Friday, January 15, 2021

Sport Admin

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For over nine months now I have had an internship with the Colorado University Athletic Department, specifically the Marketing and Development department. I am the head football intern, which means I am in charge of making sure that everything during football games flow fine. It is a job I have thoroughly enjoyed, and am looking at the sports administration field for future employment. College Athletics is a billion dollar industry, which is constantly under ethical scrutiny. There are many cases through out college football that ethical questions arise but the one I am going to look at is the firing of University of Washington's head football coach Rick Neuheisel. Rick Neuheisel is one of the more successful coaches in college football but the one thing that has always tainted Rick's resume is scandals.

College football is a highly competitive business with rules and regulations that make even more difficult to keep up with the competition. Throughout Neuheisel's career, he has consistently been in trouble for bending or baking the rules, just to try to have a leg up on competition. In June 1, Rick had off-campus visits reduced for making improper visits to five recruits. In February of '0, Neuheisel was reprimanded by the Pac-10, for making comments about other schools recruiting tactics. In October of 0', the NCAA completed an investigation into Neuheisels tenure at Colorado and prohibited him from off-campus recruiting through May 1, 00, as a penalty for his part in more than 50 minor violations at Colorado. In February of 0', after rumors that he interviewed with the San Francisco 4ers for their head coaching position the previous day, Neuheisel releases a statement denying he ever talked to the 4ers. The next day, Neuheisel acknowledges that he did in fact interview with the 4ers, saying that his initial reactions were just instinct. Then the final straw came in June of 0' when, Neuheisel was caught gambling in a NCAA Basketball Tournament pool.

The NCAA has rules that strictly prohibits gambling on college sports by athletes or athletic department staff. Rick insisted he didn't know he had broken NCAA rules because it was an informal off-campus pool. Rick had gotten together with a few neighborhood buddies in the pool. He reportedly put in $5,000 and won about $0,000 in 00. That sounds a lot to the normal Joe, but Rick was making 1. million at the time, so it's not much to him. So what's the big deal he bet on a sport that wasn't even the one he is affiliated with, and it was an informal bet not associated with a bookie. That is the ethical dilemma that the University of Washington's director of Athletics, Barbara Hedges had to deal with.

There is no question that Rick broke the rules, but what he did, was it enough to be fired. Many people thought that it was not a big deal, and that he should have been fined. But how much and how many times can you fine or reprimand someone in such a high up position. Barbra Hedges did what she thought had to be done, fire Head Coach Rick Neuheisel. Barbra fired a coach not just because of one incident, but because his unethical ways of doing business.

One might think that it was easy for her to fire Rick; after all he had been fined and restricted so many times in his past. But you have to remember, Rick was 16 all time at Washington and was making 1. million a year. Barbra could have easily just fined and suspended him, but how would that look on the university. Barbra did the right thing in firing Rick Nueheisel, she showed the rest of the country that the University of Washington will not stand for unethical actions.

It seems like there are cases just like this everyday in the business of college athletics. It is what each athletic director does to prevent the unethical behavior. I remember last March I received an email from the Athletic Department saying it was illegal to participate in March Madness pools, and I'm just an intern. It is steps like these that help remind people of the rules. In Rick Neuheisel's case it's hard to believe that he did not know the rules about gambling or recruiting. He chose to try to bend or ignore the rules to gain the competitive edge. In this case Rick Nueheisel was a coach who used unethical practices, and Barbra Hedges was an athletic director who used business and ethical reasoning to solve the problem.

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