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Attached is a presentation about a six-step decision-making model. Read the attached information and use it and the information you have learned through your Ethical Lens Inventory to analyze the following situation:

You are going out to dinner with friends when you see three student-athletes from your school talking with someone who has been known to distribute PEDs.  Before you can call out to the student-athletes you see each of them give this person money and receive a bag of some sort.  You cannot tell what’s inside the bags, and everyone disperses before you have a chance to do or say anything.  You don’t think the student-athletes saw you so you head into the restaurant. 

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Based on your current or chosen career path, you are employed at the school as one of the following: athletic trainer, sports information director, head coach, strength and conditioning coach, compliance director, or athletic director.  

The first paragraph of your response should describe your position at the school, and the size, and level (collegiate, high school, etc.) of the school. Be creative when naming the institution, and people involved! 🙂

Use the decision-making model outlined in the attachment, along with the knowledge you’ve gained through the Ethical Lens Inventory, to provide an analysis and summation of the situation. You need to provide at least five objectives and criteria (step two) and five alternatives (step three).  What you present should be broken down into the six steps as defined as opposed to presenting it in a narrative format. Be sure to clearly present your preferred decision and how you plan to implement that decision.




SPMT 620 Leadership and Management in Sport

Sherisa Livingston

Dr. Pamela Wojnar

American Public University System

August 26, 2018


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I am the head volleyball coach at the University of South Carolina, Livingston located in Springfield, South Carolina. USC, Livingston was founded in 1928 as a women’s school under the name Livingston State Female College. The university has a very rich and diverse history as many of its charter students served as nurses or medics during WWII. After declining an invitation to merge with Upstate University, USC Livingston decided to open its doors to men in 1985, although before this time the university had accepted men solely as graduate students. USC Livingston is a private not-for-profit school with a total undergraduate enrollment of 5,978, with a gender distribution of 52 percent female students and 48 percent male students. USC Livingston competes at the NCAA Division 3 level, in the Intercollegiate Athletic Association. The Mastodons or ‘Dons as they are affectionately known have 12 Varsity sports, comprised of 8 women’s teams and 4 men’s teams with plans to expand the men’s programs to 8 total sports within the next 2 years. The women’s teams include softball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, basketball, track & field, field hockey,  and gymnastics. The men’s teams include soccer, tennis, basketball, and track & field.

For this situation I will be using the DECIDE model which is an acronym of 6 particular activities needed in the decision-making process: (1) D = define the problem, (2) E = establish the criteria, (3) C = consider all the alternatives, (4) I = identify the best alternative, (5) D = develop and implement a plan of action, and (6) E = evaluate and monitor the solution and feedback when necessary (Guo, 2008). This is a model that can be used when making decisions and can lead to more effective decisions.




  1. Classify or define the problem or opportunity (D)
  • While out with friends I noticed three of the USC Livingston men’s soccer student athletes with a young man in his mid to late twenties that I did not at first recognize. When the young man stepped closer to the student-athletes I recognized him as a former soccer student-athlete and someone who had been kicked out of USC Livingston for violation of the athletic, university, and NCAA drug policy and someone who had been known to distribute Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
  • Before I could step forward and call out to the student- athletes I saw each of them in turn give this former student-athlete money and receive a small brown bag in return. While I could not tell what was in the bags, given this young man’s history I felt it could not be something good. Before I could do more than step in their direction the crowd of four dispersed, and I did not think the student-athletes saw me, so I turned back and headed into the restaurant.
  • These are not student-athletes who play for me, so I am not aware of their character, but I am aware of their importance to their team, and the impact this situation could have on their team, the athletic department and the university.
  • Jumping to the wrong conclusion could also be a potential problem.
  1. Establish objectives and criteria (clarify) (E)
  • Given that I did not see what was in the bag and only know that the person these young men was meeting with had distributed PEDs in the past I would need to collect some pertinent information before making a decision. I would need to decide what information is needed, the best sources of information, and how to get it.
  • What kind of decision is this? In this situation the decision would be a naturalistic one meaning a decision that exists in a framework that shows how people make decisions and perform cognitively complex functions in demanding, real-world situations (Klein, 2008). Although PEDs are not something most coaches deal with on a daily basis making decisions with lots of gray area are.
  • Another problem is that some information may be available in one moment but not available in the next, i.e. if indeed there were PEDs in the bag they could have been consumed or destroyed before verifying their existence. The student-athletes were on the same team and could be friends meeting for any number of reasons. For all I know there could have been girl scout cookies in the bags.
  • Speak with my group so that when I do write down what I saw I can say if anyone else saw the same thing.
  • Is this my decision to make solely on how to handle it?
  • Is this a problem that has prevalent in our athletic department?


