Thomas Oates

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Thomas Oates
Associate Professor
728 JB/W331 AJB
Office Hours:
Spring 2021: Tuesdays 10:30 am-12 pm & Wednesdays 10-11 am or by appt via Zoom
PhD 2004, University of Iowa

What is Thomas’ story? 

Thomas’s primarily interest lies in sports coverage within magazines, newspapers, websites, video games, and videos.

During his childhood, Thomas would sometimes spend summer at work with his father, who was also an academic. To pass time, he would spend time leafing through bound copies of old Sports Illustrated magazines. He found himself fascinated in the kinds of stories that were told about great athlete and memorable games. Additionally, he found that there were innumerable ways to tell these stories, yet most conformed to similar patterns.

This is what motivates his research today as a UI assistant professor with a joint appointment in American Studies, where he primarily teachers the Sport Studies major and graduate track, along with Journalism and Mass Communication. He in continually interested in exploring how sport media make their subject meaningful and compelling in a changing cultural world.


  • JMC:1200  Media History and Culture
  • JMC:3181  The Business of Sport Communication
  • JMC:3185  Topics in Mass Communication, New Media and the Future of Sport
  • JMC:3300  Foundations of the First Amendment


  • Thomas P. Oates* and Zack Furness (eds.), The NFL: Critical and Cultural Approaches (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014).
  • Thomas P. Oates* and Robert Alan Brookey (eds.), Playing to Win: Sports and Video Games, edited collection under contract with Indiana University Press (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2014).
  • Thomas Patrick Oates, “Failure is Not an Option: Race and Resistance in Personal History Documentaries.” Journal of Sport History, 41(2) (Summer 2014): 215-223.
  • Thomas P. Oates*** and Travis Vogan, “The Sporting Paratext, Reception, and the Male Domain in CBS’s ‘One Shining Moment,’” Communication and Sport, 2(4) (Winter 2014): 328-344.
  • Thomas P. Oates, “Representing the Audience: The Gendered Politics of Sport Media,” Feminist Media Studies, 12(4) (Winter 2012): 603-607.
  • Thomas Patrick Oates, “New Media and the Repackaging of NFL Fandom,” Sociology of Sport Journal, 26(1) (March 2009): 31-49.
  • Thomas P. Oates* and John Pauly, “Sports Journalism as Moral and Ethical Discourse,” Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 22(4) (December 2007): 332-347.
  • Thomas P. Oates, “The Erotic Gaze in the NFL Draft,” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 4(1) (January 2007): 74-90.
  • Thomas Oates* and Judy Polumbaum, “Agile Big Man: The Flexible Marketing of Yao Ming,” Pacific Affairs, 77(2), (Summer 2004): 187-210.
  • Thomas P. Oates* and Meenakshi Gigi Durham, “The Mismeasure of Masculinity: The Male Body, “Race” and Power in the NFL Draft,” Patterns of Prejudice 38(3), (August 2004): 301-320.
  • Thomas P. Oates, “Madden Men: Masculinity and Marketing of a Video Game Franchise,” in R. Brookey and T. Oates (Eds.) Playing to Win: Sport and Video Games, Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press, 2014.
  • Thomas P. Oates*** and Robert Brookey, “Playing to Win: An Introduction,” in R. Brookey and T. Oates (Eds.) Playing to Win: Sport and Video Games, Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press, 2014.
  • Thomas P. Oates*** and Zack Furness, “The Political Football: Culture, Critique, and the NFL,” in Z. Furness and T. Oates (Eds.) The NFL: Critical and Cultural Approaches Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2014, pp. 1-10.
  • Thomas Patrick Oates, “Constructing Replay, Consuming Bodies: Sport Media and Neoliberal Citizenship,” in Brummett, B. and A. Ishak (Eds.), Sports and Identity: New Agendas in Communication, Routledge Press, 2013, pp. 148-163.
  • Jennifer K. Wood and Thomas P. Oates***, “Brand Ex: The Unhappy Marriage of University Branding and Higher Education,” in Gilbertson, T. and G. Gilberson (Eds.), Knowledge Economy Academic and the Commodification Higher Education, Hampton Press, pp. 193-203. 



  • 2013  New Agendas in Communication, Sport and Identity (all-expenses travel grant). Awarded by the University of Texas at Austin.
  • 2009  Sociology of Sport Journal Outstanding Article. Awarded by the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport.
  • 2007  Excellence in Teaching. Awarded by Penn State University, New Kensington.
  • 2006  Symposium Fellowship, Whalen Symposium on Media Ethics. Awarded by the University of St. Thomas.