What is Beyond the Field?
Regardless if you were the kid who built sandcastles in the outfield or the star-athlete, it is hard to deny the role sport holds in our hearts and society. The magnitude of which sport has consumed society as a form of entertainment or employment is impossible to ignore. Sports have provided us with modern heroes and heroines, epic stories of triumph, and unbelievable feats. Beyond the Field believes that sports are more than just a game; they reflect and encompass what is happening in the world, which is why we are devoted to creating open dialogues around difficult issues as they intersect with sport by inviting esteemed experts to dissect societal issues and how that intersects with sport.
The program has covered issues from gender equity to activism to sexual assault and racism. By examining these topics through the lens of sport, we are creating a space to deepen our understanding on these topics and push your limits even further.
We welcome you to join us for our upcoming semester's dialogue.
Special thanks to our teammates:
African American Cultural Center
Asian American Cultural Center
Center for Students with Disabilities
Neag School of Education - Department of Educational Leadership,
Sport Management Program
For more information, please contact us via email.
2017-2018 Beyond the Field Events
March 28, 2018
Inclusivity vs. Accessibility: Why adaptive sports makes sense at the collegiate level
Ryan Martin is the founder of the Ryan Martin Foundation, and also spends time a consultant for the NCAA on their Inclusive Sports Model. The mission of his foundation is to help youth and adult athletes with disabilities live independent, impassioned, productive and full lives through sports training, mentoring and education. Ryan is a graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University and led SMSU to the NWBA National Title Game in 2001. After graduation, Ryan joined the Phoenix Wheelchair Suns and played in the 2005 NWBA All-Star game. In 2007, Ryan joined the professional basketball league in Europe. He played 10 season in Spain and France. This season Ryan is playing for the New York Rolling Knicks of the NWBA.
Visit his website to learn more about the foundation,
February 14, 2018
Social justice issues in sport, gender equity and Title IX, and the misappropriation of American Indian imagery
Dr. Ellen Staurowsky is an internationally renowned expert on issues about social justice throughout sport. This includes the rights of college athletes, gender equity and Title IX, in conjunction with the misappropriation of American Indian symbolism. Not only is she an expert in these fields, she is also the lead author on the Women's Sports Foundation's 2015 report Her Life Depends on It III: Sport and Physical Activity in the Lives of American Girls and Women, and the book, College Athletes for Hire: The Evolution and Legacy of the NCAA Amateur Myth.
She has also co-authored numerous reports with Executive Director of the National College Players Association, Ramogi Huma, including The $6 Billion Heist: Robbing College Athletes Under the Guise of Amateurism. Dr. Staurowsky has made many appearances in high profile news organizations such as Forbes, Huffington Post, The New York Times and U.S. News & World Report.
November 8, 2017
Burn it All Down: A Conversation with Shireen Ahmed
Shireen Ahmed is a writer, public speaker and sports activist focusing on Muslim women in sports. She is an athlete, advocate, community organizer, and works with youth of colour on empowerment projects and is an avid sports coach and mentor. She is a regular contributor to Muslimah Media Watch, a Global Sports Correspondent for Safe World For Women and Works on the Muslim Women in Sports website.
Her work has been featured and discussed in Sports Illustrated, Racialicious, Policy Mic, The Globe and Mail, Jezebel, VICE Sports, Islamic Monthly, Soccer Politics/ The Politics of Football, A Football Report, Huffington Post, Football Beyond Borders, International Museum of Women, Best Health Magazine, Aquila Style, Muslim Voices, Women Talk Sports, Footynions, espnW and Edge of Sports Radio.
Playing for Change
The Soccer Without Borders mission is to use soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing under-served youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. SWB is an international organization with locations across the United States as well as Kampala, Uganda and Granada, Nicaragua. SWB Boston serves newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant boys and girls ages 7-16 living in East Boston and surrounding cities with an emphasis on family engagement. The SWB curriculum involves soccer, educational support, civic engagement, team building, and cultural exchange.
This year, Soccer Without Borders was awarded the 2017 Urban Soccer Symposium Impact Award from the U.S. Soccer Foundation for using sport to enact measurable and sustainable positive change within an underserved community for at least five years.
Check out their website at: https://www.soccerwithoutborders.org/
September 13, 2017
The Power, Potential, and Purpose of Sport
Eli Wolff is a Program Director of the Sport and Development Project at Brown University and also directs the Inclusive Sports Initiative at the Institute for Human Centered Design. His work focuses on the intersection of research, policy and practice to advance sport and human rights, development and social change.
