NOTICE: Some of the subject matter contained in this post is controversial and emotionally disturbing.
NOTICE: This post is LONG, even by my standards. With all of the section headers in 16 point font and the quotations in boldface, it is 13 pages long in 12 point Times New Roman. If you are a TL;DR kind of person, this is not the post for you.
NOTICE: This is an inappropriate forum for social and/or political debate, and this post should and likely shall be locked if the comments, if any, get out of hand in this respect.
My goal is not to spark debate on social and/or political topics, but rather to look at some of the basic tenets of human nature in order to better understand some of the current goings-on in the college football realm, and our potential exposure thereto. Specifically, I want to invite discussion on the morality and prevalence of cheating. In a time when it certainly appears that NCAA infractions and investigations are accelerating (I have done no research to support this supposition on my part, and recent events might simply be the result of better oversight, whether official or journalistic), I think it appropriate to look at some situations in which human nature has been examined under extreme circumstances.
Unless otherwise cited, all quotations in this section are from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bystander_effect.
The bystander effect or Genovese syndrome is a social psychological phenomenon that refers to cases where individuals do not offer any means of help in an emergency situation to the victim when other people are present. The probability of help has in the past been thought to be inversely related to the number of bystanders; in other words, the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is that any one of them will help. The mere presence of other bystanders greatly decreases intervention. This happens because as the number of bystanders increases, any given bystander is less likely to notice the incident, less likely to interpret the incident as a problem, and less likely to assume responsibility for taking action.
History is replete with examples of the bystander effect in action, but here I will only reference the classic case and resulting research.
The case of Kitty Genovese is often cited as an example of the "bystander effect". It is also the case that originally stimulated social psychological research in this area. 28 year-old Kitty Genovese was stabbed to death on March 13, 1964 by a serial rapist and murderer on her way back to her Queens, New York apartment from work at 3am. According to newspaper accounts, the attack lasted for at least a half an hour during which time Genovese screamed and pleaded for help. The murderer attacked Genovese and stabbed her, then fled the scene after attracting the attention of a neighbor. The killer then returned ten minutes later and finished the assault. Newspaper reports after Genovese's death claimed that 38 witnesses watched the stabbings and failed to intervene or even contact the police until after the attacker fled and Genovese had died. This led to widespread public attention, and many editorials.
According to an article published in American Psychologist in 2007, the original story of Kitty Genovese's murder was exaggerated by the media. Specifically, there were not 38 eyewitnesses, the police were contacted at least once during the attack, and many of the bystanders who overheard the attack could not actually see the event. The authors of the article suggest that the story continues to be misrepresented in social psychology textbooks because it functions as a parable and serves as a dramatic example for students.
Stanley Milgram hypothesized that the bystanders′ callous behavior was caused by the strategies they had adopted in daily life to cope with information overload. This idea has been supported to varying degrees by empirical research.
Even if the article in American Psychologist is correct about the extent of the bystander effect in this classic case, there are unfortunately numerous instances in which it is all too real. http://crimeprevention.crimereports.com/2009/11/02/don%E2%80%99t-be-a-bystander/.
The bystander effect was first demonstrated in the laboratory by John Darley and Bibb Latane in 1968 after they became interested in the topic following the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964. These researchers launched a series of experiments that resulted in one of the strongest and most replicable effects in social psychology. In 12 years they had conducted four dozen experiments, all having the same results. In a typical experiment, the participant is either alone or among a group of other participants or confederates. An emergency situation is then staged. The researchers then measure how long it takes the participants to act, and whether or not they intervene at all. These experiments virtually always find that the presence of others inhibits helping, often by a large margin. In 2008 a study by Mark Levine and Simon Crowther found that increasing group size inhibited intervention in a street violence scenario when bystanders were strangers but encouraged intervention when bystanders were friends. They also found that when gender identity is salient group size encouraged intervention when bystanders and victim shared social category membership. In addition, group size interacted with context-specific norms that both inhibit and encourage helping. The bystander effect is not a generic consequence of increasing group size. When bystanders share group-level psychological relationships, group size can encourage as well as inhibit helping.
