Is cheating the norm?

Published 7:46 am Friday, December 2, 2005

By Staff
A new study co-authored by University of Notre Dame researcher F. Clark Power tells us that cheating and poor sportsmanship have become acceptable behavior in today's society.
Athletic associations and member schools have worked hard to promote good sportsmanship. However, the results of the study show much more effort is needed.
The study - conducted among 803 athletes ranging in age from 9 to 15, 189 parents and 61 youth coaches - found that one in 10 said they had cheated in some form. The study found 13 percent tried to injure an opponent, 31 percent had argued with an official, 13 percent made fun of a less-talented teammate and 27 percent admitted to being a poor sport.
Those percentages are not just contributed to the student/athlete, but to parents and coaches as well.
Poor sportsmanship is inexcusable at any level. However, student/athletes are still in their formative years and sometimes lack the maturity needed to make the right decision. However, coaches and parents who display poor sportsmanship have no excuse. These are the people we entrust to teach the values that lead to proper sportsmanship.
The study found among coaches, eight percent encouraged athletes to injure an opponent. It also found that 33 percent said they yelled at players for making mistakes, while 20 percent made fun of a team member because he wasn't as talented as some of the other athletes.
Parents weren't much better as 13 percent admitted yelling angrily at their child for making mistakes. Without a doubt, they also made fun of someone else's child. Even worse, four percent of the athletes studied said coaches hit, kicked or slapped them.
We hope these numbers are as alarming to you as they are to us. We need to be vigilant in making sportsmanship a priority not only on the court, but in the stands and on the sidelines as well.