Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Blog #15- Abstract and Bibliography

My final project brings to question the prevalence of academic dishonesty among collegiate athletes and how this academic dishonesty can be explained. The first reason I found to explaining the prevalence of academic dishonesty is the fact that many times the athletes do not consider themselves student athletes in any sense, but rather just athletes. However, it is not only the athletes who view themselves this way, but so does every person who becomes connected and intrigued by college sports. One of the major theories that is used to explain the prevalence of academic dishonesty is the Neutralization Theory which analyzes the tendencies of criminal to rationalize their criminal acts. I found through research that Neutralization Theory should not be used to generalize academic dishonesty among college athletes because there are too many complexities involved in why athletes are likely to cheat. One of the major complexities is the fact that many times the athletes are not aware that they are cheating because they have either been influenced, directly or indirectly, to be involved with certain acts. The students are influenced by the higher authorities of college athletics. In a sense there is no reason for the athletes in cases like these to neutralize their behavior because someone else has already taken that step. This falls in line with a study done by Michael Macy and Andreas Flache which focused on why certain organizations are more likely to be involved in corruption compared to others. The prevalence of academic dishonesty can without a doubt be considered one form of many forms of corruption that exist in collegiate athletics. Macy and Flache write that in order for certain organizations to accomplish their "missions", all the people involved must be devoted to that mission. They also explain that there is a hierarchical system in place for these organizations and collegiate athletics fits seamlessly in with this idea. The main mission of collegiate athletics is to make money and all people involved- athletes, coaches, presidents, professors, and spectators- conform to this mission. The "seamless cooperation" that is required in order to achieve the final goal- making money- many times leaves academics as an after product. Many times academics are viewed as the factor of college that holds athletes and athletic programs back from being as successful as they can be. This is a damaging mindset to have and it is crucial that American universities take some necessary steps to fix this.


Bouville, Mathieu. "Cheating and Neutralization." Diss. University of Cambridge, 2008.

Cheating and Neutralization. University of Cambridge. Web. 17 Feb. 2010.


Dowling, W. C. Confessions of a Spoilsport: My life and Hard Times Fighting Sports Corruption

at an Old Eastern University. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2007.


Florida State University, Case No. M286. Division I Committee on Infractions of the National

Collegiate Athletic Association. 18 Oct. 2008. Print.

Hale, Robert. “Learning Theories of Crime” MegaLinks in Criminal Justice. 30 Nov.

2006.Web. 28 Feb. 2010. .

Hodge, Frank, and Lloyd Tanlu. "Finances and college athletics." New Directions for

Institutional Research 2009.144 (2009): 7-18. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 7

Apr. 2010.

Macy, Michael W., and Andreas Flache. "Learning dynamics in social dilemmas." Proceedings

of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99.10 (2002): 7229.

Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 7 Apr. 2010.

Stearn, A. "The Structural Element of Neutralization Theory" Paper presented at the annual

meeting of the AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CRIMINOLOGY, Atlanta Marriott Marquis,

Atlanta, Georgia, 13 Nov. 2007. Web. 1 March 2010

/p201169_index.html> .

Storch, Jason B., Eric A. Storch, and Philip Clark. "Academic Dishonesty and

Neutralization Theory: A Comparison of Intercollegiate Athletes and Nonathletes."

Journal of College Student Development 43.6 (2002): 921-30. OmniFile Full Text

Mega. Web. 16 Feb. 2010.

Pytel, Barbara. "Cheating Is On The Rise." Educational Issues (2007). Classroom Issues. 16

Sept. 2007. Web. 24 Mar. 2010.


Wolverton, Brad. "As Graduation Rates Rise, So Do Fears of Academic Shortcuts." Chronicle of

Higher Education 53.7 (2006): A38. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 7 Apr.


Yaeger, Don, and Alexander Wolff. "Troubling questions." Sports Illustrated 87.1 (1997): 70.

Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 24 Mar. 2010.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog#14- Your Story

Over the semester, my paper has really evolved. I can't even really remember what my first topic idea was, but I remember that it had nothing to do with anything that I am writing about now! I really enjoyed reading all the available research and writings that were related to my topic. Athletics in college is very interesting to me because I have known many people who have been involved with intercollegiate athletics at varying levels. They have had varying experiences that were largely dependent on the dynamics of the teams they were on and role academics played. I would say that the book by William Dowling, Confessions of a Spoilsport had the biggest impact on my final paper topic. The stories I read in that book really got me interested in really reading into why athletes are more likely to cheat. It was interesting to investigate the various theories about social learning and the role of environment on an individuals actions. I am happy with the direction that my paper went in and I learned that when I am interested in something, I really don't mind reading and researching for hours at a time even if it does not yield any particularly helpful information. This is the first really intense research paper that I have done and I am happy about the way it has turned out so far!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Blog #13- Visual Aids

Sponsored by: BRIAN CRONK (
This Visual Aid graphically presents that prevalence of academic dishonesty that occurs among athletes relative to non athletes in colleges.

