Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-11-15

The Samford University Ethics Bowl team has qualified for the national tournament on the basis of its strong showing at a regional tournament held Saturday, Nov. 13.

The Samford team posted a 2-1 record after three matches to finish fifth at the competition in St. Petersburg, Fla.  Their placement and overall performance merited them qualification for the national event, to be held March 3 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Team members are junior Aaron Carr and sophomores Wes Spears, Jordan Ross, Josh Brandl, Evan Elmore, Steven Thomas and Garrett Brown. All are enrolled in Samford’s University Fellows honors program.

The team is sponsored by University Fellows director Dr. Chris Metress. Coaches are communication studies professor Dr. Mike Janas and ethics professor Dr. Wilton Bunch.

In placing fifth, the team finished ahead of such schools as Georgia State, Florida State, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Florida and the University of Richmond. Their one loss was to Eckerd College, which went on to win the regional event.

“This is quite an accomplishment,” Metress said of the team’s ranking, noting that this is only the second year for Samford to field an Ethics Bowl team.

“Also, the Southeast region is considered one of the strongest regions in the nation,” he said.

According to Bunch, Ethics Bowl teams debate previously unknown questions on cases that are issued to them for study before the competition. Team members then appeal to ethical principles to support their position on each case and challenge the competitor’s position.

Cases deal with such topics as California’s proposed legislation to prohibit spanking of children younger than age 3; and automatic citizenship for children born in the U.S., regardless of the parents’ citizenship status.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.