Well now that the 2010 NCAA Division 1 football season is behind us I feel compelled to blather about the principal of cheating. I am of the generation that espouses the little couplet “ Cheaters never win.”
Well, I have to take somewhat of a “ what the heck ?? “ position on this. All through my life I have always been of the position that I will play honestly even if it means losing. All the while I sat back and watched those who were ill prepared for the test, devise a way to cheat and succeed.
We have watched the interplay between the handlers of Cameron Newtron at Auburn University and the NCAA this season. There was a pretty solid case and evidence presented that led most of us to the conclusion that ole Cam and his Pappy, the preacher man, stepped over the line. What did this cost Cameron? Nothing. Unless you have been under a rock in the forest you know that he won the Heisman and led his team to the national championship. His Daddy tried to peddle him to Ole Miss for $80k and it is presumed that Auburn out bid Ole Miss.
I remember back in the day when my Alabama Crimson Tide won a national championship under Gene Stallings. Lo and behold the football program was placed on serious probation thereafter for recruiting violations on a player out of Tennessee. The sanctions imposed by the NCAA blasted ‘Bama out of the water for 10-plus years. They have only recently returned to national prominence.
I used to lobby the legislatures in three southern states. One of my allies was the dean of a pretty prominent science program at a well known university. I supported him with numerous grants, honorariums, etc. and he helped me on a major issue I had before the legislature. One of his associate deans called me and asked to meet with me. I did so and found out that this “friend” I had fostered had recently taken a large pay out to take the polar opposite position on this issue with my competition. He stabbed me in the heart. I successfully rallied my other support and beat him and the reptilian competition in the end. However, this cheater was recently in the news for obtaining a heavy duty major position with another university. I keep waiting for him to get caught but he continues to win over the 20 year interim since this experience.
I used to be heavily involved in Little League baseball. I found that other coaches flat out cheated to load their teams and recruit out of boundary players. They won all their games and went on to compete at the state level and to this day have never been caught.
I have known people in all walks of life who cheat on their wives. They never get caught and they live seemingly pristine and happy lives with their unsuspecting families.
I had people to whom I reported in business and other venues who ignored their wedding vows. In business I always used a common logic that hit people in the midst of their mindset. They would extol the person to whom we mutually reported as a stalwart good guy. They were ready to believe that in the inner circles of corporate life that this person always had our backs. I always said: “ I and you know that this person cheats on his wife. If he does not live by the sacred vows he took in front of witnesses and betrays his life partner who has given him children, just how likely is he to stand up for you and I ?” That always caught the listener off guard and I never got an argument returned.
Cheating is a common matter. I see it constantly in the current world in which I make a living. There are people at all levels who bend and/or break the rules to bring the business advantage to themselves. They do not care about you and I, only themselves.
We might therefore conclude that cheating is a symptom of a very serious illness called selfishness.
I always liked the following poem:
When you get where you want in your struggle for self
and the world makes you king for the day.
Go to the mirror and look at yourself and
See what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your father or mother or wife,
Upon you whose judgement must pass.
The person whose opinion matters most in this life,
Is the one looking back out from the glass.
You may be like Jack Horner,
And chistle a plum.
And think you’re a wonderful guy.
But the man in the mirror says you’re a bum.
If you can’t look him square in the eye.
He’s the one you must please, forget all the rest
For he’s with you clear to the end.
You have passed the most dangerous and difficult task,
If the man in the glass is your friend.
Now you may fool the world,
Down the pathway of years,
Getting pats on the back as you pass.
But the final reward is heart ache and tears,
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.