Both of these images visually represent the problem of corruption in college athletics. They both deal with the claim that too much money is being funneled into athletics rather than academics therefore underwriting the purpose of college which is education and academics.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Blog #12- Outline

Discuss Academic Dishonesty in general and its prevalence. Introduce the subject of academic dishonesty among college athletes and the application of Neutralization Theory to understanding why athletes cheat. REVISION to first rough draft: give specific instances of why academic dishonesty of athletes is so popular e.g. stricter requirements set down by NCAA, yet the increasing graduation rate and how does that line up with the increasing focus that is put on sports at many schools- it just does not line up
1. Discussion of the Neutralization Theory and the controversy that exists between the studies done by Bouville and Storch.
2. Specific Cases such as FSU and Sports Illustrated case involving cheating on SATs; analyze the cases as to whether or not they fit in with the Storch interpretation of Neutralization Theory or Bouville's.
3. Talk about (using Dowling) how academics have come second to athletics in some colleges. (use statistic regarding how long it takes for an athlete to graduate in most cases) This causes the athletic programs to become too powerful and it undermines the academic basis of the institution.
4. Talk about how the athletes are influenced by the corrupt nature that has inevitably and undeniably become a part of college athletics. Introduce the idea that regardless of whether or not an athlete neutralizes his behavior (based on the application or non-application of the Neutralization Theory), the athletes behavior is largely influenced and guided by the bad behavior of the higher authorities of college athletics.
College athletics cultivates an environment that in a multitude of cases down plays the academic side of college and reinforces the concept of being an athlete first and a student second. This accompanied with the corruption that exists in college athletics becomes a lethal combination and may be the explanation of why academic dishonesty is so prevalent among college athletes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Blog #11- The Case

The Case I am most interested in for my research paper is the FSU Cheating Scandal in which about 60 student athletes (varying from 10 different sports) were involved in academic dishonesty in an online course. This case got a good amount of press coverage and the transcripts from the NCAA hearing involving the president and other authorities of Florida State and the tutor/learning specialist at FSU, Brenda Monk. Brenda Monk supposedly encouraged the student athletes to cheat by providing them with answers to an online exam in a music history course. The allegations also say that the athletes allowed staff members to type their papers during the 2006/2007 school year.
The interesting thing with this case is that a good deal of the blame is put on the tutor/learning specialist rather than the athletes themselves. Even though about 10 scholarships were relinquished from athletes who were proven to have cheated, the question arises of whether that was really a just punishment considering that Brenda Monk (someone not really involved with athletics at FSU) has become the scapegoat for the whole incident. The case requires more investigating; however at first sight this is my interpretation of this case.
This case can fit in with the Neutralization Theory/ Corruption theme that I am hoping to develop in my paper. The corruption side can fit in with why Brenda Monk has become the face of the scandal and the academic dishonesty of the athletes can be used to better understand if the Neutralization Theory can accurately be applied in order to understand academic dishonesty among athletes.

Some useful links include articles about the scandal and the official transcripts:
1. /

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Blog #10- The Debate

The debate that I have centered my paper around is whether or not the Neutralization Theory can be applied to the rationalizations athletes have when it comes to committing acts of academic dishonesty. One side of the debate is Storch with is study of the application of Neutralization Theory directly to academic dishonesty among athletes. The other side of the debate comes from Bouville who insists that Neutralization Theory can not be applied to academic dishonesty, regardless of who commits it. Obviously the Storch argument is one of the center pieces of my paper; however the Bouville piece provides an interesting insight. In that piece he writes about how academic dishonesty cannot be studied in terms of Neutralization Theory because students know that cheating is wrong. One of the articles that I have found that discusses the key concepts of Neutralization Theory says that Neutralization Theory is contingent on the fact that the individual knows the difference between right and wrong. Bouville's argument about Neutralization Theory did get me thinking though that maybe students cheat because they think they are expected to and even though they know its wrong, that's why they still do it. After thinking about this, I started thinking about the public perception of athletes and how that must affect the athletes. Maybe the athletes get involved in bad behaviors because they feel that that is what they are expected to do. They are not expected to succeed morally, but rather to get involved in bad behaviors such as academic dishonesty or maybe something much worse. Using this idea and the Neutralization Theory, I feel that the two sides of the Neutralization Theory debate can almost be meshed in a way while introducing a new concept of public perception of athletics into the mix.

Here is the link for the transcripts from the FSU cheating case:

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blog #9- My Project as of now

As of now, I feel that I have most of my key resources and a frame for my paper. I still need to find a couple of more resources because I feel that there must be some more out there that would be extremely valuable. I am going to look into some documentaries about student athletes and try to see if I can grab anything for a primary source from these resources. I am planning on using next week (spring break) to catch up on a lot of the reading I have to do for the books and articles that I have not had a chance to get to yet. I feel like there is plenty of information based on this topic or useful for this topic, it is my responsibility to actively seek it out. That's where my project stands now and I am excited to begin the final drafting stage!