The Alabama Program in Sports Communication hosted the sixth-annual Sports Symposium on Friday, February 2. The event featured the presentation of current research, panel discussions and a keynote speaker, Dr. Welch Suggs of the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.
In his keynote address, Suggs discussed his research on the intersection of collegiate sports and sexual assault—particularly fanbases’ likelihood to believe sexual assault allegations made against their teams’ athletes and the idea of “rape myths.” He also challenged the packed room of students and scholars to ask themselves how their work can make the world a better place.
“The job of a reporter is to explain what is going on in the world in the best way he or she can,” said Suggs. “There’s a general role to play in trying to make the world better through communicating.
Other panel discussions and speakers presented research on gender in sports, network bias and sports analytics. Among other panel presentations, the Department of Communication Studies’ Dr. Meredith Bagley shared her research in progress on the Athletic Activism present at the 2016 ESPY Awards when Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade opened the show with a statement on the importance of athletes being agents for social change.
The morning concluded with a panel including, Dr. Welch Suggs; University of Alabama Athletic Director, Greg Byrne; and Executive Director, Football Bowl Association, Wright Waters. The panel discussed the historic and contemporary importance and difficulties of implementing Title IX to a major athletic university.
Other University of Alabama presenters included:
The Alabama Program in Sports Communication provides the opportunity to connect sports communication programs and emphases in the C&IS and in many other colleges at the Capstone. The APSC offers public events, highlights research and creative projects, and facilitates advanced discussions of communication and sport issues throughout the community and throughout the nation. Students in C&IS can specialize in sports communication in news media and public relations. For more information on ASPC, visit their website at https://sportscom.ua.edu.