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Lecture series explores ethics in sports industry

| Monday, February 13, 2017

ethicsweek_webJoseph Han

The global sports industry is estimated to carry a $1.5 trillion value. With that big of a presence in the business, it makes sense that Mendoza College of Business chose its Ethics Week theme for this year to be “Sports and the Common Good.”

“‘Sports and the Common Good’ just seemed like a natural [pick for a theme], especially at a university like Notre Dame [with] a college of business like Mendoza,” Brian Levey, one of the organizers for the event, said in an email. “Educating the mind, body and spirit is at the heart of the … Holy Cross mission.”

Levey said Notre Dame’s emphasis on this complete education is evidenced not only in varsity sports, but also in activities such as Bengal Bouts, which starts this week, and Bookstore Basketball.

Now in its 20th year, Mendoza College of Business’ Ethics Week was first started by accounting professor Ken Milani. Inspired by the work of John Houck, a Notre Dame management professor who died in 1996, Ethics Week has included themes such as sustainability, financial institutions, governing for the greater good (politics and public service) and ethics through a global lens.

Over the history of the event, the organizers have tried various approaches and activities with Ethics Week, including a brown bag lunch speaker series and an ethics case competition.

Recently, changes in the timing and formatting of the events, as well as an increased online presence through a Facebook page and Twitter account, have helped attendance spike to about 500 participants in 2014 and 2015.

Speakers from past Ethics Weeks have ranged from Fr. Jenkins to the chief ethics officer of the United Nations. This year’s agenda feature an equally diverse group, with backgrounds spanning sports psychology to wealth management.

Levey hopes incorporating sports with this year’s Ethics Week will help students consider ethics on a different level.

“By examining sports from a deeper perspective, we can explore business ethics issues in a relatable manner. Winning, losing, fair play, cheating, equality, discrimination, altruism, egoism – sports has it all,” he said. “Just check the headlines; you’ll see a sports ethics issue, and, in turn, a business ethics issue almost every day.”

Thursday offers a movie night that features the baseball movie “The Natural,” starring Robert Redford. The first 75 movie attendees who also stay for the panel after the movie will be treated to free pizza.

“It’s critically acclaimed — it’s a sports movie, it’s a love story, it’s a tale of redemption and it presents the audience with an ethical dilemma,” Levey said.

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About Alexandra Muck

Alexandra Muck is a Notre Dame senior majoring in business and economics. Originally from Dallas, she currently lives in Howard Hall.

Contact Alexandra