There are, in fact, many reasons why bystanders in groups fail to act in emergency situations, but social psychologists have focused most of their attention on two major factors. According to a basic principle of social influence, bystanders monitor the reactions of other people in an emergency situation to see if others think that it is necessary to intervene. Since everyone is doing exactly the same thing (nothing), they all conclude from the inaction of others that help is not needed. This is an example of pluralistic ignorance or social proof. The other major obstacle to intervention is known as diffusion of responsibility. This occurs when observers all assume that someone else is going to intervene and so each individual feels less responsible and refrains from doing anything.
In one study the effects of masculinity and the bystander effect were studied. Subjects participated in a simulated group discussion via headphones. One member of the group apparently had a choking fit and called for help. Highly masculine subjects were less likely to take action to help the victim than were other subjects. Femininity and actual gender had no effect on likelihood of helping. Results are interpreted according to past research evidence that highly masculine subjects fear potential embarrassment and loss of poise, so they may be reluctant to intervene in emergencies.
Bibb Latane and Judith Rodin staged an experiment around a woman in distress in 1969. 70 percent of the people alone called out or went to help the woman after they believed she had fallen and gotten hurt, but when there were other people in the room only 40 percent offered help.
The above research was mainly conducted in the context of non-dangerous, non-violent emergencies. A 2006 study tested bystander effect in emergency situations to see if they would get the same results from other studies testing non-emergenices. It turns out that they did not. In situations with low potential danger, more help was given in the solitary condition than in the bystander condition. However, in situations with high potential danger, participants confronted with an emergency alone or in the presence of another bystander were similarly likely to help the victim.
A 2011 study presents the first, major, meta-analysis of studies of the bystander effect since 1981. This is: The Bystander-Effect: A Meta-Analytic Review on Bystander Intervention in Dangerous and Non-Dangerous Emergencies, by Peter Fischer, University of Regensburg, Joachim I. Krueger, Brown University, Tobias Greitemeyer, University of Innsbruck, Claudia Vogrincic, University of Graz, Andreas Kastenmuller, Liverpool John Moores University, Dieter Frey University of Munich, Moritz Heene, Magdalena Wicher, and Martina Kainbacher University of Graz: They demonstrate that "research on bystander intervention produced a great number of studies showing that the presence of other people in a critical situation reduces the likelihood that an individual will help." However, their meta-analysis "updates the knowledge about the bystander effect and its potential moderators. The ... work (a) integrates the bystander literature from the 1960s to 2010, (b) provides statistical tests of potential moderators, and (c) presents new theoretical and empirical perspectives on the novel finding of non-negative bystander effects in certain dangerous emergencies as well as situations where bystanders are a source of physical support for the potentially intervening individual." They report research on a "fixed effects model, (with) data from over 7,700 participants." They report that "The bystander effect was attenuated when situations were perceived as dangerous (compared with non-dangerous), perpetrators were present (compared with non-present), and the costs of intervention were physical (compared with non-physical). This pattern of findings is consistent with the arousal-cost-reward model, which proposes that dangerous emergencies are recognized faster and more clearly as real emergencies, thereby inducing higher levels of arousal and hence more helping." They also "identified situations where bystanders provide welcome physical support for the potentially intervening individual and thus reduce the bystander effect, such as when the bystanders were exclusively male, when they were naive rather than passive confederates or only virtually present persons, and when the bystanders were not strangers."
This section is divided into two subsections: (1) authority’s influence on those subject to that authority, and (2) authority’s influence on those exercising that authority.
1. Authority’s Influence on Those Subject to that Authority
Both history and research have demonstrated that people will generally obey authority, even when doing so runs counter to closely-held moral beliefs. Unless otherwise cited, all quotations in this subsection are from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment.
The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures was a series of social psychology experiments conducted by Yale University psychologist Stanley Milgram, which measured the willingness of study participants to obey an authority figure who instructed them to perform acts that conflicted with their personal conscience. Milgram first described his research in 1963 in an article published in the Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, and later discussed his findings in greater depth in his 1974 book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View.
