Ethics and Its Impact in the Sports World Research Proposal

Pages: 15 (5409 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 21  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Ethics

¶ … Ethics on Sports

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly;

what is essentially invisible to the eye"

the Fox in the Little Prince

(Kreyche, 2007, ¶ 8).

In sports, "gray areas" regarding whether participating in a particular behavior is ethical or not ethical appear to be increasing. Diana E. Avans (2007), Vanguard University, asserts in the article, "Youth and ethical dilemmas in sport," that even though questions about the athlete's character have been addressed for centuries, the current noted increases in moral dilemmas in the sports' arenas do affect athletes today. Today, along with the reported increase in "gray areas" regarding ethics, professional and business organizations also complain that in society, the lack of honesty is rampant, and that almost daily, the media publishes news about a fresh scandal. During this study's literature review, the researcher explores a number of relevant, published sources to addresses a number of concerns relating to the impact of ethics on sports.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Research Proposal on Ethics and Its Impact in the Sports World Assignment

One current concern relating to the impact of ethics on sports includes the contention that college athletic departments reportedly often use slush funds to recruit prospective sports figures for their teams. Common practices, according to Gerald F. Kreyche (2007), American Thought Editor of USA Today and professor emeritus of philosophy at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, may include the hosting of wild parties for the potential recruits, "complete with alcohol, strippers, and, at times, even prostitutes" (Kreyche, ¶ 1). In the article, "Do ethics promise too much?" Kreyche notes that prior to discussing ethics, the question needs to be answered as to why it is important for one to "be good" or have ethics. "Ethics, itself," according to Kreyche, constitutes a "soft" discipline, that "seldom produces the kind of certitude that science offers. Antoine St. Exupery, author of the Little Prince, has his fox tell the Prince, "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." (Kreyche, 2007, ¶ 8). In the study, "Ethics audits and corporate governance: The case of public sector sports organizations," Michael John McNamee, Health Science, Swansea University, and Scott Fleming (2007), School of Sport, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, Wales, refer to ethics as a type of moral philosophy.


Carolyn Wiley, Ph.D. (1995), Associate Professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, defines ethics in "The ABC's of business ethics: Definitions, philosophies and implementation." In answer to the question: "What is ethics?," Wiley asserts: "Ethics is concerned with moral obligation, responsibility, and social justice. The word ethics comes from the Greek words "ethikos" and "ethos," meaning custom or usage. As employed by Aristotle, the term included the idea of character and disposition (, ¶ 1) Ethics, however, as the quote introducing this literature review, notes is "essentially invisible to the eye" (the Fox, cited in Kreyche, 2007, ¶ 8). Consequently, according to "The Fox" and Wiley, Ethics, an invisible entity, reflects the individual's character, as well as contemporarily perhaps, the business firm's character, as it consists of a collection of individuals (Wiley, 1995, ¶ 1). The individuals and/or firms, as noted in this literature review may be actively involved in sports.

Stan Lomax (2008), Lecturer in Management at the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. Lomax purports that ethics closely links to philosophy, the discipline related to the question of how one should live. This consideration, according to Lomax in the article, "Whatever happened to America's ethical values?" not only concerns sports, but "remains at the heart of present-day ethical thinking in the United States" (Sources of section, ¶ 1).

Americans are drowning in a turbulent ocean of cheating. Virtually every day the American public is battered by media revelations of misconduct by corporate executives, government officials, and athletes. Indeed, just a partial list of recent alleged indiscretions cuts across professions. We've learned about GE's Jack Welch, Apple's Steve Jobs, Citigroup's Sandy Weill, government's Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer, as well as Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Bill Belichick (the Patriots' coach of "Spygate" fame) from the world of sports, all allegedly involved in conduct that most Americans would deem "unethical." (Lomax, 2008, ¶ 1).

