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Sex, Drugs, and Cheating In Sports: Is Money At The Heart Of the Problem?


With much fanfare and publicity, a Minnesota high school hockey coach recently posted his 500th career win. What the articles about achieving the milestone failed to mention was that he is alleged to have racked up all those wins with the help of players he had recruited, a practice which is prohibited at the high school level in Minnesota.  It would seem, however, that only winning matters to most people.

The list of colleges that have engaged in serious violations of NCAA rules is a long one, Penn State being only the most recent. Likewise long is the list of college and youth swimming coaches who have either been alleged to, or have been convicted, of sexually abusing athletes on their teams.  Like some swim coaches, there are still wrestling coaches who force wrestlers into engaging in weight loss practices to compete at weights which put their health at risk, all in the name of winning. The list goes on and on.

Alcohol abuse and the use of performance enhancing drugs by high school and college athletes is rampant, with most coaches looking the other way (a notable exception occurred this past fall at the University of North Dakota, which suspended several members of its hockey team for drinking violations).  Athletes on Boston University men's hockey team, plagued by recent sexual assault allegations, were found by a report to live in a climate of "sexual entitlement."  A cheating scandal at Harvard University resulted in one-year suspensions for as many as 100 students, with as many as half varsity athletes, including players from the men's baseball, football and basketball team, most notably, senior co-captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, who lead the team to their first-ever Ivy League title and first NCAA tournament appearance since 1946. 

What the heck is going on with our young people, and the adults in charge? 

Money makes the world go around 

I believe our entertainment-oriented society, which focuses on winning at all costs, is the root of the problem, which is, in turn, driven by money.  Money is responsible for the changing alignment of Division 1 college hockey programs.  I suspect the same is true in other sports. Money, money, money. 

What about the athletes? Who is looking out for their educations, their health and their welfare as they are earning tens of millions for their schools or professional teams?   

Lance Armstrong and Roger Clemens lied for years about their use of performance-enhancing drugs, which helped them cheat their way to Tour de France titles and Cy Young awards, while earn millions of dollars.

Parents of elite high school hockey players in Minnesota see nothing wrong in lying about where they live so their kids can play on the "best" teams for the "best" coaches."  Coaches lie when they recruit players.

What we need is leadership and integrity to return to sports. Today, it is sadly lacking.  



Well, this is happening

Well, this is happening since a long time in sports. Taking steroids for better performance in a game and taking bribe for winning or loosing game is a very common today. I am not here to blame any sport or any athlete but I have a question why this situation occurs? It has a simple answer is that everyone want to stay in a game, stay in a competition and want to win each and every game. Many athlete have fear of loosing the game and therefore to enhance their performance they consumes steroids. No one is like a Lance Armstrong who will accept their mistake. He accepted his mistake after many years.

Cheating is part of life and

Cheating is part of life and is openly done in competitive fields because there people just want to win and be the best and don't think what is right or wrong. So it's very common now a days. 


This is where the adults

This is where the adults have to be in charge. But also this is where adult athletes have to have some superior person in their life. Elite athletes by nature are self driven and typically "in charge" of their own careers. They pay people to manage their money, negotiate contracts, etc. Should they pay someone to be a "moral" coach?
Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were already elite baseball players, at the top of their game. But it wasn't enough. When their skills started erroding, they wanted to control it, they had a way to try to stay on top, and the temptation was too high.
While I would say money may have something to do with it, I think it's bigger than that. It's the fame, fortune and the fear of failure that makes these people try to freeze time. Athletes have to understand that their careers are so, so short. They prepare their whole life to be the best, but they don't train how to cope with the end of their careers. Alot different than just about any other career.

Sports is more than getting what you want for yourself

The 1951 University of San Francisco Dons football team -- "the best team you never heard of -- were invited to play in the 1952 Orange Bowl game, but only if the team's two African-American members did not participate. The young men on the USF team refused the invitation. And in so doing, they showed the whole world -- back then and even now -- that honor, integrity, and supporting teammates are more important in sports than winning and being famous.

When I discovered the story of the '51 Dons I was inspired to write a book for young people, called Ahead of Their Time, so kids, parents, and everyone else could be reminded that sports participation means a lot more than getting whatever you can for yourself. The title Ahead of Their Time highlights the team's heroic stand against racism years before the Freedom Rides and other activities in the Civil Rights Movement.

Free PDF download


Eric Golanty, Ph.D.