SSI hosted second meet-and-greet of sports-focused faculty, staff

September 25, 2023

SSI hosted second meet-and-greet of sports-focused faculty, staff

SSI Breakfast at faculty club

By Lauryn Luderman

Every year, SSI looks for ways to improve its research and expand its reach across Ohio State and beyond.

With staff and faculty from many universities across Ohio, Monday’s meet-and-greet breakfast at the Ohio State Faculty Club was the first step of the 2023-24 school year in expanding SSI.

Nicole Kraft, SSI’s director, said the purpose of coming together was to find out what the initiative can do to better help and further research of the attendees and anyone interested.

“We really need to know your thoughts on what we’re doing, how you would best like our help [and] ideas you have that you haven’t been able to get to fruition that maybe we can help you do,” Kraft said.

Kraft was joined by assistant director Ryan Ruddy, research director Chris Knoester, administrator and event planner Mira Marshall and one of SSI’s founders, Lucia Dunn.

Along with those in the ‘working group’ of SSI, various affiliates, members of the advisory board and other faculty and staff were in attendance, all whose expertise and research lie along the line of sports. For instance, Otterbein’s Kristy McCray who made the trek from Otterbein University for the second year in a row.

“I, at a small school, teach a lot of things,” McCray said. “My research area and focus is in sexual violence prevention, specifically in college sport.”

Others included Leann Lower-Hoppe in Ohio State’s sport management, Ohio Northern’s Russ Crawford who was recently active in researching women playing football and Bruce Wimbish who has spent 20 years in the management of sports, most notably the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The group in attendance’s focus spread wide across areas of sport and society.

In hopes of accumulating greater interest and participation in his efforts, Ruddy introduced the events and guest speakers he has planned for the year.

“Taking this role as the assistant director, that’s my goal, is to expand this research stuff for undergraduate students, specifically,” Ruddy said.

The first event, organized by Ruddy, will take place Oct. 5 at 4:30 p.m. in 014 University Hall. It will feature West Virginia professor Brad Humphreys and is called “The Economics of Sports Gambling.”

Ruddy has a list of other events, including one on how to get involved in research and the Data Analytics Conference in April.

Knoester followed with SSI’s vision moving forward.

“Come together and really encourage each other to continue being productive in terms of our research endeavors,” Knoester said. “We also want to be more visible and influential in terms of how we go about doing things.”

He said the goal is to have research go outside the realm of academic journals and be published online and in newspapers. Knoester said he wants to push forward the tougher topics like gender, sexual violence and economics.

Following the introductions and hopeful speeches, the attendees had their chance to discuss expectations from SSI and the kinds of research they are invested in currently.

Monday’s purpose was to encourage new research partnership with SSI and those involved were willing and excited to deepen their work in conjunction with the initiative.