Sports, Society, and Technology Program

The Sports, Society, and Technology Program

The interdisciplinary focus of the Sports, Society, and Technology (SST) program brings together sports studies, science and technology, and urban studies, incorporating faculty from across campus, in areas ranging from architecture, public policy, and applied physiology to economics, history, and sociology.

Georgia Tech, the School of History and Sociology, and the Ivan Allen Georgia Tech have recently launched a new program in Sports, Society, and Technology (SST). This initiative helps faculty and students to study sport in the contexts of historical and contemporary culture. Interdisciplinary studies and innovative teaching in SST will help students become leaders in the sport and health industries, higher education, and in our local and global communities. The program also houses the Sports, Society, and Technology Research Center.   

Declare the SST Minor

SST Course Offerings

Summer 2020 SST Courses

  • INTA 3242/8803, Soccer & Global Politics, (Long Summer), Professor Kirk Bowman
  • HTS 3089, Science, Technology & Sport, (Early Short Summer), Professor Sarah Barnes 

Fall 2020 SST Courses

  • HTS 2015: History of Sports in America, TTH 2:00-3:15 pm, Professor Johnny Smith
  • HTS 3073: Sociology of Sport, TTH 9:30-10:45 am, Professor Mary McDonald
  • HTS 3075: Foundations of Sport Studies, TTH 3:30-4:45 pm, Professor Sarah Barnes
  • BIOS 2500: Introduction to Sport Science, TTH 12:30 - 1:45 pm, Professor Millard-Stafford
  • MSE 3300:  Materials Science & Engineering of Sports, MWF 12:30-1:20 pm, Professor Jud Ready

Also former Georgia Tech Athletic Director and SST supporter, Dr. Homer C. Rice will be teaching HTS 3818 Fitness Leadership this fall on Wednesdays from 5:00-7:45 pm


SST in the News

Dr. Johnny Smith Co-Authors War Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great War

Cover of War Fever

Dr. Johnny Smith, the J.C. “Bud” Shaw Professor of Sports History, and Dr. Randy Roberts (Purdue University) recently published War Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great War. This book is an interwoven tale of three lives— Babe Ruth, Boston Symphony Orchestra Conductor Karl Much, and an Army officer named Charles Whittlesey—set against the backdrop of World War I, rising anti-German xenophobia, and the flu pandemic in the fall of 1918.

Read an excerpt of War Fever

Listen to Dr. Smith discuss how baseball, Babe Ruth, and the 1918 Influenza Pandemic can provide perspective on current issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic on ESPN’s The Sporting Life


Upcoming Event: The Gender Pay Gap in Sports: Myths and Misperceptions 


DR. Berri will visit campus on February 17, 2020

Dr. David Berri

Professor of Economics, Southern Utah University

When: Monday, February 17 at 4 p.m. 

Where: Student Success Center Clary Theater

The gender-wage gap persistently seen in study after study is especially pronounced in professional sports. For example, an average NBA player is paid $7.6 million while the maximum salary in the WNBA is less than $120,000. A similar story is told in professional soccer. The simple explanation for these differences is league revenues. But the story is not quite that simple. In this talk we will look at not only why the salaries for men are so much higher in absolute terms, but also why men tend to be paid a greater share of league revenues (as in basketball) and more for each game played (as in soccer). Our story will not only touch on the economics of gender and sports today, but also on the history of women in sports. 

This event is free and open to the public and sponsored by the Sports, Society, and Technology Program. For more information contact: Dr. Mary McDonald, Homer C. Rice Chair in Sports and Society:


Professor Mary G. McDonald Honored as a 2019 Faces of Inclusive Excellence Recipient 

Dr. Mary G. McDonald, the Homer C. Rice Chair of Sports and Society, was recently honored as a recipient of the 2019 Faces of Inclusive Excellence at Georgia Tech's 11th Annual Diversity Symposium. This award was given in further recognition of the service excellence award she recently received from the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.  

Read more about the 2019 Faces of Inclusive Excellence. 


Television and WNBA Analyst Amy Audibert Visits HTS 3075 Foundations of Sport Studies 

On Thursday, September 12th, Television and WNBA Analyst Amy Audibert visited the HST 3075 Foundations of Sport Studies class to share her experience and expertise related to the sport media and working in the sport industry. Audibert just completed her first season as television analyst for the WNBA's Atlanta Dream. Prior to that, Audibert played basketball at the University of Miami and served as an analyst for the University of Buffalo's men's and women's basketball teams for five seasons.

Amy Audibert visits HST 3075 Foundations of Sport Studies
Amy Audibert, center, visited with HST 3075 Foundations of Sport Studies in September


Professor Johnny Smith Wins "Best Article of 2018" from the Journal of Sport History 

The Journal of Sport History recognized Professor Johnny Smith's publication "'The Magnitude of Me': Reggie Jackson, Baseball, and the Seventies," as its Best Article of 2018 at the organization's annual meeting over the Memorial Day weekend.


Professor Johnny Smith awarded the Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award 

Professor Johnny Smith recently won a teaching award
Dr. Johnny Smith 

Professor Johnny Smith, the J.C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology and Assistant Professor of History recently won the Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award. Learn more about this award and Professor Smith's teaching philosophy in the classroom.

