Santa Clara University

Spring 2013 Community Newlstter

Honoring Ethics in Sports

From Little League to swim teams, sports are a big deal for kids.

“These coaches have a tremendous influence in children’s lives,” said Ron Katz, chairman of Santa Clara University’s newly formed Institute of Sports Law and Ethics and an instructor at SCU’s law school.

But not all of the influences are positive: “It’s win at all costs, rather than participation and learning and sportsmanship and building character,” Katz said.

Jim Thompson

To reward those with a focus on the positives that can come from sports, the Institute is giving its first ETHOS award for ethics in sports to Jim Thompson and the national nonprofit organization he founded, Positive Coaching Alliance.

“I think sports is a place where our values come into focus,” said Thompson. “It’s really hard to imagine developing as a person without challenges, and sports provide challenge after challenge after challenge to kids.”

The group works with schools and youth sports organizations on two goals: to prepare teams to win games, and to use sports to teach life’s lessons. “If the only goal is winning, the coach will not make good decisions under pressure,” Thompson said.

The Institute of Sports Law and Ethics is a joint venture of the SCU School of Law and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Its board includes sports figures such as Brandi Chastain and Ronnie Lott.

The $5,000 award will be presented at a dinner at the University’s Adobe Lodge on May 1.