  • Consider all creative and innovative alternatives (C)
  • “Sixty percent (of good problem-solving) is the ability to anticipate; 40 percent . . . is the ability to improvise, to reject a preconceived idea . . . , and to rule by action instead of acting by rules” (Radaskiewicz McNeely, 2014). This is where the everything should be laid out and weighed in order of importance and impact.
  • In this situation there are a few possible paths of action, or alternatives that can be taken. With a situation that has so much gray area additional information and time is needed to construct appropriate alternatives to the situation. I should write down what I know in order to be clear when explaining.
  • Speak with the student-athlete’s coach about the situation to see his opinion on how to proceed. Remember to put myself in his position if another coach was coming to me about this type of issue with one of my athletes.
  • Speak to athletic director about the situation and see if he will recommend having the athletes brought in for drug testing.
  • Speak with the student athletes directly: This is the least desirable solution as these are not my players and I may be seen as overstepping by doing so by their coach, the athletic director and upper administration.
  • Speak with the young man who was giving the bag to the student-athletes: also not very desirable because what reason would he have to tell me what they were doing and why?
  • Speak with others in the athletic department to see if they have heard anything related to this issue: also not desirable because that would be involving more people than necessary in this situation.
  1. Identify the best alternatives and select the most feasible (I)
  • How will this situation impact the soccer team, athletic department, and university as a whole?
  • Legality and permissibility of any decision made under laws and governing bodies: government law, NCAA, University policy, athletic policy.
  • Ethics of any alternative chosen. Does the solution make sense for the problem and is it ethical on top of that?


  1. Develop and implement a plan of action (D)
    • Postponing decision making will cause a loss of control over the situation or for the situation to escalate further if there were PEDs in the bag.
    • If the NCAA has to step in sanctions could be far worse than if the situation is handled internally first.
    • Decide how best to approach the coach of the young men.
    • Review my notes and memory of the situation so I have all facts that I know and remember of the situation.
    • Decide how to proceed if the coach wants to take the situation to the athletic director.


  1. Evaluate the decision (E)
    • Here is where we would put the decision to work.
    • “What if?”: What if the student-athletes had not given the young man money for the bags? What if there were girl scout cookies in the bag and not PEDs? Is this a repeat issue with these student-athletes or is this the first instance? Are there similar situations involving this team or student-athletes as a whole?
    • What are the consequences of this decision to all involved?
    • Is it possible to protect the rights of those involved (or my own character) while still maximizing the overall good for all of the stakeholders?
    • My preferred decision is to speak with the student-athletes’ coach because I do not know what was in the bag and have no proof but only suspicions as to what it contained. Going to the to speak with the athletic director first and hoping that he speaks with their coach about the situation or bringing the student-athletes in for a drug test could net negative decisions and consequences all around. This decision could lead to a strain on my personal and professional relationship with the track and field coach.

In most situations I prefer to go with my gut and make a decision based on what feels right at the time. Most times this ends up being the right decision but in cases like this I have to see down and really use other criteria like the D.E.C.I.D.E. model to rational decision making whenever possible. When it is a decision that is far reaching and touches so many I find that the rational approach to decision making is your best course of action. Not only does it help to establish facts rather than emotions the model helps to make decisions based on a person’s values and goals rather than gut feelings or emotions.



Guo, K. (2008). DECIDE: a decision-making model for more effective decision making by health care managers. The Health Care Manager27(2), 118-127. doi: 10.1097/01.hcm.0000285046.27290.90

Klein, G. (2008). Naturalistic Decision Making. Human Factors50(3), 458. doi: 10.1518/001872008X288385

Radaskiewicz McNeely, A. (2014). 11 essentials of effective writing (p. 215). Independence, Ky.:   Heinle & Heinle.

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