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Deviance in Sport
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The media depiction of deviant athletes is that of weak character and a lack of discipline. These same athletes are viewed as opportunistic (£'s) and too focused on winning.

The possibility that deviance is related to the culture and organization of sports or to social dynamics is rarely acknowledged.

Deviance on the court/field

Deviance on the field may not be as big of a problem as it was in the past. Blaming tv and media may not be warranted as these things were not as prevalent in the past.

Historically, deviance on the field or sport setting has taken shape in cheating, gambling, shaving points, throwing games or matches, engaging in unsportsman-like conduct, fighting, taking performance enhancing drugs and finding ways to avoid rules.

More rules and regulations resulting in punishment for deviant behavior

Athletes admit to stretching the rules and establishing their own on the field norms

  • “good fouls” and “cheating in ways you can get away with” are expected
  • More prevalent at high levels of performance
  • More prevalent for men than for women

Deviance off the court/field

Media reports of off court deviant behaviour are common

Delinquency rates: Rates for athletes are almost always lower than for other students with similar backgrounds, however, nothing certain can be stated

Academic cheating:

  • Differences between the academic actions of varsity athletes and those of other groups have not been documented enough to make definite conclusions
  • Some would say that athletes have more to lose than other students
  • Cheating by handing in a paper written by a tutor vs. turning a paper written by a fellow pupil

 Alcohol use and binge drinking:

  • Data collected in the early and mid 90’s indicate that male and female college athletes drink more than other students
  • Relationship with overconformity to the sport ethic “slamming drinks and getting drunk with fellow athletes may not be different from playing with pain to meet the expectations of teammates”
  • Participation in sport may deter younger children (12-17 yrs. Old) from using alcohol

Crime Rates:

  • Mixed findings that sport goes hand in hand with crime rates
  • Athlete arrest rates are seldom compared with arrest rates of the normal population
  • Further research is needed on deviance both on and off of the field
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