Big Surprise. College Athletes With Abusive Coaches Cheat

It should probably come as no surprise.  But college athletes who have abusive coaches, cheat.

Newswise.com reports that college athletes who have abusive coaches are more willing to cheat in order to win than players with more ethical coaches, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association and based on surveys from almost 20,000 student athletes at more than 600 colleges across the country.

The study did not determine whether abusive coaches actively encouraged or permitted cheating by their teams, but there was a correlation between abusive coaches and an increased willingness by players to cheat in order to win. 

“Ethical behavior of coaches is always in the spotlight,” the Web site quotes lead researcher Mariya Yukhymenko, PhD, a visiting research associate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. "Our study found several negative effects related to abusive coaches, including a willingness by players to cheat to win games."

Also not surprising?  Men’s teams were much more willing to cheat than women’s teams, according to the study, and men’s football, basketball and baseball teams reported the highest willingness to cheat at large universities in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where players are often under intense pressure to win.

“Many student athletes in Division I schools are looking to go into professional sports after graduation,” Yukhymenko said. “They are striving to do well so that they will be noticed, and they really want to score more points and bring victories to their teams.”

So can you really blame them?  How did we get to a society where a college athlete's grades don't matter -- or are pumped up artificially by either taking really easy classes or having a professor go along with better grading?

I guess it's because I'm not much of a sports fan but it seems that if you're a highly-recognized or -prized enough athlete, you can get away with just about anything, including rape, these days.

But back to cheating.

Abusive behavior by college coaches has been a growing concern, following several high-profile incidents of coaches being fired or sued by players for alleged abusive behavior, including screaming insults, shoving or kicking athletes, newswise notes.

Players who said they had abusive coaches also were more likely to report that their coaches didn’t create an inclusive team environment and that both their coaches and teammates were less respectful of people from other racial or ethnic groups and less accepting of differing viewpoints and cultures, according to the study.

“Coaches are role models for their athletes,” Yukhymenko said. “The way they behave is observed by student athletes and is often repeated.”

The perceived ethical climate at the colleges had surprisingly strong correlations with whether athletes were willing to cheat, Yukhymenko said. Athletes were less willing to cheat if they reported that their school strongly valued academic honesty and encouraged student athletes to be positive role models and practice good sportsmanship, the study found. 



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