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Senior: 11 & 12: Unit 3: Access & Equity in Sport

Possible Ethical Dilemmas in GPS Sport (some suggestions)

Prohibited Use of Drugs

  • Performance-enhancing drugs and supplements
  • Illicit drugs 
    • Illegal drugs - these fall into 3 main categories: stimulants (amphetamines, cocaine), depressants (opiates including heroin) and hallucinogens (LSD, Magic Mushrooms). Cannibis is a stimulant, a depressant AND a hallucinogen.
    • Pharmaceutical drugs eg painkillers and tranquillisers when used for non- medical purposes;
    • Inhalants


  • Cheating (violating a fair and fairly enforced rule with intent to obtain an advantage)
    • Strategic or professional fouling eg basketball
    • Cheating without violating the rules eg cricket pitch curated to suit cricket team with excellent fast bowlers
    • Cheating via harassment or injury (eg racist or homophobic taunts, or sledging in cricket, gouging  / stomping in rugby)
    • Illegally altering the condition of playing equipment eg ball tampering in cricket
  • Gambling or match-fixing
  • Coaches favouring some team members for various reasons
  • Bullying by other team members or coaching staff
  • Poor behaviour of spectators eg parents
  • Biased or poor refereeing
  • Administrative decisions eg sports scholarships for senior teams, team-stacking or only fielding elite-level teams and ignoring the less able

Inclusivity / Diversity

  • Selection of teams which may exclude on the basis of race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, religion

How to Make Ethical Decisions

The most common psychology-based principles for ethical decision-making involve such elements as

  • Do no harm 
  • Help others
  • Respect and promote autonomy
  • Treat others fairly and equitably
  • Be trustworthy
  • Respect dignity

From Psychology: Ethical Issues in Sport

Also, there are 4 dilemmas:

  • Good for the unit versus good for the whole
  • Good for the short-term versus good for the long-term
  • Truth versus loyalty
  • Justice versus mercy

How to solve these ethical dilemmas:

  1. By adopting 'AND':
  • Good for the unit AND good for the whole
  • Good for the long-term AND good for the short-term
  • Truth AND Loyalty
  • Justice AND Mercy

          ​2. Think about outcomes

  • Ends-based: Select the option that generates the most good for the most people
  • Rule-based: Choose as if you're creating a universal standard - the one you want others to follow
  • Care-based: Choose as if you were the one most affected by your decision

          3. Keep the group committed to the decision

​​From How to Solve Ethical Decisions in a Way That Work For Everyone 

The Conversation Articles

The Conversation

The Conversation is an independent source of news and analysis that uses content sourced from the academic and research community.

Ethical Decision-Making Framework


From: Dr Paul Oliver: Play By the Rules

Useful Speeches

What are the Elements of Fair Play?

The Elements of Fair Play (From Fair Play International)
Fair competition
Team spirit
Sport without doping
Respect for written and unwritten rules:

  • Integrity
  • Solidarity
  • Tolerance
  • Care
  • Excellence
  • Joy


The ENTIRE collection of resources provided by the BBC Library can be searched on ONE single, powerful search platform, which retrieves print books, eBooks, database articles and websites. Click HERE for assistance.

Useful Databases


Useful Articles and Reports


The following free ebook articles have kindly been made available by courtesy of Gale publishers during the school closure period 2020 from their ebook 'Philosophy: Sports'.

The Ethics of Performance Enhancement

The Ethics of Sportsmanship

Athletes as Role Models - Sports as Social Laboratories

Doping in Sport

Seb Coe: The fight against doping is a war of attrition — but we can win it

Evening Standard, 12 September, 2017
As testing improves, athletes and national federations also have a role to play in keeping sport clean.

TED Talk: The Ultimate Expression of Fairness

Corruption in sport is a multibillion dollar industry that demeans the people who choose to stay clean and play fair.

From his vantage point of CEO of the International Centre for Sports Security (ICSS), Michael Hershmann contemplates the role of sport from refugee camps to the Olympic games. He advocates getting back to the spirit of sport by teaching children fair-play and integrity at grass roots level.

Norms in Sports

This website states that norms in sports ethics include these elements:

  • Athletes are dedicated to the game - they have an unwavering commitment and will make all necessary sacrifices.
  • Athletes strive to be distinguished - they seek perfection, to constantly improve performance, and they try to win.
  • Athletes mostly accept risks - they will play through pain.
  • Athletes don't accept any obstacles that could block their pursuit of success, even if the odds are againt them.

