Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Breaking Ethics To Get The Edge

Kayla Welch

At a young age, many people dream of achieving certain goals. Children are always asked "What do you want to be when you grow up?" and it seems they always set high goals for themselves aspiring to be astronauts, firefighters, pro athletes or even the next President of the United States. But what if you achieved your goal? How far would you go to reach it? How far would you push the envelope on what you can and cannot do? In today's society and culture, college athletes are on the way to achieving their life-long dreams of being a professional but seem to cross the boundaries to get the edge in a dishonest way.

College athletes have had an on-going battle with the NCAA rules and guidelines in which athletes are accepting bribes and money from certain agents. Agents offer such benefits in hopes of having the athlete sign with their specific team and school. However, accepting bribes and money is against NCAA rules.

"NCAA rules forbid an athlete from accepting expenses or gifts of any kind from an agent or anyone else who wishes to provide services to the student-athlete. Such payment is not allowed because it would be compensation based upon athletic skill and preferential benefit not available to the general student population." Quote provided by LSUsports.net

These NCAA rules even expand and can apply to the family and friends of the student athlete. There have been many allegations and examples of athletes around the United States that have broken these rules and have had to accept the consequences. Such athletes included USC's Reggie Bush, Mississippi State's Cam Newton and Ohio State's Terrelle Pryor. 

Photo provided by Eleven Warriors

So what happens when these rules and guidelines are broken? Typically the student athlete will be suspended for a certain number of games. However, people are starting to believe that there should be much harsher punishment. If student athletes actually risked their dream of becoming a professional athlete and that was put on the line, rather than a suspension for a few games, it might prevent the problems of accepting bribes and money. Thus, going back to the basics -- causing competition between academics and talent, rather than which agent and school -- will offer the most money to the student. 

So now my question is this, what would you do if you had your life-long dream in the palm of your hand and were offered bribes such as gifts or money? Would you go against ethical codes, take the money and run, or would you stick to your moral and ethical values, ignore the money, and choose the school based on academics?

When offered a large sum of money you might ignore the codes and the rules, thinking, "Who would ever find out? And even if they do, I will only get suspended for a few games." But one should start thinking about the harsher punishment listed above. Your dream would be ripped away from you, all for immediate gratification, and, personally, I think it is great that people are considering a much harsher form of punishment and consequence. Work hard for your dreams and to achieve your goals, but always remember the five steps in ethical decision making.

  • Conflicts of interest, credibility challenges, potential harm, breaking public trust
  • Legal, political, social, economic, competitive
  • Who is directly affected, a lot of indirect consequences, not just people; don't forget yourself and your organization, use codes as a guide to your responsibilities to stakeholders, if any
  • May be a mix from various codes, fend off pressures, prioritize stakeholders, sort through competing ethical questions
  • May be more than one right answer, process is as important as the decision; if it's controversial - be transparent

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