council strongly endorses this statement and trusts that the NASSH membership is supportive of this endorsement as well. With that said, please let me know by Tuesday, June 30 if you do not support the “AHA Statement of Racist Violence in the United States.” As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns. Be well and stay safe.

David K. Wiggins, NASSH President

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia, USA

2021 NASSH Graduate
Student Award

We are pleased to announce that Tom Fabian’s essay, “Whose National Sport? The Dubious Origins and Reinvented Histories of National Sports” has been selected for the 2021 NASSH Graduate Student Essay Prize. Tom, holder of a B.S. degree in kinesiology from McGill University and M.A. degree in sport history and culture from De Montfort University, is a Ph.D. student at Western University and an advisee of Dr. Robert Barney. Tom’s essay will be presented at this year’s virtual conference, along with 2020 award winner Zach Bigalke who will deliver his essay “Two Flashpoints in Time: BYU Football as a Catalyst for the Bowl Championship Series.” It is also our pleasure to announce that Rudy Mondragon, a Ph.D. student in Chicana/o and Central American Studies at UCLA, was the other finalist for this year’s award. Mondragon, an advisee of Dr. Gaye Theresa Johnson, submitted for the competition the essay “Boxing Ring Entrances as Insubordinate Space: A Disruptive Oral History.” Congratulations to Tom, Rudy, and the other graduate students who submitted essays for this year’s competition. It was a pleasure to read all the essays, which were of the highest quality and characterized by good writing, thorough research, and cogent analysis and interpretations.


David K. Wiggins, NASSH President and Chair
Matthew R. Hodler
George N. Kioussis
Maria J. Veri

2020 NASSH Graduate
Student Award

We are pleased to announce that Zach Bigalke’s essay “Two Flashpoints in Time: BYU Football as a Catalyst for the Bowl Championship Series Era,” has been selected for the 2020 NASSH Graduate Student Essay Prize. Zach, holder of B.A. and M.A. degrees in history from the University of Oregon, is a Ph.D. student at Penn State University and an advisee of Dr. Jaime Schultz. Because of the cancellation of the 2020 conference, Zach’s essay will be presented at next year’s conference in Chicago. It is also our pleasure to announce that Sebastian Potgieter, a Ph.D. student at the University of Otago, and Katie Taylor, a Ph.D. student at De Montfort University, were the two other finalists for this year’s award. Sebastian, an advisee of Drs. Doug Booth and Mark Falcous, submitted for the competition the essay “Representing 1981: Narrating the Springbok Rugby Tour of New Zealand.” Katie, an advisee of Drs. Martin Polley and Heather Dichter, submitted for the competition the essay “‘The First Woman Football Coach...': A Media Study of Female American Football Coaches, 1908-1960.” Both essays, like Zach’s, were very nicely written, thoughtful, and full of cogent analyses and interpretations. Congratulations to Zach, Sebastian, Katie, and the other graduate students who submitted essays for the competition. All told, the overall quality of this year’s submissions makes clear the future of sport history is in good hands.

David K. Wiggins, NASSH President

2020 NASSH Book Awards

Each year NASSH considers submissions for its book awards. It is a delight to be able to honor and celebrate outstanding research in our field, and to acknowledge the range of scholarly activity that gives sport history its vivacity and reach. We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2020 Awards.The Book Awards Committee considered a large number of submissions. From that extremely strong field have selected two outstanding books that both are a considerable contribution to the field and have a considerable reach into cognate fields.


Barbara Keys’ outstanding collection The Ideals of Global Sport: From Peace to Human Rights assembles leading analysts in the field to explore key issues in the claims for sports’ global moral significance, focusing on the reasons for the strength of those claims rather than their veracity  per se. As such it is a major contribution to sport history as well as to politics, philosophy, and sociology among others, highlighting the interdisciplinary power of historically informed and engaged scholarship. This a collection that should influence and shape our discussions of sports’ reputed social and moral effects, and reframe sports scholarship and practice. It is a major text in and beyond the field that we are honored to celebrate.  https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/book/15956.html


Kathleen Bachynski’s exceptional No Game for Boys to Play: The History of Youth Football and the Origins of a Public Health Crisis was the standout book in an exceptionally strong field. Bachynski blends health and sport history to engage with and frame a vital contemporary public health issue, and to challenge our understandings of football, of brain injury, and of masculinities. The book is a major contribution to sport history as well as histories of public health, health policy, gender, and images of nationhood. Along with its US focus, the argument resonates powerfully with debates in other national settings and deserves a wide readership. It is a major text in and beyond the field that we are honored to celebrate.  https://uncpress.org/book/9781469653709/no-game-for-boys-to-play/Congratulations to Prof Keys and Dr Bychanski. We will celebrate these successes at the NASSH 2021 convention.

Malcolm MacLean, Convenor, NASSH Book Prize Committee 2020 on behalf of Adam Criblez and Cat Ariail, with Rita Liberti and Jason Shurley (Anthologies) and Steve Reiss and Maureen Smith (Monographs)

The International Journal of the History of Sport, Volume 38, 2021, Issue 4 | Regional Issue: Americas @tandfsport @IJHSofficial #sporthistory #historyofsport #twitterstorians #sportheritage #Sportgeschichte https://idrottsforum.org/the-international-journal-of-the-history-of-sport-volume-38-2021-issue-4-regional-issue-americas/

STADION. International Journal of the History of Sport, Vol. 45, 2021, Issue 1 #sporthistory #historyofsport #twitterstorians #sportheritage #Sportgeschichte https://idrottsforum.org/stadion-international-journal-of-the-history-of-sport-vol-45-2021-issue-1/

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NASSH President

David Wiggins

George Mason University


Business Inquiries

Thomas Hunt

The University of Texas at Austin


Organizational Inquiries

Lindsay Parks Pieper

University of Lynchburg


Graduate Student Inquiries

Tanya Jones

The University of Texas at Austin


Website Inquiries

Andrew Linden

California State University, Northridge