Cheaters in sports are not new. In the wake of the most recent scandal in college basketball, the necessity and need for institutions like the NCAA have come into question. As LeBron James said recently, “the NCAA is corrupt, we know that.” Latest to earn the label of cheater is University of Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller. The FBI recorded him discussing a $100,000 payment for five-star recruit Deandre Ayton.
Here’s a look at the Top-10 Cheaters in Sports.
Cheater No. 10: Tom Brady
Some will argue that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time. The argument against the G.O.A.T. claim involves his record in Super Bowls (5-3), but also includes a cheating incident during the 2015 AFC Title game against the Indianapolis Colts. Known as “Deflategate,” this cheating scandal involved Brady’s deliberate use of under-inflated balls during the game. The incident led to a four-game suspension for Brady, as well as a $1 million fine for the New England Patriots and the forfeiture of two draft picks.
Cheater No. 9: The 1919 Chicago White Sox
The simmering resentment between the 1919 Chicago White Sox players and team owner Charles Cominsky led to one of the earliest fixing scandals in American professional sports. Eight players were accused of intentionally losing games during the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate. US courts acquitted the eight players, including the well-known ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson, during a public trial in 1921. All eight were given lifetime bans from professional baseball and are precluded from entering baseball’s Hall of Fame.
Cheater No. 8: Bill Belichick
Another New England Patriots employee finds his way on this list of the Top-10 Cheaters in Sports. Belichick’s involvement in illegally videotaping opponents during the 2007 season has since been dubbed “Spygate.” The cheating scandal, which involved the videotaping of opponents’ defensive coaching signals, resulted in the largest fine every levied at an NFL coach. The NFL fined Belichick $500,000 for his involvement in the scandal. The NFL also fined New England $250,000 and docked their first-round draft pick in 2008. Part of the controversy alleged the Patriots videotaped opponents as far back as the 2002 Super Bowl versus the St Louis Rams.
Cheater No. 7: Rick Pitino
With all of the unrest surrounding the most recent college basketball scandal, it’s easy to forget famed mens’ basketball coach Rick Pitino. Louisville fired their former head coach last month in the wake of an investigation of a “pay to play” controversy involving Pitino and a Adidas executive. Pitino lost his position at Louisville, and the NCAA forced the school vacate all mens’ basketball accomplishments from 2011 to 2015, including the 2013 National Championship and their appearance in the 2012 Final Four. This scandal is only the latest in Piton’s career. He was also connected to a sex-scandal involving escorts for recruits, as well as an attempted extortion of Pitino by a prostitute in 2009.
Cheater No. 6: Tim Donaghy
Donaghy worked as an NBA official for 13 seasons from 1994 to 2007. Donaghy resigned from his post in 2007 in the wake of an FBI investigation that alleged he was betting on games that he officiated. The investigation found Donaghy, during his final two seasons as an official, made specific calls to affect the point spreads in those games. Donaghy pleaded guilty and served an 11-month sentence in federal prison.
Cheater No. 5: Ben Johnson
The Olympics have been the setting of some of the most controversial cheating incidents in sports. One of the most infamous cheaters in Olympics history is Ben Johnson. The Canadian sprinter won the gold in 1988 in the men’s 100-meter dash, setting a new world record in the process. However, three days after the race, Johnson tested positive for steroids. He was stripped of the gold medal and world-record. In the subsequent years, Johnson attempted two comebacks after suspension, only to see both end in failed drug tests. The International Olympics Committee (IOC) banned Johnson for life from competition.
Cheater No. 4: Alex Rodriguez
One of the most notable periods in baseball history is the “Steroid Era.” While that time features several alleged cheaters, including Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, and Sammy Sosa, one of the few to caught using performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) was Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod’s name always swirled around the PEDs conversation, as early as 2007. But in 2013, A-Rod was punished as part of the Biogenesis scandal. Major League Baseball suspended A-Rod for a record-211 games, but he ultimately served a 162-game suspension, missing the entire 2014 season.
Cheater No. 3: Tonya Harding
The most infamous example of cheating might be Tonya Harding’s attack on fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan in 1994. Harding’s ex-husband orchestrated the attack on Kerrigan at the 1994 U.S. Championships. The intention was to break Kerrigan’s leg and prevent Harding’s competition from competing in the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The botched attack did not keep Kerrigan from competing (she earned a Silver medal at Lillehammer). The IOC banned Harding for life as a result of the investigation. It remains one of the biggest scandals in American sports history.
Cheater No. 2: Marion Jones
The BALCO investigation wrapped up track-and-field Olympian Marion Jones despite mostly embroiling baseball players in the early 2000s. Jones won three gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. But in 2007 after years of denial, Jones admitted to using designer steroids during her Olympic run. Her admission included lying to federal agents investigating BALCO, and as a result, Jones spent six months in federal prison. Jones relinquished the five medals she won in Sydney. After prison, she went on to play for two years in the WNBA.
Cheater No. 1: Lance Armstrong
Armstrong famously survived testicular cancer in the mid-1990s, but he’s perhaps the most infamous of cheaters in American professional sports. Armstrong’s record-breaking run of success at the Tour de France included seven consecutive championships between 1999 to 2005. Armstrong also won the bronze medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. In 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency found that Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his career. USADA named Armstrong the leader of the most sophisticated doping program cycling had ever seen. Armstrong was stripped of all his victories, including the seven Tour de France titles and the Olympic medal. He was banned for life from the sport and has since admitted all allegations against him were true.