Saturday, February 15, 2014

NCAA: Recruitment Scandals(2011-Present)

NCAA logo
Many scandals are related to big time companies and largely invested in businesses that create various amounts of products. With these cases the companies and businesses are within the sports communities and the products coming out of them are the players. Specifically the basketball and football business-like industries in the NCAA have become immensely scandalous and issues have been raised primarily within the recruiting process for these athletic programs. Programs from Miami University, Auburn University, and Maryland University have all been investigated along with many other programs with their recruiting processes. These future players have received benefits such as amounts of clothing, money, or have had items paid for them in order to sway them to come to the school, perform well, or stay eligible academically. The process is extremely corrupt and goes against many business ethics philosophies "And when it happens over and over and over, it becomes accepted — and expected — culture."(Hayes). This culture has been evaluated many times and continues to be a problem within the NCAA.

Following the economic theory of individualism where the formula stands as, "Individualism = Egoism(Selfishness) + Rights-Based Constraints"(Salazar). This theory resides from people who believe the purpose of a business is to be prosperous. "The only goal of business is to profit, so the only obligation that the business person has is to maximize profit for the owner or the stockholders."(Salazar). In these cases the owners would be the coaches and athletic directors, with the stakeholders being the alumni along with the fans. These types of recruiting deals have been made to benefit the schools athletic profit. With Miami University the case is noticeably an example of individualism, with bribery to players and unethical opportunities for money gain the Miami football team cherished. Given by booster Nevin Shapiro, players received crazy gifts that were extremely unethical for any such booster. "Shapiro told the website that he spent "millions" on Miami players, ranging from sex parties on his yacht to expensive jewelry to an abortion for a woman impregnated by a Hurricane player."(Moore). These gifts were given to players that had eventually won the national championship of those seasons. With Shapiro's actions and the coaches disregarding these actions seeing how it made the program successful and the recruits interested, this makes the business a perfect example of individualism. The greatest thing to do for these players is to not bribe them, but provide for them support on and off the field. Instead of raining on them with riches and a lavish style of living in order to play at the school, show them that the university is a well-rounded school. Have a normal recruiting process instead of one that is illegal.

Auburn University football game

Regarding happiness and its value is where Utilitarianism creeps in the business door. Defined as the maximizing of happiness and the reduction of all complications. Utilitarianism can be applied to the aspects of college recruiting because the coaches are placing lots of efforts into their program and into this illegal bargaining to obtain the best players to in return win championships. These efforts have been draining money from sponsors, booster clubs, and go onto scholarships. The owners do whatever it takes to make the company happy and to have full beneficial balance. Another example of this is Cam Newton and his recruiting process into attending Auburn University. "Cam Newton's father shopped him to the highest bidder"(Hayes) this shows how as a high performance individual can be so desirable to a program. The deal for Newton ultimately led to that team performing at an extremely high level and "The worst thing — the absolute worst thing — that could have happened at Auburn was winning the 2010 national championship. All that did was reinforce the corrupt culture."(Hayes). The deal turned out to be great for everyone including teams that were not part of the deal, because it contributed to the culture. Even though this contributed to the overall happiness of the program and strength of the under-the-table culture, the unethical truth still relies on the fact that what was done was wrong and illegal.

Created by the ideas of Immanuel Kant and based of four basic principles Kantianism is a significant business ethics theory. Principles being "Act rationally – don’t act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt from rules. Allow and help people to make rational decisions Respect people, their autonomy, and individual needs and differences. Be motivated by Good Will, seeking to do what is right because it is right."(Salazar). through these principles came three formulas, the most prominent being the formula of humanity, which states "Act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of another, always at the same time as an end and never simply as a means"(Salazar). Using these ideas to apply to the recruiting process and money deals for future players the application of them was disregarded. Coaches acted out of line and character as a professional coach. These actions were dishonest to the NCAA rules and unethical in the business portion of treatment of players. To be consistent and ethical is to attract a student athlete, not with shoes and parties, but with academics and to embody the ideas of Kantianism when recruiting players for one's program. Treatment needs to be consistent and done based on the overall wellness of each individual in the process.

Virtue Theory
Mark Richt, University of Miami football coach
The virtue theory being one of the most recent business theories to break into effect. Based off of four main virtues of business, "Courage, Honesty, Temperance/Self Control, Justice/Fairness"(Salazar). The college professional coaches and to put an emphasis onto professional did not act professional in their actions in these cases. Stakeholders, like Shapiro lost their self control and honesty when they bribed individuals. People who have benefited from these back door deals and shady meetings that people turn their heads to have made this industry a corrupt one. The only way to revise these mistakes is to start following these virtues and start to recruit players based off of integrity and honesty.Using legal methods of recruitment permitted by the NCAA is the honest and courageous way to see athletes for their true athletic value.


Hayes, Matt. "Auburn Football Scandal: Winning Reinforces College Football's Culture of Corruption." Sporting News. N.p., Apr.-May 2013. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.

Moore, Terence. "The Epidemic of College Football Scandals." CNN. Cable News Network, 19 Aug. 2011. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

Salazar, Heather. Business Ethics Lectures. WNEU. Spring 2014.

1 comment:

  1. James, I really like the way you looked at the situation as a whole. I like they way you identified the stakeholders and how the coaches and staff are like the business owners; it made the whole concept easier to understand and relate to. I agree with the points you have made. Because of bribery such as this, valuable players get to the NFL level and expect huge amounts of money more than respect for their talent. To be honest, I always knew that there was some bribery done in recruiting, but I never knew the extent and your post helped me do so. The only thing I think you may be able to improve on is your clarity of whether or not the situation/ actions are considered ethical, or what an individual would think, through the lense of each ethical theory.Other than that, great post!