Lecture focuses on ethical dilemmas within collegiate sports

By Zachary Bonner, Staff Writer 

On Oct. 30, Susquehanna hosted Donald M. Remy in Stretansky Concert Hall for a lecture in The Edward S. and A. Rita Schmidt Lectureship in Ethics series. Remy’s lecture, titled “Sports Ethics: The Risk of Getting It Wrong” covered contemporary ethical dilemmas in the NCAA and how the organization plans to better entrench a sense of ethics in collegiate sports.

Remy is the Executive Vice President of Law, Policy and Governance and the Chief Legal Office at the NCAA. According to his employment profile on Bloomberg.com, Remy has an extensive and prestigious legal background, having served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States, Assistant to the General Counsel of the Army, Special Counsel to the Secretary of Defense, as well as Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Fannie Mae. Needless to say, Remy has had an expansive body of experience dealing with pervasive ethical lapses.

His lecture touched primarily upon issues of collegiate sports organizations that have broken the NCAA’s Bylaws regarding Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct, briefly bolstering his point with John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.

Remy cited balancing character and reputation, and using the former to build the latter. He went on to say that building such traits in the collegiate sports sphere is a foundational principle to good ethical practices.

“One of the hardest things is balancing your reputation with your character,” said senior Dylan Smith. “I do try to be respectful of others and live by the Golden Rule. Having these as constant reminders about how to carry myself [allows] this character aspect to overflow much more than what my reputation might be.”

“Our job is to provide college athletes with a college education,” Remy stated. “Those who break our trust have no place in college sports.”

Remy cited something that he called the ‘Life Cycles of Ethical Failures’, which set the ground- work for his reasoning about why ethical issues play such a large role in an organization created to unite student athletes in education and sport. He attributed the loose sense of morals in sports to a lack of foundational support youth organizations.

Remy then told a story of his own coaching experience in a youth basketball league. He recounted an ethical issue that caused his team to lose a chance to play in a tournament. An opposing coach utilized a player whose age was over the limit put on the league, allowing the team to beat others soundly. This team was eventually disqualified, but the league was unable to rectify issues this ethical lapse caused.

“As someone that has been involved in youth sports, and had most of my interest in the collegiate level come from such a place, I’m not sure if I completely agree with Remy,” said senior Emily Shellenberger. “I think that a lot of ethical issues in collegiate sports are bred by the organizations in which they happen, not in the youth league the violator played in a decade prior.”

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