I'm a big enthusiast of the International Science and Engineering Fair, and not just because I was a finalist and then a judge. It's a chance to meet a collection of highly talented and highly self-motivated high school students presenting some fascinating projects in math, science, and engineering. To be sure, there are a fair amount of projects that seem to have come straight out of a research university lab because they did. But you'll also find students who have done incredibly interesting and original work and have learned a lot from the experience, and I enjoyed meeting and encouraging those kinds of students during my years as a science fair judge.
I was looking through the finalist directory for this year's just-concluded fair and noticed that there were a few projects on mathematics in sport, at least from looking at the titles in the Mathematical Sciences category. One of those projects won a Third Place award in its category ("Analysis of Single-Elimination Tournaments" by Chi-Hua Wang from Chinese Taipei). I would be very interested in reading the abstract for the project to learn what it was all about — does Society for Science (ex Science Service) still produce that abstract book of ISEF finalists?
My dream, if I get my Soccermetrics business up and running, is to sponsor a special award that would be offered to the ISEF project that best applies mathematics to a sport-related problem. The award wouldn't be much compared to the $50k and $75k awards that Google and Intel splash out to Grand Award winners, "only" a cash award in the neighborhood of $1000 and a nicely framed plaque. More than the financial aspects, I'd like the special award to be a recognition and an encouragement to a student that they do have promising talent for research in this field. I received a special award for my project at ISEF ($250 and a big framed certificate from the American Astronautical Society), and it was extremely encouraging to me. (And $250 was pretty good money for a 17-year-old in 1992!)
I'll send something to Society for Science and see if my idea is possible. If it is, I'll try to put some flesh (and money) to it over the summer.