Vanderbilt Sports & Society Initiative

The Vanderbilt Sports and Society Initiative, established in January 2018 by the late Vanderbilt Athletic Director David Williams, elevates awareness and understanding of the ways in which sports and society impact one another across a variety of disciplines. The world of sports provides a unique vantage point from which to examine vital social issues related to race, gender, sexuality, religion, commerce, politics, and more. Hosted within the Vanderbilt Athletic Department, the Sports & Society Initiative seeks to break down walls between the athletic department, the broader campus, and the Nashville community while also providing a platform for scholars around the world to share their work. 

The Sports & Society Initiative is housed within the Vanderbilt Athletic Department and managed by Special Projects Coordinator Andrew Maraniss.


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Access the latest “On The Ball” Episodes by clicking below:


Episode #4: Kent Washington

In the fourth episode of “On the Ball,” Kent Washington joined us to discuss his unique experience as the first American to play professional basketball behind the Iron Curtain. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Washington played pro ball in Poland, learning the language, feeling as though he had “become Polish,” and enduring the days of Martial Law during the Solidarity protests and social revolution.



Episode #4

Episode #3: Tyler Kepner

In this third episode of “On The Ball,” Tyler Kepner of the New York Times joined us to talk about the social significance of the World Series and his favorite anecdotes from his new book, “The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series.” The Vanderbilt alum also talks about his earliest baseball memories and his days as a kid sports writer, and shows off his ability to name the starting pitchers in every World Series game since 1979.

Episode #3

Episode #2: Greg Bishop

In this second episode of “On The Ball,” Greg Bishop of Sports Illustrated joined On The Ball to share his thoughts on the death of his friend and colleague Grant Wahl, and to tell us about his own experiences covering the World Cup in Qatar.

Episode #2

Episode #1: Sally Jenkins and David Maraniss

In the first edition of “On the Ball,” Vanderbilt Sports & Society’s new video interview series, Sally Jenkins and David Maraniss of the Washington Post discuss their feature on Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that inspired a national debate.

Episode #1


Andrew Maraniss, Special Projects Coordinator, Vanderbilt Athletics

Vanderbilt Sports & Society Initiative

2601 Jess Neely Drive

Nashville, TN 37212