The experiments began in July 1961, three months after the start of the trial of German Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: "Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?" In other words, "Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?" Milgram's testing suggested that it could have been that the millions of accomplices were merely following orders, despite violating their deepest moral beliefs. The experiments have been repeated many times, with consistent results within societies, but different percentages across the globe. The experiments were also controversial, and considered by some scientists to be unethical or psychologically abusive, motivating more thorough review boards for the use of human subjects.
The volunteer subject was given the role of teacher, and the confederate (an actor), the role of learner. The participants drew slips of paper to 'determine' their roles. Unknown to the subject, both slips said "teacher", and the actor claimed to have the slip that read "learner", thus guaranteeing that the participant would always be the "teacher". At this point, the "teacher" and "learner" were separated into different rooms where they could communicate but not see each other. In one version of the experiment, the confederate was sure to mention to the participant that he had a heart condition.
The "teacher" was given an electric shock from the electro-shock generator as a sample of the shock that the "learner" would supposedly receive during the experiment. The "teacher" was then given a list of word pairs which he was to teach the learner. The teacher began by reading the list of word pairs to the learner. The teacher would then read the first word of each pair and read four possible answers. The learner would press a button to indicate his response. If the answer was incorrect, the teacher would administer a shock to the learner, with the voltage increasing in 15-volt increments for each wrong answer. If correct, the teacher would read the next word pair.
The subjects believed that for each wrong answer, the learner was receiving actual shocks. In reality, there were no shocks. After the confederate was separated from the subject, the confederate set up a tape recorder integrated with the electro-shock generator, which played pre-recorded sounds for each shock level. After a number of voltage level increases, the actor started to bang on the wall that separated him from the subject. After several times banging on the wall and complaining about his heart condition, all responses by the learner would cease.
At this point, many people indicated their desire to stop the experiment and check on the learner. Some test subjects paused at 135 volts and began to question the purpose of the experiment. Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible. A few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner.
If at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order:
The experiment requires that you continue.
It is absolutely essential that you continue.
You have no other choice, you must go on.
If the subject still wished to stop after all four successive verbal prods, the experiment was halted. Otherwise, it was halted after the subject had given the maximum 450-volt shock three times in succession.
Before conducting the experiment, Milgram polled fourteen Yale University senior-year psychology majors to predict the behavior of 100 hypothetical teachers. All of the poll respondents believed that only a very small fraction of teachers (the range was from zero to 3 out of 100, with an average of 1.2) would be prepared to inflict the maximum voltage. Milgram also informally polled his colleagues and found that they, too, believed very few subjects would progress beyond a very strong shock.
In Milgram's first set of experiments, 65 percent (26 of 40) of experiment participants administered the experiment's final massive 450-volt shock, though many were very uncomfortable doing so; at some point, every participant paused and questioned the experiment, some said they would refund the money they were paid for participating in the experiment.
Milgram summarized the experiment in his 1974 article, "The Perils of Obedience", writing:
The legal and philosophic aspects of obedience are of enormous importance, but they say very little about how most people behave in concrete situations. I set up a simple experiment at Yale University to test how much pain an ordinary citizen would inflict on another person simply because he was ordered to by an experimental scientist. Stark authority was pitted against the subjects' [participants'] strongest moral imperatives against hurting others, and, with the subjects' [participants'] ears ringing with the screams of the victims, authority won more often than not. The extreme willingness of adults to go to almost any lengths on the command of an authority constitutes the chief finding of the study and the fact most urgently demanding explanation.
Ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority.
The original Simulated Shock Generator and Event Recorder, or shock box, is located in the Archives of the History of American Psychology.
Later, Prof. Milgram and other psychologists performed variations of the experiment throughout the world, with similar results although unlike the Yale experiment, resistance to the experimenter was reported anecdotally elsewhere [noted by wikipedia to be dubious]. Milgram later investigated the effect of the experiment's locale on obedience levels by holding an experiment in an unregistered, backstreet office in a bustling city, as opposed to at Yale, a respectable university. The level of obedience, "although somewhat reduced, was not significantly lower." What made more of a difference was the proximity of the "learner" and the experimenter. There were also variations tested involving groups.
Dr. Thomas Blass of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County performed a meta-analysis on the results of repeated performances of the experiment. He found that the percentage of participants who are prepared to inflict fatal voltages remains remarkably constant, 61–66 percent, regardless of time or place.