Wolff coordinated efforts to include sport within the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. He has also been active in Olympism and Olympic education, as well as athlete activism. Wolff has contributed to advancing sport and development through research, policy and practice.
For more information, please visit:
Motivational Jumpstart's radio interview
2016-2017 Beyond the Field Events
Brazil’s Dance with the Devil; Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down; What's My Name, Fool!; The John Carlos Story
The Sports Moment That Changed the World, among others
Dave Zirin is a contributor to The Nation and SLAM Magazine where he focuses on the intersection of politics and sport. He has published a variety of books that examine the effects of specific athletes and events in our sporting history, including John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Ethan Thomas, and others. His most recent book, Brazil’s Dance with the Devil, explores the effects of hosting the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics on the culture, politics, and economy of Brazil.
Zirin’s work focuses on the intersection of sport and politics, athlete’s roles in society, and how mega-events emphasize the extreme commodification of sport and exemplify neoliberalism in its purest form. Dave Zirin’s writing forces readers to reflect, ask questions, and change the way they think of sport. As an institution that is continuously aiming for the holistic development of students as socially and politically conscious individuals, everyone will benefit from a discussion with Dave Zirin, especially in light of the recent controversies surrounding the 2016 Olympics.
April 20, 2017
Criminalized and Commodified: New Racism and African Americans in Contemporary Sports; After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness
Dr. Leonard’s interest and expertise has the potential to reach a wide audience of students, faculty, and staff and the University of Connecticut. This is a school with highly successful intercollegiate athletic teams. Our Sport Management Department is focused on using sport as a platform for education and social justice. And there are several campus organizations which directly or indirectly discuss these issues. All these reasons make the University of Connecticut an ideal host for a conversation with David Leonard, athletics, and racial politics.
The Motivational Jumpstart radio interview
March 20, 2017
Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics or Rape; Frequent contributor to ESPN’s Outside the Lines, Freelance Journalist
Jessica Luther is a freelance writer and journalist who primarily focuses on sports violence off the field as well as college football and sexual assault. Jessica is also a member of the Texas Program in Sports and Media at the University of Texas and the Association for Women in Sports Media. She has recently published, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape. The book covers the vast number of sexual assault cases directly related to athletic departments on college campuses across the United States.
Luther’s continued work on and activism against sexualized violence is an important conversation that needs to be taking place here at the University of Connecticut. While Luther has primarily focused on sexualized violence within the athletic world, the knowledge she possesses regarding this subject matter allows her to delve into the intricacies of this complex issue that is prevalent throughout college campuses and our society.
November 4, 2016
Field of Schemes; How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit
Neil deMause is a regular contributor to Vice Sports, Extra!, the Village Voice, and City Limits, among other publications. He has appeared on television several times as well as testified before congress regarding the public funding of athletic arenas and sports venues. In, Field of Schemes; How the Great Stadium Swindle Turns Public Money into Private Profit, deMause discusses how wealthy owners, zealous politicians, and fearful fans manipulate and are duped into the financing of large, expensive stadiums and arenas.
DeMause’s expertise has been highlighted before Congress when testifying on the issue of public funding for stadiums and arenas. The knowledge deMause possesses on this issue and specifically the state of Connecticut’s own soiree with publicly funding several stadiums will be intriguing for all active and engaged citizens. The political arena is not immune to the athletic world and vice versa. It is important to understand the complex political posturing that takes place to complete these complex deals.
Motivational Jumpstart's radio interview
October 4, 2016
Game Faces: Sports Celebrity and the Laws of Reputation, and Female Gladiators: Gender, Law, and Contact Sport in America
Sarah Fields is an Associate Professor and Acting Associate Dean for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Colorado, Denver Campus. Sarah Fields’ work is primarily focused on the intersection of gender, race, sexuality and law as it pertains to athletes and sports personalities. She has recently published, Game Faces: Sports Celebrity and the Laws of Reputation, which examines how high profile athletes fought against, what they believed to be, violations of their privacy and image.
A unique examination of sports celebrity is a vitally important conversation as we continue to hurdle into technologies of the 21st century. Many of us, if not all, have a computer in our hands with capabilities of capturing and sharing our mundane to most intimate moments. It is important to be engaging in a conversation around what athletes and sport celebrities have done to ensure their privacy while providing a distinguished perspective on this issue.