New center will explore ethics in sports

Ed Etzel

A team of CPASS faculty members will lead an effort to study the moral, political, social and applied behavior aspects related to sports ethics.

The Russell “Bud” Bolton Center for Sports Ethics will enhance offerings in athletic coaching education, sport management and sport and exercise psychology programs. The center will promote the use of specialized lectures, case studies, guest speakers and research related to the topics of ethics in sports as integral parts of the courses in each of the programs.

Four CPASS faculty members are heading the center, Drs. Gonzalo Bravo, education and application, Kristen Dieffenbach, research, Ed Etzel, director, and Jack Watson, public relations.

According to Etzel, the center’s mission focuses on increasing the awareness related to and knowledge of the best practices associated with the ethical issues affecting modern sport. The center’s efforts include quality research, the collection and dissemination of ethical resources and promotion of the study of ethics in sport among students and faculty.

The center’s concept is based on sportsmanship and ethics. “Ethics is found as an undercurrent of everything we do. It’s infused into coursework, coaching and athletes. Sports has its own rules and values, though. Ethics has a positive impact on sport overall and for participants,” Etzel explained.

With this renewed focus that the center brings to the spotlight, Etzel says the vision is to change the way that people think about sports. “The culture of athletics is to win games. When the stakes are high, some people will cheat to win at any cost. With increased research and awareness, we will exam shifts in behaviors,” he added.

Center partners in include WVU Athletics, WVU College of Business and Economics, WVU Department of Philosophy and the University of Pittsburgh.

Etzel noted that there are three other related sports ethics centers, Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at UC Santa Clara, Idaho Center for Ethics, University of Idaho, and The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, University Central Florida. The CPASS-based center will seek out partnerships in furthering the understanding of ethics in sports. 

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