KINS 398 - 41






Instructor: J. Charles Blauvelt

Office:  106 Willett Hall

Office telephone: (434) 395 2544

HRK Office telephone: (434) 395 2533

Home telephone: (434) 392 9484


Office Hours: By appointment

 Course Hours:  MTWRF  1:00-3:45 PM

Room: 103 Willett


COURSE DESCRIPTION: An examination of the basic philosophical issues concerning ethics and moral reasoning and how these issues relate to sport.  Students will be encouraged to develop their ability to make informed ethical choices and decisions relating both to sport and to their own personal and professional lives.  This course is designed for all students of any major.




Malloy, D.; Ross; & Zakus, D. (2003).  Sport ethics: Concepts and cases in sport and recreation (2nd ed.).

     Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.


Rachels, J. (2007)  The elements of moral philosophy(5TH  ed.).  Boston: McGraw-Hill College.





This course is designed to meet the Longwood College General Education Goal 13: The ability to make informed, ethical choices and decisions and to weigh the consequences of those choices.


All courses within this goal are designed to result in the following student outcomes:


Students will:


1.       Identify the ethical issues implicit in personal behavior and in the operation of political, social, and economic institutions.

2.       Understand various approaches to making informed and principled choices.  Consider how these approaches might be applied to conflicts in their personal and public lives.

3.       Understand the impact of individual and collective choice in society.




At the completion of the course the student will be able to:


The value of sport

1.  Recognize that sport has been an important human endeavor and describe the personal and social value that sport  has      offered  throughout history.

2.  Recognize and explain how sport as a social institution both influences and is influenced by other social institutions         including religion.

3.  Identify and discuss the broad developments that have lead to recent political, social, technological, and cultural               changes in sport.


Introduction to philosophy and ethics

4. discuss the purposes of philosophy.

5. list the different branches of philosophy and give examples of questions asked in each branch.

6. offer some commonly held definitions of ethics and of morality

7. explain reasons for acting morally and ethically.

8. briefly describe the contributions of various philosophers to the field of ethics, including Kant, Plato, Aristotle, Mill,        Thomas Aquinas,  and others.

9. define and explain the differences among non-consequential (deontological) , consequential (teleological), and                   existential theories as bases for ethical decision making.

  1. identify and explain how different moderators influence decision making.


Elements of Moral Philosophy

  1. Identify and describe various traditional moral theories that have been used throughout the ages.
  2. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of traditional moral theories.
  3. Use the different moral theories to analyze current ethical issues.


Systems for rendering ethical judgment

14.   list and describe the steps of "The Five Step Approach" (as defined by Malloy et. al. - the course textbook).


Sport ethics

  1. identify and discuss commonly held ethical principles for sport
  2. identify important ethical issues/dilemmas found in sport today.
  3. use the different types of ethical reasoning to examine the above mentioned issues.
  4. make personal ethical decisions on selected ethical issues using a defined system for ethical decision making.


Professional ethics

18. act ethically in personal and professional situations related to sport, exercise, health, and education

19.describe and analyze various professional codes of ethics in the fields of sport, exercise, health, and education.




I.                    Course introduction

A.      Introductory activity

1.       personal experiences

2.       thinking about ethics

3.       thinking about sport ethics

4.       thinking about personal ethical values

5.       course purposes

B.      Policy and procedures

1.       “Rules of Engagement”

2.       syllabus

II.                  The value of sport

A.      Historical purposes of sport

1.       personal

2.       social

B.      Sport and social institutions

C.      Current political, social, technological and cultural changes in sport


III.        Introduction to philosophy and ethics

            A. Branches of philosophy

            B. Purposes of philosophy

            C  Definitions of ethics and morality

            D. Reasons for acting ethically and morally

            E.. History: Influential moral philosophers

F.       Bases for ethical decision making

1.       Consequentialism (Teleology)

2.       Non-consequentialism (Deontology)

3.       Existentialism


IV.                Elements of moral philosophy

A.      Defining Morality

B.      Cultural Relativism

C.      Subjectivism

D.      Morality and Religion

E.       Utilitarianism

F.       Absolute Moral Rules/Kant

G.      The Social Contract


V.                  A System for rendering ethical judgment: “The Five-Step approach”


VI.                Sport ethics

A.        ethical principles for sport

B.        current ethical issues in sport

1.       fairplay, sportsmanship, cheating

2.       performance enhancing drugs and sport

3.       gender equity in sport

4.       race and sport

5.       violence and sport

6.       youth sport

7.       education and sport

8.       autonomy and paternalism

9.       economics and sport

10.    politics and sport

11.    other issues


VII.             Professional ethics - Codes of ethics

H.      coaches

I.        athletes

J.        students

K.      teachers

L.       others




JUL    13    Introductory activity: “Thinking about ethics” / Policies and procedures

