List of sporting scandals

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This is a list of major sports scandals.

American football scandals[edit]

Association football scandals[edit]

Baseball scandals[edit]

A cartoon ran by various newspapers in 1920 after the breaking of the Black Sox Scandal

Boxing scandals[edit]

  • Suspension of boxing judges at the 2016 Summer Olympics[10]
  • Tampered handwraps controversy of 2009 resulting in the suspension of Antonio Margarito
  • Luis Resto is also a boxer who was caught tampering with his gloves. Resto removed the padding from his gloves and hardened his hand wraps with plaster. [11]

College sporting scandals[edit]

  • CCNY point shaving scandal – in 1951, more than 30 players at seven schools were implicated in a point shaving scheme that also had connections to organized crime. The scandal was most strongly linked to the City College of New York because several central figures had played on the school's 1949–50 team that won that season's NCAA Tournament and NIT.
  • Boston College basketball point shaving scandal in 1978–79
  • Southern Methodist University football scandal – in 1986, it was revealed that Southern Methodist University boosters gave football players thousands of dollars from a "slush fund" with the knowledge of university administrators. Along with a string of prior NCAA violations, this led the NCAA to level the "death penalty" on the school's football team.
  • University of Michigan basketball scandal – four players, most notably Chris Webber, were paid by a booster to launder money from his gambling operations. In some cases, the payments extended to their high school days.
  • University of Minnesota basketball scandal – the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported the day before the 1999 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament that an academic counseling staffer at the university publicly acknowledged doing coursework for many basketball players.
  • Baylor University basketball scandal – player Patrick Dennehy was murdered by teammate Carlton Dotson. Later, coach Dave Bliss instructed his players to lie to NCAA investigators that Dennehy dealt drugs. In the wake of these events, numerous violations of NCAA rules were discovered.
  • Duke lacrosse case – a stripper hired by members of the Duke University men's lacrosse team for an informal team party in 2006 falsely accused three players of rape.
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football scandal – over ten football players received improper benefits and committed academic fraud by turning in coursework prepared by tutors.
  • 2011 University of Miami athletics scandalYahoo! Sports broke a story in which former Miami booster Nevin Shapiro, currently imprisoned for running a Ponzi scheme, indicated he had provided massive amounts of improper benefits to Miami players and coaches, mostly in football, but also in men's basketball.
  • Penn State child sex abuse scandal – in November 2011, former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was arrested on 40 counts of sexually abusing eight boys over a 15-year period including incidents in Penn State's football facilities. In June 2012, Sandusky was convicted on 45 charges related to the scandal.
  • University of North Carolina academic-athletic scandal – in a follow-up to the UNC football scandal, new accusations of academic fraud arose in relation to the university's African and Afro-American Studies department and men's basketball program, men's football team, women's soccer and other sports as well. The Wainstein Report, an independent report commissioned by UNC, revealed academic fraud that occurred over at least 18 years involving thousands of students and student athletes. Allegedly, thousands of student athletes were directed by the UNC administration to take "sham" classes in order to maintain eligibility. UNC avoided major NCAA penalties, mainly because said sham classes had been offered to the entire student body.
  • 2015 University of Louisville basketball sex scandal – In 2015, Yahoo! Sports reported that a self-described former madam alleged that she had been paid several thousand dollars from 2010 to 2014 by men's basketball staffer Andre McGee for strip shows and sex parties for players and prospective recruits. The NCAA announced the results of its investigation in June 2017, announcing major sanctions that included a 10-year show-cause penalty for McGee and the potential loss of the team's 2013 national title. An appeal by Louisville failed, and in February 2018 the Cardinals became the first Division I basketball program to be stripped of a national championship.
  • Baylor University sexual assault scandal – in 2016, Baylor and its football program were rocked by the revelation that university officials failed to act on numerous alleged sexual and non-sexual assaults by football team members between 2012 and 2016, with one player convicted of felony sexual assault. A later lawsuit filed by a group of victims alleged that 31 football players committed 52 rapes between 2011 and 2014. In the wake of the scandal, head football coach Art Briles was fired, athletic director Ian McCaw resigned, and university president Ken Starr was first demoted and then resigned.
  • 2017–18 NCAA Division I men's basketball corruption scandal – An ongoing FBI investigation into corruption in NCAA men's basketball that has so far resulted in the arrest of 10 individuals, including college assistant coaches from Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State, and USC plus high-ranking executives of sports apparel giant Adidas. Other programs initially implicated in the scandal included Louisville, Miami (FL), and South Carolina. Louisville placed head coach Rick Pitino and athletic director Tom Jurich (the latter not directly involved in the scandal) on administrative leave, and soon fired both. Further revelations in February 2018 saw more than a dozen additional programs possibly implicated.

Cricket scandals[edit]

Doping scandals[edit]

Figure skating scandals[edit]

Golf scandals[edit]

  • Jane Blalock cheating controversy – one of the LPGA Tour's top players, Jane Blalock, was accused of illegally marking her golf ball on the green. She was suspended and fined by the tour, but Blalock in turn filed suit and won an injunction that allowed her to continue playing. Blalock eventually won her lawsuit and she and the LPGA reached an out-of-court settlement.
  • Vijay Singh, a former number one golfer in the world, was suspended from the PGA Tour for using deer antler spray, which violated the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy. Likewise in 1985, Vijay Singh was caught erasing his score on a hole and replacing it with a lower score after the scorecard had been signed. Once the rules officials confirmed the allegations, Singh was banned from the Asian Tour. To this day, Singh did not acknowledge that he cheated.[13]

Gymnastics scandals[edit]

Horse racing scandals[edit]

  • Horse murders – from 1975–1995, wealthy owners and trainers of show jumping horses conspired to electrocute and otherwise kill over-valued as well as under-performing animals in a 20-year-long scheme to defraud insurance companies. Crimes also committed during this equestrian sports scandal include extortion, mail fraud, animal cruelty and the murder of at least one human being.
  • Fine Cotton/Bold Personality ring-in – a 1984 betting scam in which the conspirators, which included some elite figures in Australian Thoroughbred racing, substituted the far more talented Bold Personality for Fine Cotton in a low-class race. The scheme was discovered immediately after the race and the investigation led to lifetime bans for six individuals and bans of more than a decade for at least two more.

