QEP Lecture Series features Willis speaking on performance enhancement in elite sports

QEP Lecture Series features Willis speaking on performance enhancement in elite sports
Lauren Willis discusses whether using performance enhancements is an ethical practice in elite sports. (CU Photo by Ariel Emberton)

By Ariel C. Emberton, student news writer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Lauren Willis, assistant professor of human performance at Campbellsville University, spoke at one of CU’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) Lecture Series Nov. 13 on “Case for Legalizing Performance Enhancement in Elite Sports.”

Her speech focused on why athletes in elite sports, such as football and basketball, choose to use performance enhancements and whether it is an ethical practice.

Willis is one of several faculty members participating in the faculty lecture series.

“This is another advancement in sports that is on the horizon,” Willis said. The lecture included topics such as tech advancement in sport history, usage in the 19th century Olympics and a 1928 ruling against enhancement usage.

Willis talked about how people who use the enhancements often go undetected because only 10 to 15 percent of elite athletes are tested a year. Those who do get discovered are often given a fine, slapped on the wrist and sent on their way. There is no accountability and athletes are willing to pay the fine and move on.

“The policy is broken because they are focused on whether or not they are using instead of if it is harming their liver,” Willis said.

Arguments against usage were that it would create an unfair advantage for those who are using versus those who are not. It is also argued that enhancements would create an unleveled playing field and compromise the sport.

When the opposing side was argued, Willis said the benefits of enhancement would include more excitement during games, more money would be made, athletes are less likely to cheat and it would close the performance gap. Women who use enhancements might be able to dunk and make half court shots like men do, according to Willis.

Following Willis’ presentation, a group discussion took place where those in attendance were given the opportunity to share their thoughts. Each table looked at the facts of the case, the options, the consequences for using and they made a choice as if they would choose to use the enhancements or not.

Students were asked to share their thoughts and Willis said that even though she does not agree with performance enhancers, she feels they will soon be making their way into elite sports.

Willis is a two-time graduate from CU. In 2012 she graduated with her Bachelor’s of Science in Health and Physical Education and in 2015 she graduated with a Master’s in Theology.

Willis began working as an enrollment counselor after graduating and is now serving as the head women’s golf coach and assistant professor of human performance.

Campbellsville University is a widely-acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 13,000 students offering more than 90 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The university has off-campus centers in Kentucky cities Louisville, Harrodsburg, Somerset, Hodgenville and Liberty with Kentucky instructional sites in Elizabethtown, Owensboro and Summersville, and nationally in Los Angeles, San Francisco Bay, Jacksonville, Fla. and Chicago. The university also has a full complement of online programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu.