Sports Comm Students Win First Place in National Competition

Third top finish for Marist teams in six years

POUGHKEEPSIE (May 11, 2016) – A team of four Marist College sports communication students placed first in this year's undergraduate case study competition held last month at the University of South Carolina's College Sports Research Institute (CSRI) in Columbia as part of the institute's annual academic conference on intercollegiate athletics. Marist has placed in the top two at this event for the past six years, including winning three times. This victory over undergraduate teams from across the country marks the first win for Marist since 2014.

Marist's team included sophomores Kristin Dolan and Kelly Nash, junior Olivia Jaquith, and senior Lisa Ventimiglia. Dolan and Nash are both sports communication majors, while Nash and Ventimiglia are minoring in sports communication. Sports Comm competition

This year’s case study asked students to evaluate the concept of paying college athletes by examining the current legal, procedural, and ethical issues around this idea. Through extensive research, students had to create a feasible plan for compensation, ensuring the plan was fiscally solvent, considered the current legal rulings, and was Title IX compliant.

Dolan was pleased with her team’s performance under pressure. "We worked really hard as a team," she said. "We wanted to continue the success Marist has had in the past at the conference, and I’m really excited we did."

For the competition, teams had to successfully complete two parts of the case study project. First, they wrote and submitted, in advance, a written case study. Second, students gave a 10-minute presentation on their solution to a panel of faculty judges. This presentation was followed by questions. Teams were scored on their performance in all aspects.

Marist College Center for Sports Communication Director Dr. Keith Strudler, who served as faculty advisor for the team, was impressed with how well the team addressed a very difficult case. "These four students took very complex issue and created a strong, logical solution that was supported by research and data," Strudler said. "Where many people might create unrealistic answers, they found a nuanced answer to a multi-faceted question."

On the final day of the conference, the Marist team presented their winning case presentation at a session open to all conference attendees.

For more information about CSRI's case study competition, go to For more information about the Marist College Center for Sports Communication, visit