January 2013

Jim Thompson and Positive Coaching Alliance Receive Inaugural ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sports from Santa Clara University’s Institute of Sports Law and Ethics

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Jan. 29, 2013—Santa Clara University's Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) will award its inaugural ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sports to Jim Thompson and the organization he founded, Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA).

PCA is a national nonprofit based in Mountain View, Calif., with the mission to transform the culture of youth and high school sports to develop “Better Athletes, Better People.” Since its founding in 1998, PCA has impacted more than 4.5 million youth athletes, primarily through live group workshops that incorporate Thompson’s books on youth-sports coaching and parenting, as well as through online courses and publications.

PCA training develops a Double-Goal Coach®, who pursues the goal of winning, while also pursuing the more-important goal of teaching life lessons through sports. Those lessons include “Honoring the Game,” PCA’s ethical framework of sportsmanship. PCA also emphasizes ethics in its Becoming a Triple-Impact Competitor® workshop for high school-aged student-athletes. Incorporating Thompson’s book Elevating Your Game: Becoming a Triple-Impact Competitor, the workshop directs student-athletes in pursuing improvement of oneself, one’s teammates and the game as a whole. PCA also provides workshops and materials for sports parents and school and youth sports organization leaders.

  “I am honored that PCA and I are the first recipients of this award,” said Thompson, who started PCA after 10 years as director of the public and global management programs at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. “It will help us and those who support our work—such as Phil Jackson, Steve Young, Doc Rivers, and Summer Sanders—to reinforce our message that ‘winning’ is not defined just by scoreboard results, and that it is critically important to train young athletes to honor the game by respecting rules, opponents, officials, teammates, and self.”

The $5,000 award will be presented at a dinner at Santa Clara University’s Adobe Lodge on May 1, 2013. Representatives of major Bay Area sports organizations are expected to attend the event.

The Institute of Sports Law and Ethics chose Thompson and PCA over 30 other candidates for the award, said Kirk Hanson, executive director of SCU’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, who co-chaired the selection committee. “Jim Thompson and his Positive Coaching Alliance clearly and fully exemplify the ethics in action that we are striving to promote at the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics,” he said. “PCA has done an excellent job preparing youth-sports coaches to handle the unavoidable ethical dilemmas that come with the job.”

The importance of ethics in sports is underscored regularly—as evidenced by recent admissions of doping by Lance Armstrong. “We saw a real void nationally in the area of leadership regarding sportsmanship, ethics, and character development in the world of sports, and a real need for some organization to tackle these issues and emphasize and reward that which is positive and exemplary,” said Dan Coonan, SCU’s athletic director and a co-founder of ISLE.

“ISLE believes that Jim Thompson and PCA stand for ETHOS, which is both an acronym for Ethics of Sports and a Greek word that means ‘character,’” said ISLE chairman Ron Katz. 

The ETHOS prize will be an annual award honoring a decision, action, initiative, or program that has contributed to the ethics of sport in the United States. “Ethics of sport” refers to the adherence to rules and practices or structures that promote fair opportunity for all competitors, a concern for safety of all participants, and a focus on the positive impact of sport on American life and on the moral formation of all participants.

“Pooling the energies and expertise of the law school, the ethics center, and the athletic department enables ISLE to bring a unique multidisciplinary approach to the many ethical problems that arise in sports, from defining amateurism to addressing problems with steroids and concussions,” said Donald Polden, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law, who helped found ISLE.

Nominations for future recipients of the ETHOS Award may be made to the executive director of ISLE by emailing ndiaz@scu.edu.

About the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics
The Institute of Sports Law and Ethics was founded by the Santa Clara School of Law, SCU Athletic Department, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Its 25-member board includes distinguished athletes and sports executives. The institute’s signature event is an annual Symposium on Sports Law and Ethics in September, covering subjects such as concussions, steroids, amateurism, and the commercial use of athletes’ images. In 2012 ISLE added a community outreach component, established the ETHOS Award, and created a task force to study amateurism. For more information see law.scu.edu/sportslaw.

About Positive Coaching Alliance
Positive Coaching Alliance is a national nonprofit achieving its mission to transform youth sports in partnership with roughly 2,000 schools and youth sports organizations throughout the U.S., many prominent national youth sports organizations and a national advisory board comprising scores of top coaches, athletes, academicians, and business leaders. For more information see www.positivecoach.org.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 8,800 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, theology, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see www.scu.edu.

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | dlohse@scu.edu<mailto:dlohse@scu.edu> | 408-554-5121
David Jacobson | Positive Coaching Alliance | david_jacobson@positivecoach.org | 650-210-0808


Jim Thompson,Positive Coaching Alliance,Institute for Sports Law and Ethics