Rick Eckstein is a nationally recognized expert on the commercialization of youth sports and the economics of higher education. His recently published book, How Intercollegiate Athletics are Hurting Girls' Sports: The Pay to Play Pipeline (Rowman and Littlefield), draws a causal connection between the corporatization of higher education and the rampant commercialization of youth sports. This relationship has detrimental impacts on college costs and the increasingly class-exclusive landscape of youth sports that systematically excludes poorer, darker, and non-suburban families. Families that can access the "pay to play youth sports to college pipeline" are regularly mislead about the chances of receiving athletic scholarships and admissions advantages. The American Library Association recommends this book for all readers, and the research has been regularly featured in the national media.
Lindback Award for Teaching Excellence; College of Arts and Sciences Award for Teaching Excellence; Honors Program Award for Student Mentoring; University Service Award; Association of Humanist Sociology Book Award