Ice hockey scandals[edit]

Match-fixing scandals[edit]

  • In 2011 a snooker player by the name of John Higgins was accused of accepting bribery in order to lose frames purposefully. However, Higgins decided to deny any accusations of match-fixing and bribery, however, he was found guilty of accepting bribery and there was no evidence for him match-fixing. "World number one John Higgins has been suspended from all future tournaments after reportedly agreeing to take a £261,000 bribe to lose frames." [16]
  • During the 2002 World Cup South Korea played Italy there was a clear public outcry from the Italian press that the South Korean team won by fixing their matches.[17] This was all due to the Ecuadorian referee, Byron Moreno, and his clear conflict of interest with the South Korean team. To add on, the referee was only recently released from jail after serving a 26-month ban.

Motorsport and Racing scandals[edit]

Olympic Games scandals[edit]

Paralympic Games[edit]

  • Cheating at the Paralympic Games – in the 2000 Summer Paralympics, athletes from Spain competed and won the gold medal in the Basketball ID event despite the majority of players not having an intellectual disability. The fallout from this scandal saw all events for athletes with intellectual disabilities removed from the next two Summer Paralympics.[19]

Rugby league scandals[edit]

  • Melbourne Storm salary cap breach – in 2010, the Melbourne Storm were punished for breaching the salary cap and were stripped of the ability to accumulate points, had their name stripped from the premierships and minor premierships they had gained over the previous four years and forced to pay back millions of dollars of prize money.[20] It is the toughest punishment for a salary cap breach in NRL history.
  • Cronulla Sharks supplements doping scandal – following an extensive investigation by ASADA, players from the Cronulla Sharks were found guilty of having used the banned peptide CJC-1295, resulting in the suspensions of fourteen players. A number of senior staff were dismissed or resigned and several senior club members received penalties and suspensions.[21]
  • Matthew Johns sexual assault allegations – in 2002, while on a trip to New Zealand, the Cronulla Sharks player Matthew Johns took part in degrading group sex with a young woman while up to 11 of his teammates joined in. The scandal was reported by the ABC's Four Corners TV series.[22] Johns admitted having consensual sex with the girl and made a public apology on Channel Nine's The Footy Show. Johns was suspended from The Footy Show and was released by the Melbourne Storm as their assistant coach.[23]

Rugby union scandals[edit]

Sumo wrestling scandals[edit]

Tennis scandals[edit]

Russian doping scandal[edit]

Volleyball scandals[edit]


  1. ^ "11 of the 12 footballs deflated". ESPN. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  2. ^ "NFL suspends Brady 4 games; Pats lose picks". Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  3. ^ "Новости :: Скандал на Кубке Содружества: чемпионы Армении отказались играть с азербайджанцами".
  4. ^ "Turkish court charges 15 more in Fenerbahce match-fixing scandal". the Guardian.
  5. ^ "Şike Davası'nda yeniden yargılama kararı". Sabah. 23 June 2014.
  6. ^ Πόρισμα εισαγγελέα Αριστείδη Κορρέα για την ύπαρξη εγκληματικής οργάνωσης στο ποδόσφαιρο (in Greek). Public Prosecutor's Office of District Court Judges. 3 December 2014. p. 12. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  7. ^ Πόρισμα εισαγγελέα Αριστείδη Κορρέα για την ύπαρξη εγκληματικής οργάνωσης στο ποδόσφαιρο (in Greek). Public Prosecutor's Office of District Court Judges. 3 December 2014. p. 159. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
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  11. ^ Mackenzie, George. "Loaded gloves: the dark story of Luis Resto and his illegal fists". The Versed. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  12. ^ Walter, Brad (25 August 2014). "Who 'duped' Cronulla Sharks players and how did they do it?". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  13. ^ "Golf Spelled Backwards*." : The Vijay Singh Cheating Incident. Golf Spelled Backwards, 30 Jan. 2013. Web. 8 May 2015.
  14. ^ "2000 Paralympic basketball scandal". Daily Mail UK. Retrieved 18 May 2015.
  15. ^ Ralph, Jon (3 August 2011), "How Melbourne tanked in 2009", Herald Sun, Melbourne, VIC, retrieved 10 November 2011
  16. ^ "John Higgins suspended in snooker bribe probe". BBC.
  17. ^ Ward, Maxwell. "South Korea results from 2002 World Cup now under scrutiny". Euro Sport.
  18. ^ Ruiz, Rebecca R. (9 December 2016). "Russia's Doping Program Laid Bare by Extensive Evidence in Report". The New York Times.
  19. ^ "Intellectual disability ban ends". BBC News. 21 November 2009. Retrieved 26 September 2015.
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  24. ^ Benammar, Emily (2009-08-18). "Dean Richards ban: how 'Bloodgate' saga unfolded". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  25. ^

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