Research Papers Competition Rules

Competition Format

The competition consists of the following phases:

  1. Abstract Phase

Authors submit abstracts. Based on the judged merits of their abstract submissions, a select group of authors will be invited to submit full manuscripts.

  1. Full Manuscript Phase

Invited authors submit full manuscripts. Referees will evaluate every manuscript, and authors of the best submissions will be invited to give a presentation on their findings at the conference. The referees will also select a separate set of authors who will be invited to present their work during a poster session.

  1. Conference Phase I

      a. Presentations

Invited authors will present their findings during the first day of the conference. Based on the quality of the presentation and manuscript, one paper per sports track (see tracks below) will be selected to advance to the finals, with a potential wild card spot for the next best paper.

      b. Poster Competition

All posters selected for the conference will be entered into a competition for Best Poster, determined by a combination of a fan and judges vote during the weekend of the conference.

Note: this competition is independent of the presentation finals, and none of the posters will advance to the presentation finals.

  1. Conference Phase II – Finals

Finalists will present again during day two of the conference in front of a panel of industry experts.

Timeline (all times Eastern Time)

9/20 11:59 p.m. EST

Abstract submission due


Full paper requests submitted

12/13 11:59 p.m. EST

Full paper submissions due (if selected)


Finalists and posters announced


Submission of poster (if selected)


Submission of presentation (if selected)


Conference presentations (if selected)

Sports Tracks

Based on abstract content, all submissions will be entered into one of the following Sports Tracks:

  1. Basketball – All submissions related to the sport of basketball
  2. Baseball – All submissions related to the sport of baseball
  3. Other Sports – All submissions related to the playing of a sport that is not basketball or baseball.
  4. Business of Sports – All submissions related to the business of owning, managing, or marketing a sport, or to new technology or ideas which could change the face of the sport.

Additionally, there will be a fifth track that all submissions can jointly qualify for:

  1. Open Source – All submissions that include code and data will be

considered in this category.

Abstract Guidelines

Abstract submissions should be submitted online, and must use the following guidelines:

  • Abstracts must contain fewer than 500 words, including title and body.
  • Abstracts may include up to two tables or figures combined (e.g.  1 figure and 1 table, or 2 tables).
  • Each abstract should contain the following sections:
    • Introduction – What question is this research trying to answer? Why is it an important question for the industry?
    • Methods – Description of relevant statistical methods used, including data sources or data collection procedures
    • Results – Description of actual (not promised) results along with relevant statistics
    • Conclusion – The overall takeaway from the study, including how the results will impact the sports industry

Evaluation of Submissions

The conference seeks submissions that report research pertaining to the use of analytics in the sports industry. We are open to contributions ranging from evaluating players and game strategies, to examining the success factors for sports business. In the abstract and full paper submission process, research will be evaluated on, but not necessarily limited to, the following criteria:

  • Novelty of research – Does the research provide interesting insight into new models or challenge existing beliefs?
  • Academic rigor / validity of model – Are the methodologies of the model and results fundamentally sound and appropriate?
  • Reproducibility – Can the model and results be replicated independently?
  • Application – What are the applications or potential applications of the insights from the research?

In evaluating presentation finalists at the 2021 SSAC, the above factors will be supplemented by the following criteria, as judged by a panel of academics

and industry executives from team management and sports business operations:

  • Interest / impact – Is there significant interest in the proposed question in the field of study or the community at large? What are the benefits or impact of the model or application?

The Research Papers team will review all abstracts. The Review Committee will evaluate all manuscript submissions. The Review Committee consists of the Research Papers team, as well as academic professors and experts from top universities in fields including statistics, information sciences, and economics. The industry panel that makes the final winner selection will decide on the basis of the paper and the presentation at the 2021 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. In these final evaluations, more weight will be given to the final presentation, specifically the highlighted application and impact of the research.

Conflict of Interest Policy

Our objective is to ensure an unbiased evaluation of submissions throughout the process. We are aware that members of the evaluation committee may have had relationships with authors who have submitted papers. When possible, potential conflicts of interest are avoided by minimizing the review of research by the following:

  • Authors who have collaborated with the reviewer on previous submissions
  • Current or former students who worked with the reviewer
  • Colleagues from the same organization
  • Any other previous relationships with the author that may prevent an unbiased evaluation of the paper

All potential conflicts of interest will be managed as best as possible while still maintaining the quality of the review process. Final reviews will occur without knowledge of the names of the authors.

Rights and Permissions

All authors retain ownership rights to the research and the right to publish the research after the conference. Upon submission, authors grant access to 42 Analytics to make their research available for public viewing online and in print, for conference use for the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Authors are responsible for obtaining permission from third parties to reprint copyrighted information such as data, tables, or figures that may be protected by copyright.