Lomax (2008) asserts that Socrates (470-399 B.C.) is generally credited with founding Western ethical thought. He believed that the ultimate object of human activity is happiness, and the necessary means to reach it, virtue. Patricia C. Kelley, Assistant Professor in the Business Administration Program at the University of Washington, Bothell and Pepe Lee Chang (2007) doctoral candidate in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Utah, assert in the article, "A typology of university ethical lapses: Types, levels of seriousness, and originating location," Scandals ranging from NCAA violations to falsified research results have fueled criticism of America's universities. Sports violations, research manipulation, gender discrimination, and other ethical lapses affect an entire institution as they have a spillover effect on its reputation (Cullen, Latessa, Byrne, & Holman, 1990; Gerdy, 2002). The results of these problems include declining credibility and deteriorating public trust in universities since such lapses are difficult to resolve (Kelley & Chang, 2007, ¶ 1).

Kelley and Chang (2007) suggest that some researchers believe that these ethical lapses spring from employees putting their own needs above honesty. Others question whether universities have clearly delineated parameters around expected behavior. In addition, the many and varied pressures affecting university employees may encourage ethical lapses. However, we do not know the full range of lapses that occur, the organizational areas from which they originate, nor their impact on stakeholders (Kelley & Chang, 2007, ¶ 3).

Kelley and Chang (2007) assert that sports programs, individuals, departments, and the organization perpetrate university ethical lapses. Some of these lapses appear to be a function of competitive market forces; that is, they are context related (Anderson et al. 1999; Fox & Braxton, 1999; Pfeffer & Salancik, 1978). For example, sports-related violations often sprang from the need to recruit and retain top athletes to enhance a university's prestige (Cullen et al. 2001; Gerdy, 2002). Winning football bowl games can increase alumni giving and result in higher student applications. As Pfeffer and Salancik (1978) note, in a resource-constrained organization, participants that provide resources to an organization can have power over it. Therefore, many sports programs operate with little organizational oversight as long as they produce winning teams, attract potential students, and generate alumni giving (Kelley & Chang, 2007, Classification bysection, ¶ 4).

Kelley and Chang (2007) further state that ethical decision-making in this context may be affected by factors similar to those that business ethics researchers have discovered affect managers of profit centers (Weaver, Trevino, & Cochran, 1999; Weber, 1995). Such groups must manage strong external pressures that can blind their members to the implications of their behavior as they seek to satisfy constituents' wants. This behavior may be especially prevalent at publicly funded schools that depend on winning sports teams for prestige, alumni donations, and student applications, and it may occur despite oversight provided by college sports regulatory bodies (Kelley & Chang, 2007, Classification bysection, ¶ 5).

Kelley and Chang (2007) conclude that researchers believe that improving ethical behavior in higher education is essential to the health of our university and community college system (Anderson & Davies, 2000; Lampe, 1997; Roworth, 2002). To achieve this goal, our organizations must understand what contributes to ethical lapses and take steps to eliminate them. We expect universities to train the next generation to become knowledgeable, principled, and responsible citizens (Alsop, 2004; Bok, 1988; Lampe, 1997). To accomplish this objective, our employees must understand and be able to interpret core ethical values. We must justify and explicate these values and enact them in our behavior. We must reward desirable behavior and reprimand and punish undesirable behavior. We must model the ethical behavior that we expect from students and other institutions. By doing so, we can respond to the pressing ethical problems of universities and live up to our responsibility, as Bok (1988) so aptly stated, to instill a sense of ethics in future generations and do the right thing (Kelley & Chang, 2007, Conclusion section, ¶ 1).

Performance Enhancing Drugs

In the study, "Prohibition of artificial hypoxic environments in sports: Health risks rather than ethics," Giuseppe Lippi and Gian Cesare, University of the Studies of Verona, Italy and Massimo Franchini (2007), Company Hospital worker of Verona, Italy, relate fact regarding blood doping, once known as "blood boosting" and hypoxia. Blood doping, which "consists of substances or techniques administered to improve the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood [constitutes] an emerging as a health problem worldwide" (Lippi, Guides & Franchini, ¶ 1). The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), along with the majority of sport federations and governments, includes this unethical practice in the list of prohibited practices.

Hypoxic training, also known as altitude training, constitutes another questionable contemporary practice in regard to ethics in sports. Hypoxic training relates to "exercising in, living in or otherwise breathing oxygen reduced air for the purpose of… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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