Dr. John Grady.

Dr. John Grady works very closely with his students, including them in his research work. The University of South Carolina honored him with the Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students Award after concluding research with students in Rio for the 2016 Olympics.

Dr. John Grady is currently in his 14th year at the University of South Carolina. He has been a part of numerous studies while holding the position of director of undergraduate studies and research there.

Out of his research some of the most recent research focused on understanding how Rule 40 impacted sponsorship of Olympic athletes in the context of ambush marketing. In the Olympics Rule 40 is a by-law in the Olympic charter stating that only approved sponsors may reference “Olympic-related terms.” It was introduced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to prevent ambush marketing by companies who are not official sponsors. Dr. Grady and his team analyzed how social media has changed the sponsorship landscape.

In 2016, he did research at the Rio Olympic Games, examining athlete sponsorship and ambush marketing with one of his former undergraduate student Anthony Carson. While in Rio the research team found that relaxing Rule 40 allowed the Olympics to be seen as a dynamic operation, responsive to the changing sponsorship needs of athletes as well as being attentive to the social media landscape that surrounded the Games.

“I try my best to not just be another faculty or staff member to students, but to be a mentor to them during their time here at USC, Grady said.”

Dr. Grady’s philosophy is proving successful. Not only has Grady helped students along their paths, but his interactions with them has driven him to achieve goals of his own. One of those was attending the 2016 Rio Olympics. He traveled there with a group of students including Anthony Carson, whom he met the first day Carson walked onto campus.

In a short and fairly simple conversation, Grady sparked an interest in Carson. Three years later, the two were researching and studying the shifts in the marketing landscape of Olympic sponsorships at the Rio games.

“Even though I don’t get the opportunity to teach any first-year students at USC it is important to build relationships with them when they first arrive, Grady said.”

Instead, he meets them through his roles as a faculty associate at Preston Residential College, as an adviser to the Sport and Entertainment Management living and learning community, and as faculty adviser for the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.

“Dr. Grady has always been a great mentor from the time I met him,” says senior supply chain management major and president of Lambda Chi Alpha Andrew Capriossi. “He has worked with my organization and has been there for us when we need a helping hand.”

Grady attended Penn State University for his undergraduate degree before going on the receive both his J.D. and Ph. D. from Florida State University. Grady’s research has been published in outlets including the Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport, Sports Marketing Quarterly, the Journal of Sports Management, and Sport Management Review.Also, he is president-elect of the Sport and Recreation Law Association.

“I take immense pride in being able to help students along their college journey,” says Grady. “Hopefully they learn as much from me, as I do from them.”