Jessica W Luther
Jessica Luther is a freelance journalist and writer who mainly covers sports and culture. She is also currently a fellow in the Center for Sports Communication & Media at the University of Texas, a member of the Association for Women in Sports Media, and a PhD candidate in the Physical Culture and Sports Studies program at the University of Texas.
She graduated from Florida State University in 2002 with a double major in Classical Civilizations and Greek/Latin. Luther immediately moved to Austin and began graduate school in the Classics department at the University of Texas. After earning her Masters in Latin Literature in 2004, she transferred into the history department at UT. Many years later and without a PhD in hand, she left graduate school to pursue writing full time.
Over the last few years, Luther has written extensively on the intersection of sports and violence off of the field, especially college football and sexual assault. Her first book is titled Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape (published by Akashic Books on September 6, 2016).
Her second book, which she is co-authoring with Kavitha Davidson, is under contract with University of Texas Press and is slated to come out in Spring 2020. It is titled How to Love Sports When They Dont Love You Back. It will be a guide for conflicted fans who want to keep watching the sports they love but who acknowledge the problems with the industry.
Luther's writing has appeared in ESPN Magazine, New York Times Magazine, the Texas Observer, Austin Woman, and Bitch Magazine. She's published pieces at Sports Illustrated, BuzzFeed, Texas Monthly, and Vice Sports, among others. She also has a biweekly column at the Huffington Post on sports and culture.
Luther's work gained national attention in August 2015 when writing for Texas Monthly, Dan Solomon and she broke open the story about a Baylor football player on trial for sexual assault, a case known by only a few in the community and not reported in the media for nearly two years. Sports Illustrateds Richard Deitsch gave them the Halberstam Award that year for for sticking it to power.
In February 2018, she co-authored a piece with Sports Illustrated Executive Editor Jon Wertheim about the toxic workplace culture on the business side of the Dallas Mavericks operation.
Luther also co-hosts the weekly independent feminist sports podcast Burn It All Down.
In 2016, espnW selected Luther as an IMPACT25 honoree alongside women such as Simone Biles, Brenda Tracy, Katie Ledecky, Ibtihaj Muhammad, and Hillary Clinton. She was the recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Media Award given annually by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault to individuals who work tirelessly behind the scenes in the fight to eliminate sexual violence in Texas. In 2017, her feature story for BuzzFeed titled Some Days The Bomb Goes Off: The Ballerina Who Accused Her Instructor Of Sexual Assault, took third place in the category of Feature Story at the inaugural RALLY awards, presented by Raliance and The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, which honor the highest level of journalistic achievement in coverage of sexual violence. In 2018, the Texas Freedom Network honored Luther with the Samantha Smoot Activist Award.