This week's edition of Lite Sports focuses on a heavy case of ethics, specifically for those of us with official votes on one of the biggest awards in sports.

As the 2017 college football season winds down, the Heisman Trophy is up for grabs. Or it's already sewn up, depending on your point of view.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has the most impressive stats, and would be an easy winner, at least based on the FIRST part of the award's creed:

The Heisman Memorial Trophy annually recognizes the outstanding college football player whose performance best exhibits the pursuit of excellence with integrity.

It's that final phrase where Mayfield (and at least one Heisman voter) has issues. The Sooners' QB was arrested this past off-season on a drunk and disorderly charge, then he was benched for his final regular season start after an incident involving profanity and a crotch-grab aimed at the opposition's fans.

For those of us granted the privilege of a vote, the "integrity" portion of the award's description presents an ethical conundrum.

Especially if the phrase "excellence with integrity" is an absolute. In that case, then Mayfield should be disqualified from consideration. Clearly, he did not achieve excellence with integrity.

You COULD interpret the phrase verbatim.

Of course, the phrase is NOT delineated as an absolute, so you're left to weigh the indiscretions committed by the candidate against the luster of his accomplishments--and then compare that with the rest of the field.

Most everyone falls short, except McKenzie Milton, who has produced remarkable numbers while quarterbacking the University of Central Florida (outside of the elite, so-called "Power 5" conferences) to an undefeated record with one more pre-Bowl game remaining.

These kinds of conflicting details can make the process...murky.

Voting for the 2013 Heisman was completed WHILE details emerged about rape allegations against former Florida State quarterback (and eventual Heisman winner) Jameis Winston. (Some of us may have remorse after passing on Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron in favor of Winston.)

The Heisman carries prestige and provides lots of potential income for the winner. In a 2014 post, ESPN's business analyst Darren Rovell estimated the Heisman Trophy's worth at a minimum of $800,000 over the course of a lifetime. Some winners parlay their fame into fortune, with autographs, shoe deals, appearances and speeches. That's why it's even more crucial for the voters to ensure they're choosing the right man.

How much do YOU think integrity should factor into voting for the Heisman Trophy?


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