Does being a college athlete lead to low morals?

Ms. Stoll ‘s research, in which she has measured the moral-reasoning abilities of more than 70,000 college athletes, has found that the competitive sports environment leads to significantly lower moral reasoning skills than the general student population. Her reasoning is based upon a history of athletics from early childhood in which opponents are viewed as obstacles instead of honorable individuals, a sense of entitlement, and not facing consequences for poor behavior. Furthermore, according to Ms. Stoll, individual sports have demonstrated much better moral-reasoning skills than team sports, primarily because “team-sport athletes do not make as many decisions during games.”

While the curriculum developed by Ms. Stoll may not be the panacea for improved moral reasoning for all athletes, Mark Richt, the football coach for the University of Georgia, has stated that the character training curriculum has helped his team. Three U. of Georgia football players have been arrested in the past year for driving under the influence, theft, and giving false information to the police. Yet, the team is in its fourth year of the curriculum, and Mr. Richt reported to the Chronicle that it has helped most of the players make the right decisions off the field.