14   The value of sport - Readings:  Malloy Ch. 2/ The importance of sport

          15    Introduction to ethics/A Model for ethical decision making: The “five-step approach”.           

 Readings:  Malloy, Ch. 3, 4, 8 (pp. 141-147) and Case Study 8.7

  16    The “five-step approach”/ Practicing the model: Ethical issues in sport

  Readings: ch. 8 (look over the case studies)

  17    Exam  # 1/Description of student presentations. / Branches of philosophy/Influential moral philosophers

  20     Review exam

                    Defining morality - reading: Rachels Ch. 1

                    Cultural relativism - readings: Rachels Ch 2

           21    Subjectivism - readings: Rachels Ch. 3

                   Religion and morality - readings: Rachels Ch. 4

           22   Utilitariansim - readings: Rachels Ch. 7 & 8

23    Absolute moral rules/Kant - readings: Rachels  Ch. 9 & 10

            24   The social contract - readings: Rachels Ch. 11

                   Review of Rachels

            27   Exam # 2

            28   Review Exam/Student Presentations 1, 2, 3

            29   Student Presentations 4, 5, 6

            30   Final Exam

           31    Make up day




2 exams

1 final exam

1 class presentation





Exam # 1                                              20

Exam # 2                                              20

Final Exam                                             20

Participation                                        20

Class presentation                                20




Oral Presentation:  Select an issue in sports ethics that interests you.  This issue could come from some "hot" topic that  is currently being discussed.  This is not a requirement, however, and if you wish to explore a "classic" issue of sports ethics, please feel free to do so. In addition, those students with majors other than Kinesiology or Recreation may, with the permission of the instructor, select a topic outside the field of sport.  When you select an issue, inform the instructor.  On the day of your presentation you should be prepared to do the following: 1) Present a thorough description of the issue.  Make sure you gather enough information so that the class can make a logical analysis.  You  may bring  newspaper articles, journals, etc. to supplement your presentation  2) Lead a class discussion on the issue.  Make sure you encourage the participants to think "philosophically", that is use the methods of reasoning we have learned in the class.  3)  Finish by summarizing the class perspective and then presenting the conclusion(s) reached.   Your evaluation will be based both on your presentation skills (e.g. voice, speech patterns, clarity, etc.) and on your ability to guide the class in approaching the subject in a philosophical manner.


Participation:  Because of the short duration of a summer term class and because of the seminar nature of this class, a course grade will be assigned to student participation.  10 of the 20 points for participation will depend on student attendance.  Grades will be reduced by 2 points for each excused absence and 4 points for each unexcused absence.  The remaining 10 points will be based on the quantity and quality of student participation in class discussions and on student participation in current ethical issues discussions. 


Students should not that the participation grade is IN ADDITION to the standard Longwood University Attendance Policy that is described below.


Extra Credit:  Students have the opportunity to earn up to 6 points extra credit by completing two different assignments.  Each assignment is worth 3 pts.


1.       Current Event Presentation:  On most days, class will begin with an opportunity to discuss current ethical issues in sport and society in general.  Students should keep up with current events via newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and the internet.  If you come across an issue that you believe would be of interest to the class, please bring it to the attention of the class during the open discussion period.  If it is from a print or internet source, bring in a copy of the article.  If it is from radio or television, write the source and a brief summary.  Please hand the article/summary to the instructor after the discussion to verify your participation in this activity.

2.       Movie critique: 

a.       Gone Baby Gone  -  View the recent film Gone Baby Gone.  Write a brief paper that answers the following questions:  What would you have done if you were the detective played by Casey Affleck?  Which character made the correct ethical decision?  Why, what is the ethical basis for your decision?   Please note, you do NOT have to write a summary of the film or a critique of its’ quality.  Just concentrate on the ethical dilemma.


       If you choose to do this assignment, have patience.  You will probably be unaware                               

       that there is even an ethical dilemma until the very end of the film.  Until then, just       

       enjoy the film as a detective story.


b.       Doubt – View the recent film Doubt.  Write a brief paper discussing whether the character played by Meryl Streep was ethically correct in accusing the priest of child molestation and in lying in order to pressure him to resign.  Also, discuss whether you think it is ever permissible to act to prevent a serious crime when our only proof is our “gut feeling”.


c.        My Sister’s Keeper -  View the current film My Sister’s Keeper.  Write a brief paper discussing whether it is ethical to genetically engineer a child in order to harvest blood, marrow, and body parts for another child.







