The college's annual Sportsmanship Day Symposium allows sociology students and other majors to discuss fair play and societal issues every spring.

“Now at a lot of elementary schools, kids will write essays and different things about sportsmanship, but why does it stop when they get to college?” said Tim Delaney, professor and chair of sociology.

“And so I started thinking, ‘we’ve got to do something about this to draw attention.’ And so I thought sociology being the discipline about human behavior and studying things about codes of ethics and violations of ethical behavior, sportsmanship is the natural connection,” Delaney said of launching the event in 2009.

“The title of my presentation is ‘Too Black to Play,’ and I’ll be focusing on African-American athletes who use their platform to protest social injustice … and looks at whether it’s sportsmanlike to protest or should they use other platforms to protest,” said Destiny Morrison, a senior sociology major who presented at the 2017 event on March 2.

Her presentation examined the protest of 1968 Olympics protest where Tommie Smith and John Carlos gave a Black Power salute on the medal podium, and the more recent choice of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand during the National Anthem to protest oppression of minorities.

“I’ve never really been an athletic person and I did sports here and there in a social aspect, so when I was offered the opportunity … I thought about how sportsmanship at summer camp was really important in just encouraging people to be positive on and off the field,” said Zachary Rombough, a senior sociology major who also presented at the 2017 symposium.

“I personally don’t play sports but I know that, in American society, sports is a big thing, so being a sociologist, it piqued my interest on how sports affect society,” Morrison added.

“I think for especially for the undergrads at Oswego, they have so many opportunities to bring out the research they’re required in their classes and to bring them out to public speaking,” said Evelyn Benavides, an assistant professor of sociology. “This is so important because so much of what they’re going to have to do, whatever they do, this idea of public speaking and presenting research I think helps them not only get into graduate school but puts them apart from other candidates for jobs.”

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