UM Students Debate Hot Sports Issues

February 06, 2011 —

UM Students Debate Hot Sports Issues on Super Bowl Sunday

On a day when millions gathered to celebrate one of the biggest sports events of the year, ten teams of University of Miami students debated some of the hottest ethical issues facing the sporting world during the Arsht Ethics Debates at SportsFest on February 6.

More than 40 students debated such thorny issues as athlete misconduct, steroid use, BASE jumping, and sports gambling.  The two hottest issues of the day were debated in the final championship round:  whether a playoff system or the current bowl game system is better for college football and whether college coaching salaries are appropriate.

“The current bowl system gives schools that do not have access to the BCS (Bowl Championship Series) a chance to showcase their programs,” said Elana Reman, a junior from Denver, Colorado, representing the University Village team, which placed first in the competition of the University’s residential colleges and student housing units.

Answering the question, “Is the college football bowl system inherently corrupt?” Reman’s team argued that the current college football bowl system is the best available option, given the time and resources it would take to put on a playoff system.

For the competition, team members researched eight cases, polished their arguments, and then await the moderator’s signal of which case they will present.  The team presents a timed argument, followed by commentary on that argument by the other team, a rebuttal, and then questions from a panel of judges.  Teams are evaluated on the clarity of the argument, application of ethical principles, identification of central moral dimensions, consideration of differing viewpoints, and the strength of their commentary on the other team’s argument.  Competing against one another, the team with the highest score wins.

The second place team from Hecht Residential College addressed the question:  “Are NCAA coaches’ salaries appropriate?”

“Higher salaries for NCAA coaches are appropriate because they uplift the entire school,” said Adaeze Ajoku, referring to collegiate athletics’ effect on student enrollments and fundraising.  Ajoku is a freshman from Pembroke Pines. 
“The best part of today’s event is that is was run by the students for students.  The level of participation and competition is better every year,” said UM Ethics Programs Co-Director Anita Cava, also a professor of business law. 
The winning team—Reman, Wes Rogerson, Tanner Simkins, and Marlow Svatek—received a trophy and 100 points toward the SportsFest competition.  In addition to Ajoku, the second place team featured Obianuju Akaniru, Nestor Beltre, Anthony Dardano, and Julian Glover.  Members of the top four teams received gift certificates to the UM bookstore.

In its fifth year, the Arsht Ethics Debates at SportsFest is supported by philanthropist and businesswoman Adrienne Arsht to heighten students’ awareness of the ethical issues in sports and to improve their debating and communication skills.

Established in 1991, the University of Miami Ethics Programs have emphasized work in bioethics, business and professional ethics, research and scientific ethics. From undergraduate UM academic societies to the federal government, the Ethics Programs have enjoyed a variety of collaborations on and contributions to special projects.  For more information, please e-mail ethics@miami.edu or call 305-243-5723.




2011 – University Village
Elana Reman
Wesley Rogerson
Tanner Simkins
Marlow Svatek