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Key words: Cheating, competitive advantage, rules, guidelines, laws, judge, referee, official, breaking, secret, detection, gain edge, unofficial, dispute, sports, business, job, politics, war, Ron Kurtus, School for Champions. Copyright © Restrictions

Cheating Used in Some Competitions

by Ron Kurtus (8 June 2007)

Most competitions have specific rules and guidelines for the contest. In official competitions, with judges or referees, breaking a rule will result in a penalty. Cheating consists of breaking a rule without it being detected. It is done to gain an edge in the competition.

But also note that some efforts to gain an edge are cheating only if there is a rule against it. Until that rule is made, the action could be legal. In unofficial competitions, breaking a rule may result in a dispute. Cheating is seen in sports, business, politics, war and other competitions.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.


Some competitors in sports will try to get away with cheating to gain an advantage in a game.


The biggest news item on cheating in sports involves secretly taking performance enhancing drugs and medications. Some athletes have found ways to hide the fact they are taking steroids or other forbidden substances. But note that those who were taking these substances before they were banned were not cheating.


Cheating in baseball includes when pitchers secretly apply substances to the baseball to make it harder to hit and when hitters doctor their bats to make the ball fly further. Such tactics are against the rules and players will be penalized if caught.

Unofficial competitions

In unofficial competitions, like a Saturday afternoon golf game, some players may cheat if there is a wager on the game. They may "miscount" their score, secretly move the ball to a better position, or make a noise when the other player is trying to hit the ball. Since there are no officials to penalize the cheater, comments may be made or even a fistfight might ensue.


There are no real rules in a competition for business. But there are government laws that must be followed. Secretly breaking laws to gain an edge on other companies, as well as to make a larger profit, is considered cheating. If caught, the cheaters could be prosecuted by the government.


The classic example of cheating in business was the situation with Enron. The company executives lied about their profits in order to keep the stock prices high. When this cheating was exposed, the company when bankrupt. Some officials were penalized, but many investors lost their savings or retirement money as a result of this cheating.

Chinese companies

Enforcement of laws on an international scale can make it difficult to penalize cheaters. A good example is the competition between American and Chinese businesses, where some Chinese businesses are able to reduce costs and increase profits by cheating on the materials they put in foods and various products. United States laws state that unsafe or poisonous materials must not be used in pet foods, vitamins, children's toys, lumber goods and other products. In 2007, it was found that many Chinese companies cheated by secretly using unsafe—and thus less expensive—materials in the good they sold to U.S. distributors. While American companies would be severely fined for such cheating, there is no real legal recourse against the Chinese companies.

Job application

Applying for a job can be classified under business. There are people who lie about their education or experience in order to get a job. This is cheating in the competition for the job, since they may gain an unfair advantage over the other applicants. If discovered, they may lose their jobs. Interestingly, high government officials that cheat on their applications are seldom punished.


There are rules and laws concerning proper behavior in political campaigns and even war. Cheaters secretly break those rules in order to gain an advantage on their opponents.


One method of cheating used in elections is to secretly stuff the ballot boxes with votes for one candidate that were not really cast. Candidates have often lied about their qualifications in order to become elected. This type of cheating is also often detected by astute opponents.


There are international agreements on the rules of war. Breaking those rules can result in judgment by an international tribunal. Countries at war will often cheat and break those rules, because it is often difficult to detect or enforce. Also, since war is a battle for life and death, there is more incentive to cheat.

Examples of cheating on international rules of war include secret prisons that include inhuman treatment of prisoners, use of slave labor, and using chemical weapons on the civilian population.


Cheating consists of breaking a rule of the competition without it being detected. Cheating is done to gain an edge in the competition. But also note that some efforts to gain an edge are cheating only if there is a rule against it. Until that rule is made, the action could be legal. In unofficial competitions, breaking a rule may result in a dispute. Cheating is seen in sports, business, politics, war and other competitions.

Cheating takes the fun from winning

Resources and references

Ron Kurtus' Credentials


Competition Resources


Top-rated books on Competition

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Cheating Used in Some Competitions

Competition topics



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Competing between teams

Competing between companies

Competing between nations

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Underhanded strategies

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