The University of Louisville said Adidas has pledged $1 million to support a new program focused on ethical leadership.
The announcement of the program came last Thursday, a day after all three defendants in the college hoops corruption trial, Adidas executive James Gatto, former Adidas consultant Merl Code and former sports agent Christian Dawkins, were found guilty by a federal jury. The trial was the first of three trials connected to the scandal. Rick Pitino, Louisville’s famed coach, was fired last September as part of the probe.
According to a statement, The University of Louisville College of Business (COB) is partnering with the Athletics Department “to ensure ethical leadership in college athletics for years to come.”
The partnership is part of the COB’s new Project on Ethical Leadership Excellence which utilizes two decades of research to teach virtues-based leadership skills. With the help of faculty from the COB, the Athletics Department said it has already launched initiatives to develop and instill virtues such as integrity, service and learning into their policies and routines and has received training programs to empower leaders with the skills necessary to make these virtues a part of everyday experiences throughout the department.
“I have been fortunate to have had several good mentors throughout my business career who taught me how to be clear about expectations and make the right decisions, and I would like to help others,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Vince Tyra, who personally donated $100,000 to start the project. The UofL Athletics Department and Adidas have each pledged to donate $100,000 a year for 10 years to continue and expand the program for a total of $2.1 million that will be used for staff and program development.
“We expect this program to lay the groundwork to drive impactful leadership through clear expectations and a foundation of established values,” said Tyra. “We want UofL to be the standard-bearer of principled leadership in both athletics and business and hope that this educational program, under the direction of the College of Business, can benefit others. It will strive to aid individuals in developing the leadership knowledge and skills necessary to develop a culture of ethical excellence.”
UofL athletics department staff members have already started the training. Additionally, UofL will offer the training to athletics departments at other ACC schools.
“We intend to develop a formal academic center in the College of Business to focus on these skills and the teaching of these skills,” said COB Dean Todd Mooradian. “This is a terrific opportunity to build high-impact programming that can help individuals, leaders and organizations excel within and outside UofL. We expect to provide our programming to other universities as well as organizations in the corporate and non-profit arenas. We are especially pleased to be developing focused and impactful offerings for athletics administrators and coaches.”
The training is based on research in moral psychology, positive psychology, positive organizational scholarship and leadership. The COB will develop materials for education and instruction that can be purchased by any organization.
“The long-term goal of this project is to promote scientific inquiry into how character and leadership work and how they can be improved,” said Ryan Quinn, associate professor of management, who is leading the training. “We want this project to be inclusive of the whole university community. Faculty from disciplines including philosophy, education, law, sociology and urban and public affairs are already joining in the conversation.”