Past SST Events

Documentary film screening and panel on Black in Blue   

UK football player Greg Page

On Wednesday, January 23, the SST program hosted a documentary film screening and panel discussion. 

Fifty years ago, every athlete in sport at every school in the Southeastern Conference was white. That changed when then Assistant Kentucky Coach Homer Rice recruited Greg Page, who became the first African American ever signed to play football in the SEC. While Page died tragically in a football-related accident in the fall of 1967, Nate Northington trotted onto the field as a University of Kentucky varsity football player against Ole Miss. Since that time, tens of thousands of African Americans have followed Greg, Nate, and teammates Houston Hogg, and Wilbur Hackett, dramatically improving athletic competition....and life in the American South. This is the story told in a new film directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner and produced by former Kentucky quarterback Paul Karem. Watch&is-processed=1" allow="fullscreen" allowfullscreen> the Black in Blue trailer.

A panel followed the screening and featured: 

  • Paul Wagner, the filmmaker
  • Paul Karem, former University of Kentucky quarterback
  • Mel Page, brother of Greg Page, the first African-American signed to play football at Kentucky and in the SEC
  • Homer C. Rice, former Georgia Tech Athletic Director and form Kentucky Assistant Football Coach


"A Conversation with Wyomia Tyus"

Wtomia Tyus, back-to-back Olympic gold medalist

On September 16th, the SST program hosted a "Conversation with Wyomia Tyus" in front of a packed audience at Georgia Tech. Dr. Damion Thomas, a curator for the Smithsonian's National Museum on African American History and Culture, interviewed Ms.Tyus about her experiences of growing up in the Jim Crow South, her extraordinary athletic achievements, and her understandings of the continuing struggles for racial and gender justice in sport and society. Introductions and opening remarks were kindly provided by Bill Curry (former Georgia Tech Football Coach), Dr. Mary McDonald (Professor, Homer C. Rice Chair in Sports and Society, School of History and Sociology, Georgia Tech), and Dr. Jacqueline Jones Royster (Dean, Ivan Allen School of Liberal Arts, Georgia Tech). Watch a "Conversation with Wyomia Tyus"

Tyus on podium

Critically Examining Sports' "Concussion Crises"


On March 9th, the Georgia Institute of Technology's Sports, Society, and Technology program sponsored an interdisciplinary workshop featuring scholars from across North America whose research critically examines the various intersections of sports and traumatic brain injuries. The presentations interrogated sports' "concussion crises" by drawing on socio-cultural perspectives and situating traumatic brain injuries in their broader social, political, and scientific contexts.

A summary of the Concussion Crises Workshop was featured on the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts Website.

For the workshop program, abstracts, and presenter bios, visit the Concussion Crises Workshop website.

Sports and the Black Freedom Struggle: The Legacy of 1968


On February 20th, Historians Johnny Smith (School of History and Sociology, Georgia Institute of Technology) and Ashley Brown (Department of History, University of Wisconsin, Madison) were part of a fascinating panel discussion about sports and the black freedom struggle. Moderated by Dr. Mary McDonald, the conversation offered opportunities to reflect upon the legacies of Black sporting activism including that of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ famous Black power salute during the playing of the national anthem at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico. This panel and the lively Q&A that followed shed light upon the diverse strategies utilized within the Civil Rights movement, but also provided an historical context to better understand U. S. Black athlete activism in the contemporary moment.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice Screening and Panel

''The Sports, Society, and Technology (SST) Program hosted a screening of Olympic Pride, American Prejudice and a post-film panel on October 2, 2017 in the Student Center Theater on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Co-sponsors of the event included the Ivan Allen College (IAC) of Liberal Arts, the School of History and Sociology (HSOC), and the Black Feminist Think Tank.

Olympic Pride, American Prejudice explores the experiences of 18 African American Olympians who defied Jim Crow and Adolf Hitler to win hearts and medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. The documentary is the creation of Atlanta filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper—who also spoke on the post-film panel—and narrated and executive produced by Blair Underwood. John Dewberry, former Georgia Tech quarterback (1983-1985) who currently heads Dewberry Capital, is a patron of the documentary. He introduced Olympic Pride, American Prejudice to an appreciative standing room only audience of Georgia Tech students and Atlanta community members. Also attending the screening were several honored guests and Atlanta-based members of the production staff. These included: Michael A. Draper (Executive Producer); John and Jaime Dewberry (Patrons of Olympic Pride); Lacy Barnes (Line Producer); Cheryl Rogers (Composer) whose son Charlie Rogers is a Georgia Tech student; Tandi Reddick (Associate Producer). IAC Dean Jackie Royster and HSOC Chair Eric Schatzberg also attended the screening, as did Homer and Karen Rice. Homer Rice is a former athletic director (1980-1997) at Georgia Tech, a SST supporter, and IAC Dean’s Appreciation Award Recipient in 2016.

Filmmaker Deborah Riley Draper was joined on the post-film panel by Georgia Tech Professors Johnny Smith, the Julius C. "Bud" Shaw Professor of Sports, Society, and Technology (HSOC) and Greg Zinman (School of Literature, Media and Communication). Professor Mary McDonald, the Homer C. Rice Chair of Sports and Society, moderated the panel. More information is available about the Olympic Pride, American Pejudice Screening and Panel.


Photo Credits: L. Barnes (2017)

SST Quick Links

Blurb / Gallery Set