College sports: HCC to hold panel discussion on Ethics in Sports

This week is Ethics Across the Curriculum week at Howard Community College. The school is holding a variety of events that deal with all aspects of ethics, including the opportunity to sign an academic honesty pledge.

Among the offerings will be Thursday's panel discussion on Ethics in Sports. The discussion will be held from 3:30-5:30 p.m. in room 400 of The Rouse Co. Foundation building on the college's campus. Admission is free.

"We'll be talking about the hot topics in sports," said HCC athletic director Diane Schumacher, who is both on the panel and its moderator.

Other panel members include John Booty, former NFL defensive player with the Giants, Jets and Eagles; Patrick Finley, director of HCC's Health and Human Services; Jeff Goering, vice president and CFO of the Baltimore Ravens, and Scott Wade, former MLB Red Sox and general manager of Sport Fit Bowie.

Schumacher also has impressive credentials. She was the first American to be inducted into the International Softball Hall of Fame. She is also in the Amateur Softball Association National Hall of Fame, the Connecticut ASA National Hall of Fame, Springfield College's Hall of Fame and Cathedral High School's Hall of Fame.

Among the topics to be discussed are: Should college athletes be paid to play? What's the biggest threat to the ethical integrity of college sports? Is it acceptable to offer bounties in football? Should steroid use be legal? Should athletic programs be held to higher graduation rates? What's the effect of the explosion of technology?

"We'll (also) open the floor up to other people" for questions, Schumacher said.

From her perspective as a former athlete, coach and athletic director, Schumacher sees "helicopter" parents as an ethical problem.

"Bless their hearts, they are trying to do the best for their kids, but they are pushing their kids like crazy and then they expect a guarantee (like an athletic scholarship) at the end," she said.

Schumacher points out that there are more academic scholarships than athletic scholarships.

"We are starting kids in sports way too soon," she added. "There are travel leagues and national championships for 10-year-olds. What's crazy is winning at the very (young) level. Winning to me is always a byproduct if you put things in place.

"We're a win-crazy culture. …We are a drug society and winning is a drug. I don't like to lose but I think we have to keep it in perspective."

Schumacher promises that during the discussion there will be a lively interaction on what is happening today in college and professional sports.

Ethics Week is co-sponsored by Ethics Across the Curriculum Action Committee, HCC's academic divisions and the Office of Student Life.

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