These norms can push against ethical behaviour.

From Berkeley Centre: Norms in Sport - Athletes and Human Dignity

ACHPER Ethical Website

ACHPER Ethical Website: Tackling the Investigation - 

By Rob Sweeper from Gregory Terrace school 2019.

Ethical Decision-Making Elements


In its simplest form,  Ethics is the study of what makes a particular action in a particular situation the right thing to do (Physiopedia). Ethical decision-making involves the following:

Values - These are the things we believe are important in the way we live or work eg Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Loyalty.

Principles - Fundamental truths that help us work out what's right and wrong - things you've learned throughout your life.

Purpose - What is your purpose in becoming involved in sport? Why did you get involved? Fun / Social involvement / Health / Building character and self-esteem / Glory / Money? Understanding your purpose helps you understand behaviours and choices people make within their ethical decisions.

Morals - Things you're taught (by religion / parents / wider community beliefs) eg not cheating, respecting others, 'doing unto others as you would have them do unto you' etc. Morals are what guide you in the right thing to do.

From: Play By the Rules Webinar

Useful Websites

Australian Institute of Sport

Clearninghouse for Sport (Australia)

Play by the Rules

Fair Play International

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, Santa Clara University (USA)
This website has articles related to ethics in sports. Here are a few:

Play by the Rules  (Australia)

The Ethics Centre (Australia)
An Australian non-profit organisation that focuses on ethics and everyday life. There are a number of articles and videos related to ethics and sport

Useful eBooks


Sports integrity: Helping you know and manage the risks The Research Synopsis on Safe, Fair and Inclusive Sport was developed by Dr Paul Oliver for the 2019 Theory of Change work with Play by the Rules. In contains a summary of research around safe, fair and inclusive sport with full references. 

Fair play and integrity in sport Australians love playing and watching their sport. In our society, elite sportspeople are viewed as role models, however, an increasing incidence of sporting scandals is compromising sporting values and the spirit of competition, spurred on by commercial pressures to win at all costs. How should we prepare young Australians to make well-informed decisions in regard to enjoying and playing sport in a world seemingly rife with corruption, gambling, political power plays and poor sportsmanship? This book highlights the principles of fairness and integrity in sport and investigates the nature and extent of corruption and cheating in Australian and international sports. The book also tackles a number of concerns in relation to abuse and discrimination. How can elite athletes, players and sporting organisations play by the rules, and ensure we all have a sporting chance? 

Cover ArtPractical Ethics in Sport Management - This is an expensive ebook, so please have a look! Use your BBC student number to access.

Leaders and managers throughout the sporting world face many ethical challenges on a daily basis. Should an athletic director chastise an unruly but influential supporter? What factors should affect an athlete's eligibility? Is competitiveness acceptable in youth sports? This text shows aspiring sports management professionals how to identify the moral issues in sports and develop principle-centered leadership practices to lead with justice, honesty, and beneficence. Among the issues addressed are the conflict between sportsmanship and gamesmanship, violence in sports, racial and gender equity, performance-enhancing drugs, academics, and commercialization. Throughout, specific examples from real-world sports situations and reflective questions encourage students to think critically.

Cover ArtSports Ethics for Sports Management Professionals 

Publication Date: 2019

This is a also an expensive ebook, so please use! Needs your BBC student number for access. Note that the licensing only allows 3 users at the one time, so please wait if you can't get in.

Provides students with the necessary tools to make ethical decisions in the sports management field. It presents several ethical models that the sports management professional can use as a guide to making ethical decisions. The text contains numerous case studies which allow students to apply the ethical decision-making process to a sports-related ethical dispute.

Scanned Book Chapters

 Ethics in sport - Sport & Society pp. 52-56 

 Paradise of sport - Sporting values in a professional age (p.202-204)

The Report Writing Genre

Note that you need the following in your Report:

Title Page (not part of main report, so not numbered)

Table of Contents (not part of main report, so not numbered)

  1. Introduction
  2. Conclusion
  3. List of References

Note that the 'how to' guide below was originally for Year 8s but the principle remains the same for any report. Before you begin, add 'Introduction', 'Conclusion' and 'List of References' on separate pages of your report.