Dartmouth accuses 64 of cheating in sports ethics class

The cheating involved some students using a handheld device known as a clicker to answer questions for classmates who were absent. Many of the students were athletes and have been suspended for a semester, according to the newspaper. The incident is the latest in a string of academic scandals to hit selective colleges. Harvard University investigated 125 students in 2012 for …

3 Things I Hated About Superbowl XLIX

1.  I did not see a second of it as I was en route from L.A to Des Moines thru Dallas. But I read the entire play by play when I got to my room allowing me the second thing to hate: self-righteous, after the fact, critics of a play call. 2.  Yes, I hate the parade of second-guessers labeling …

The Glory of Sports and the Taint of Over-Competitive Coaches Who Cheat

Here is  an excerpt from a commentary by Michael Arace, a sports columnist in the The Columbus Dispatch • Sunday February 1, 2015: “Meet Michael Josephson, former law professor, whose odd work it is to lecture government bureaucracies, corporations, military leaders and nonprofit organizations about building a sustainable ethical culture. He also has dedicated the past 20 years building up …

A Cost-Free Way to Help

Regular readers know that the Josephson Institute (my life’s work since 1987) is really struggling this year. A few of you have made donations and I am grateful. I hope more of you will, but there is another way you can help without depleting your wallet. The Institute’s creative director, Tony Baer, came up with a great way everyone can …

Sneak Peek at Results of Educators’ Survey

(updated 12/4/13) Almost 4,500 educators (including 2426 teachers, 616 principals, 411 school counselors, 225 superintendents,  and 79 school board members)  have already taken the new Josephson Institute survey on the state of education in America. (If you haven’t already, please take the survey here and please share this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JIEducatorSurvey on Facebook, Twitter or elsewhere to encourage others to take it as well — the …

WHAT DOES THE FLAG MEAN TO YOU? Are noble democratic ideals and aspirations embodied in our founding documents infused into the DNA of the American flag? They are for me.

June 14 – official Flag Day in the U.S. ! Do you care? What does the American flag mean to you? And, if you are not American, what does your flag stand for in your heart?I doubt that many young people have any special feelings when they stand for the National Anthem or utter the memorized but undigested words of the …

Memo From Michael: Thoughts on School Graduations

This is a week dominated by thoughts and preparations for my daughter Abrielle’s graduation from high school and a post-ceremony party I’m hosting at our home. As has been the case with the brother and sister that preceded her, and as it will be with the two sisters who will follow her, this occasion – the graduation from high school, …

Memo From Michael: Thoughts on Coaching and Integrity

You’ve doubtless heard about the Rutgers University basketball coach, Mike Rice, who is shown on video in serial acts over two years abusing athletes and, quite simply, acting like a complete jerk. He was shown screaming homophobic slurs at his athletes, grabbing and pushing them and throwing basketballs at them from close range. The conduct was so over-the-top inappropriate that the discussion …

Memo From Michael: Remembering Dr. Jerry Buss

Last week, the sports world lost one of its giants. A man who made his imprint not only on his team and his sport, but on those who worked with him and for him. Jerry Buss, the people that knew him best called him Dr. Buss, died at the age of 80 leaving behind an army of admirers. Buss was not …

OBSERVATION. The Vast Difference Between Lance Armstrong and Manti Te’o

It’s hard to be too critical of Lance Armstrong – he not only cheated his way to fame, he bullied others and betrayed millions who believed in his self-righteous claims that he was an innocent man being persecuted by jealous enemies. His confession was not an expression of genuine remorse, but another cynical effort to choose the lesser of two …

COMMENTARY 794.5: Doing Sports Right

When I was a kid playing sports, there were no clubs, travel teams, or private coaches. Except for summer baseball leagues, the primary place to play was high school. When I was in the 10th grade, I wanted to play basketball in the worst way. Unfortunately, given my size and talent, that’s how I played. But in those days, sports …

COMMENTARY 794.3: The Yuppie Lifestyle and Satisfaction

T.S. Eliot said, “Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They do not mean to do harm…they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.” How do we feel important? Often, it’s by trying to obtain an image of success created by a culture that …

COMMENTARY 793.2: Kids Like to Win; Adults Need to Win

Whether you’re a sports fan or not, you have to acknowledge the powerful cultural influence that sports have on our culture. The values of millions of participants and spectators are shaped by the values conveyed in sports, including our views of what is permissible and proper in the competitive pursuit of personal goals. Professional sports and even highly competitive intercollegiate …

COMMENTARY 786.4: Bringing Olympic Ideals Into Our Lives

I’ve talked before about the Olympic ideals upon which the modern movement was founded. Over the years, new words and symbols were made part of Olympism to reinforce those ideals. One of them is the Olympic Motto: citius, altius, fortius (faster, higher, stronger). Note that it’s not “fastest, highest, strongest” because the Olympic ideal encourages athletes to view success in …

COMMENTARY 786.3: The Not-So-Noble History of the Olympics

You don’t have to be cynical to note that none of the modern Olympic Games have consistently lived up to the noble goals of their founder. There’s too much nationalism, commercialism, overemphasis on medal counts, and explosions of pure ego. But before we despair about the imperfections of this grand effort to promote world peace and fair play, consider the …

The Rules of the Game, by Olympic Gold Medalist John Naber

Several years ago, Josephson Institute edited a book of 41 essays called The Power of Character. Among the accomplished and interesting contributors was John Naber, who won four gold medals and one silver medal in swimming at the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal, setting four world records in the process. Now, with the London Games in full swing, we are pleased to …

COMMENTARY 786.2: History of the Olympics

As we view the spectacle of the 2012 London Olympics I want to share a condensed history of the Games. Legends differ on the exact reason, but it’s pretty certain that the first Olympic Games were conducted in Greece in 776 B.C. Thereafter, they were held every four years (called an Olympiad) for nearly 12 centuries. During the Games, a …

COMMENTARY 776.5: Coaching for Character

I’ve spent lots of time with some of the world’s most successful coaches. I discovered that many of them think about character a lot, especially traits that are important to winning – like self-discipline, perseverance, resiliency, and courage. They pay less attention to virtues like honesty, integrity, responsibility, compassion, respect, and fairness – aspects of character that make a good …

COMMENTARY 776.4: Parents Are Teachers First

When John Wooden, the legendary basketball coach, referred to the last game he “ever taught,” he was asked about this phrasing. He said simply that a coach is first and foremost a teacher who should not only improve his players’ athletic skills, but also help them become better people. And he was a superb teacher whose lasting influence is reflected …

WORTH READING: The Olympic Creed and Oath

The Creed: The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. “The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.” The Oath: In the name of all the competitors I promise that we shall …

OBSERVATION: John Wooden on Discipline

Even if there is a price to be paid, don’t be afraid to use appropriate discipline.  It may hurt in the short term, but it will pay dividends in the future.  I believe one of the big lessons of sports for dedicated individuals and teams is that it shows us how hard work, and I mean hard work, does pay …