Controversy:The NCAA is a multi-billion dollar governing organization that oversees over 1,100 different colleges and universities, as well as over half a million athletes across North America. Their main core values include amateurism, education, and fairness / sportsmanship. During the week of February 23rd, the FBI came out with their results on a long investigation on some of college basketball’s top programs and how they managed to land some of these top recruits. Schools such as the University of Arizona, University of Washington, North Carolina State University, University of Kentucky, amongst many others are under fire after an FBI investigation recently discovered that they had paid these top recruits and their families a lump sum of money to come play basketball for their respective schools.
|Dennis Smith Jr. (Dallas) attempts a layup as|
Kyle Kuzma (Lakers) looks on
There are many stakeholders that are affected from this scandal, some will be affected minimally while others severely. The administration, coaches and players of the school that was involved in the scandal will receive large penalties, scaling from loss of scholarships, vacating wins and championships, dismissal of administration, fines and suspensions, to even a temporary ban from tournaments. This ultimately will cause less and less recruits to want to attend the school knowing they're under constant investigation and are facing penalites. The school itself will take a hit as the teams will not perform well due to all the penalties, leading for the fans to stop attending, networks to stop broadcasting and sponsors to stop endorsing, causing a downward spiral in profit for the program. They will basically have to start all over again from scratch if handed severe penalties, from having to find an entire new staff, gain recruits, earn the hearts of the fans back and lastly, gain the trust of the NCAA back. Ultimately, there are many stakeholders affected from this illegal form of recruiting, placing these schools in a difficult place to find out how to clean up such a mess, and proving a point that the NCAA doesn't mess around when it comes to their core values.
Friedman’s theory of individualism discusses that, “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 stakeholders.” The ethical rule of individualism however states that this should be done within the law, so an individualist would view this scandal as unethical, as the coaches were doing everything in their power to land a top recruit at their university, to hopefully win more games, sell more tickets, and give the schools a better name and more exposure, but they got the recruit by using illegal recruiting methods such as bribery and collusion. The coaches weren’t thinking about these allegations, only the profits. For example, if a school lands the number one overall recruit in the nation, then news outlets everywhere will want to cover the signing day story, broadcast stations will line up to show it on their network, fans will camp out for tickets as they want to witness the talent first hand, sponsors will want to do business as the school will be consistently in headlines. It almost creates a domino effect of profit by landing a top recruit, and from an individualist standpoint; if doing whatever it takes to land that recruit will turn a big enough profit, and its done legally and ethically, then it is okay, but in this case, it was done wrongfully and illegally, so it is wrong.
|Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller heavily sweats through|
his shirt as he coaches his team in an NCAA Tournament Game
(or because he is paranoid from his unethical recruiting methods?)
There are four basic principles to Kantianism; first is to Act Rationally, this means to don't act inconsistently in your own actions or consider yourself exempt from your own rules, next is to allow and help people to make rational decisions, third is to respect people, their autonomy, and their individual needs and differences, lastly is to be motivated by good will, seeking to do what is right because it is right. One saying that goes with the Kantian theory is "the end doesn't justify the means." One shouldn't manipulate, lie, or cheat others just to get your way from a Kant's view, one should act respectfully and honor other's choices. This case would be viewed unethical from a Kantian’s standpoint as the coaches did not act rationally in their recruiting tactics as they felt they needed to pay the player in order to just attend the school. They certainly did not help the recruit make a rational decision with forcing him to choose between other schools and a cash bribe, and they violated the recruit's autonomy by forcing external pressure on him to make a big and difficult decision. Lastly, the coaches did not allow for the players to make a rational decision as the players knew they were doing something wrong by accepting the cash bribe presented by the coaches to attend the school, therefore this method of recruiting is seen as irrational.
Utilitarianism involves two aspects, egoism and altruism. Egoism means to maximize your own happiness and Altruism is to maximize happiness in others. From a Utilitarian standpoint, the case should maximize happiness for all parties affected in the long run. One would find this case unethical as they were making the player and their families happy by giving them full scholarships and a lump sum of cash to choose this school and play basketball for basically only one year, and if they would land the recruit, the school and coaching staff would be ecstatic as they can increase their chances of success. But, the other schools and the NCAA wouldn't be happy as they were trying to be moral in their recruiting and the one school just cheated their way to landing a top recruit. They are also breaking the NCAA's core values and rules that have been instilled since the NCAA came into existence. In the long run, the only parties that would be happy are the recruits and their families that got paid, as the school will be subject to penalties, the NCAA will be furious as they have to hand out penalties and tighten their policies, and other schools will still be upset that they didn't land a top recruit and perhaps missed out on a chance at a national championship.
The Virtue Theory of business ethics focuses directly on the act itself and how it is unethical. A question that must be asked is, “what is the right thing to do in this situation?” It focuses on four characteristics: courage, honesty, temperance, and justice. It should be that the act was all in good character. From this theory's standpoint, this case would be determined as unethical due to it’s unethical recruiting tactics, and the violation of NCAA rules and recruiting standards. It is considered unethical because the NCAA adheres that it's athletes all obtain the status of amateur, therefore foregoing the privilege of being paid. In knowing this, the coaches who went behind the backs of the NCAA to pay these top recruits to attend this school, were not honest in how they were able to land such highly sought-after recruits, and it clearly was not the right thing to do. Clearly, when there is something that has people losing their jobs and people getting arrested and a multi-year long investigation, then there is something not in good character going on. This method of recruiting goes against all four characteristics and is not within good character so by the Virtue Theory, it is the wrong thing to do for both parties, the coach in offering a bribe, and for the player in accepting the bribe.
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DiNitto Omnisport, M. (2018, February 23). Duke, UNC, Kentucky among colleges named in FBI investigation into recruiting scandal. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://www.sportingnews.com/ncaa-basketball/news/college-basketball-scandal-duke-north-carolina-michigan-state-andy-miller-christian-dawkins/1rbuw6zo74l1z1knjyb96x4prw
Murphy, B., & Irby, K. (2018, February 27). The FBI is investigating college basketball recruiting practices. Now Congress is too. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/article202467669.html
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Sherman, M. (2018, February 23). Everything you need to know about the college basketball scandal. Retrieved April 06, 2018, from http://www.espn.com/mens-college-basketball/story/_/id/22555512/explaining-ncaa-college-basketball-scandal-players-coaches-agents