August 28, 2013
Murray State Ethical Issues
The Responsibility Project, presented by Liberty Mutual, has a short film about the 2013 Murray State men’s basketball team on their website. The website has many short films documenting organizational issues and ethical dilemmas in different real-life scenarios around the country. The focus of my paper will be on the organizational and ethical issues at Murray State, or the lack thereof. Murray State men’s basketball program and the community that supports them just might be the example of great ethical principles and organizational responsibility that other businesses and companies can learn from.
Murray State University is located in Murray, Kentucky and is a traditional four-year, state funded college. The community of Murray, KY is a very tight knit community of people who are all from there, raise kids there, and live out their lives there. Much like any other small town in middle America, the community has a togetherness and support for its’ local athletic teams like no other. This leads us to the story of Murray State men’s basketball. The ethical and organizational issues in and around this athletic program are difficult to determine. The head coach preaches discipline, hard work, and family values. The community supports the team and drops everything to attend games. Literally, the whole town shuts down; local shops are closed, streets are empty, everyone goes to the game or watches on TV with family. I guess you can come up with the ethical issue of should a community be so involved in a team in this way? Also, what kind of pressure must the student-athletes and head coaches feel about the entire town watching every little thing they do. In an instance, these players and coach could go from hero to goat. These are some ethical questions I have about the Murray State men’s basketball team.
I think the lack of issues at Murray State are important because not every university athletic program has the same lack of issues. In fact, nowadays all we see on ESPN is the newest report of college players getting paid for performance or parents of college recruits receiving improper benefits. Seems to me that Murray State’s athletic program is important because, as stated before, they should be a model for major college sports on how to operate and properly support their team. This might not be viable considering major universities are not all located in a small town conducive to the support given to Murray State by the city of Murray. However, when it comes to the ethical practices of the players and coach, these aspects can be taught as a way to do things right, and that is important.
One of my ethical issue questions was about the pressure the community might put on players because of the overwhelming attention given to the games and team performance. This would signify external social pressures that could influence organizational ethics. However, I gather from the film that players, including senior guard Isaiah Canaan, do not feel negative external social pressure. This includes the coach, who to this day, has not sacrificed his program’s ethics due to pressures from external sources. In fact, both Isaiah Canaan and Coach Steve Prohm communicate the exact opposite. In the short film, Isaiah talks about how when he came to Murray as a freshman, he was welcomed by the community with open arms. As a senior, he no longer feels like these people are fans, but that they are family.