There is a distinct irony in dozens of students in a class full of athletes cheating in a course on sports ethics.
That’s the situation at Dartmouth College, where 64 students were accused of cheating in a course called “Sports, Ethics, and Religion.” Students allegedly used wireless handheld clickers that were registered to absent students to make it seem like their missing peers were answering questions in class.
Attendance and participation make up 15% of a student’s grade in the course, student newspaper The Dartmouth reported in November.
The local Valley News newspaper reports that Dartmouth has suspended “most” of the accused students for a semester.
Dartmouth religion professor Randall Balmer has said he initially designed the course to help student-athletes who may have trouble keeping up with the workload at the Ivy League college. Close to 70% of the 272 students enrolled in “Sports, Ethics, and Religion” last semester were Dartmouth varsity athletes, The Dartmouth reports, including more than half of the football, men’s hockey, and men’s basketball teams.
Balmer — who also taught the course — lectured on topics such as fanatical fans, the origins of various sports, and “muscular Christianity.” Students were responsible for mid-term and final exams, as well as writing a five- to seven-page book review for their final paper.
Here’s the course description included in the syllabus:
A survey of the origins and development of the culture of athletic competition in America, with roots in the Greek athletic
ideal and in the “Muscular Christianity” movement of nineteenth-century England. We’ll examine the peculiar (religious?) passion that Americans invest in sports as well as the role that sports has played as an engine for social change. We look, finally, at some of the ethical issues surrounding organised sports.
The class also included three debates that all enrolled students participated in — on college athlete compensation, politically correct mascots, and sports venues funded by taxpayers.
A Dartmouth spokesperson sent Business Insider the following statement:
The Academic Honour Principle is a foundational element of a Dartmouth education. The integrity and excellence of that experience require trust between our faculty and students. For this reason we treat all academic honour code violations as major misconduct. The actions of a group of students for possible violations of the honour principle relating to misrepresentation of class attendance and participation are under judicial review.
Check out the full syllabus below, via The Dartmouth:
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