Because of the short duration of summer courses and because of the seminar nature of the course, it is essential that students attend class and participate in class discussions.  Therefore, the Longwood Attendance Policy will be followed.  That is, students who have unexcused absences for 10% or more of the scheduled class days will have their grade lowered by 1 letter grade.  For purposes of this summer course, this clause will be invoked on the third absence.  Students missing more than 25 % of the classes (excused & unexcused) will receive an "F".  This will be invoked on the fourth absence.




This is an ETHICS CLASS!  It should go without saying that students are expected to comply with all requirements of the Longwood College Honor Code.



  1. Current Events – The following is a list of issues/events/persons related to sports ethics and/or general ethics that have been in the public eye during the past several years.  You should be able to easily locate information on any or all of these issues in the public media.


    1. Sports Related

·                     The films Million Dollar Baby;  MurderBall;  Ringer;  Bigger, Stronger, Faster.

·                     The Michael Vick case and dog fighting in general.

·                     Tim Donaghy (NBA referee accused of point shaving)

·                     Nick Saban, Frank Beamer, Al Groh and college coaching salaries.

·                     Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban and others leaving jobs.

·                     Arrests of NFL football players, Pacman Jones suspension and appeal.

·                     Barry Bonds home run record.

·                     Congressional hearings on steroid use – Clemons, Tejada, McGwire, Sosa, Palmiero, Canseco, Bonds, etc.

·                     The BALCO Case – Conte, Anderson, Jones, Gatlin, Montgomery etc.

·                     Floyd Landis and Tour de France

·                     Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, Terrel Owens, Soccer playes, etc. – touchdown/goal celebrations

·                     Racism is European soccer

·                     Zinedane Zidane – head butt in World Cup

·                     Pacers/Pistons Brawl

·                     Uniforms used by girls/women athletes who are Muslims

·                     Kelly Tilghman’s use of the word “lynching”.

·                     Oscar Pistorius – disabled athletes competing with able bodied athletes.

·                     The Bejing Olympics





    1. General Ethics

·   The Terry Schiavo case (assisted suicide/ending life support)

·    The war in Iraq

·    Torture

·    Lectronic surveillance of citizens of USA/Patriot act

·    Governor of New York and Washington politicians “escort service” scandals

·    Embryonic stem cell research

·    Virginia constitutional amendment banning same sex marrieeage.

·   Abortion – parental notification, bans on “partial birth abortion”

·   The “morning after pill”

·    Proposed Utah legislation to define fertilized egg as a person.

·    Immigration

·   Ecology

·   Health care

·   Genetic alterations

·   Darfur


  1. Books and Articles


Arnold, P. (1997).  Sport, ethics and education.  London: Cassell.


Boss, J. (2005).  Analyzing moral issues. (3rd. ed.).  New York: McGraw-Hill.


Coakley, J. (2004).  Sport in society: Issues and controversy. (8th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill


Drew, S. (2003).  Why sport? An introduction to the philosophy of sport.  Toronto: Thompson Educational Publishing.


Fieser, J. (2001). Moral philosophy through the ages. Mountain View, CA: Mayfield.


Kretchmar, R. (1994). Practical  philosophy of sport.  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.


Lumpkin, A; Stoll, S. & Beller, J. (2003).  Sport ethics: Applications for fair play (3rd  ed.).  Boston:

     WCB/McGraw Hill.


Luper, S. (2002). A guidee to ethics  New York: McGraw-Hill.


Mapes, T. & DeGrazia, D. (2001)  Biomedical ethics. (5th ed.)  New York:  McGraw-Hill..


Morgan, W. & Meier, K. (2001).  Philosophic Inquiry in sport (2nd. Ed)  Champaign, IL: Human  Kinetics.


Morgan, W., Meier, K., & Schneider, A. (Eds.) (2001).  Ethics in sport  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.


Pittman, A. (2005)  Fighting in sports:  Criminal or not?  The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation and Dance,      

     76(4), 10-11, 15.


Rosenstand, N. (2006).  The moral of the story: An introduction to ethics. (5th ed.) New York: McGraw-Hill.


Ruggiero, V. (2004). Thinking critically about ethical issues (6thed.).  Boston: McGraw Hill.


Staffo, D. (2001).  Strategies for reducing criminal violence among athletes.  The Journal of Physical Education,

     Recreation & Dance, 72(6), 38-42.


Shea, E. (1996).  Ethical decisions in sport: Interscholastic, intercollegiate, Olympic and  professional.  Springfield, IL:         Charles C. Thomas.


Solomon, R. (1993). Ethics: A short introduction.  Dubuque: Brown & Benchmark.


Thomas, J. & Gill, D.(Eds.). (1993). The academy papers: Ethics  in the study of physical activity.

     Quest, 45(1), 1-147.


Yiannakis, A. & Melnick, M. (eds.)  (2001).  Contemporary issues in sociology of sport.         

     Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.