There is a little-known coda to the Milgram Experiment, reported by Philip Zimbardo: none of the participants who refused to administer the final shocks insisted that the experiment itself be terminated, nor left the room to check the health of the victim without requesting permission to leave, as per Milgram's notes and recollections, when Zimbardo asked him about that point.
2. Authority’s Influence on Those Exercising it
"All power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
- John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton
"Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat."
- John Lehman, Secretary of the Navy 1981-1987
Unless otherwise cited, all quotations in this subsection are from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_prison_experiment.
The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted from August 14 to 20, 1971 by a team of researchers led by Psychology professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. It was funded by a grant from the U.S. Office of Naval Research and was of interest to both the US Navy and Marine Corps in order to determine the causes of conflict between military guards and prisoners.
Twenty-four students were selected out of 75 to play the prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. Roles were assigned randomly. The participants adapted to their roles well beyond what even Zimbardo himself expected, leading the "Officers" to display authoritarian measures and ultimately to subject some of the prisoners to torture. In turn, many of the prisoners developed passive attitudes and accepted physical abuse, and, at the request of the guards, readily inflicted punishment on other prisoners who attempted to stop it. The experiment even affected Zimbardo himself, who, in his capacity as "Prison Superintendent," lost sight of his role as psychologist and permitted the abuse to continue as though it were a real prison. Five of the prisoners were upset enough by the process to quit the experiment early, and the entire experiment was abruptly stopped after only six days. The experimental process and the results remain controversial. The entire experiment was filmed, with excerpts made publicly available.
Zimbardo and his team set out to test the idea that the inherent personality traits of prisoners and guards were summarily key to understanding abusive prison situations. Participants were recruited and told they would participate in a two-week prison simulation. Out of 75 respondents, Zimbardo and his team selected the 24 males whom they deemed to be the most psychologically stable and healthy. These participants were predominantly white and middle-class.
The "prison" itself was in the basement of Stanford's Jordan Hall, which had been converted into a mock jail. An undergraduate research assistant was the "warden" and Zimbardo the "superintendent." Zimbardo set up a number of specific conditions on the participants which he hoped would promote disorientation, depersonalisation and deindividualisation.
The researchers provided weapons—wooden batons which could not be used to punish the prisoners, meant only to establish their status—and clothing that simulated that of a prison guard—khaki shirt and pants from a local military surplus store. They were also given mirrored sunglasses to prevent eye contact.
Prisoners wore ill-fitting smocks and stocking caps, rendering them constantly uncomfortable. Guards called prisoners by their assigned numbers, sewn on their uniforms, instead of by name. A chain around their ankles reminded them of their roles as prisoners.
The researchers held an orientation session for guards the day before the experiment, during which they were told that they could not physically harm the prisoners. In The Stanford Prison Study video Zimbardo is seen telling the guards, "You can create in the prisoners feelings of boredom, a sense of fear to some degree, you can create a notion of arbitrariness that their life is totally controlled by us, by the system, you, me, and they'll have no privacy... We're going to take away their individuality in various ways. In general what all this leads to is a sense of powerlessness. That is, in this situation we'll have all the power and they'll have none."
The participants chosen to play the part of prisoners were arrested at their homes and charged with armed robbery. The local Palo Alto police department assisted Zimbardo with the arrests and conducted full booking procedures on the prisoners, which included fingerprinting and taking mug shots. At the police station, they were transported to the mock prison where they were strip-searched and given their new identities.
After a relatively uneventful first day, a riot broke out on the second day. The prisoners in cell 1 blockaded their cell door with their beds and took off their stocking caps. They refused to come out or do anything the guards told them to do. The guards realized they needed more of them to handle the riot. The guards from other shifts volunteered to work extra hours and worked together to break the prisoner revolt, attacking the prisoners with fire extinguishers without supervision from the research staff. The guards realized they could handle the 9 cell mates with 9 guards, but were unsure how they were to do so by use of only 3 guards per shift. One then suggested that they use psychological tactics to control them instead. They set up a "privilege cell" in which prisoners who were not involved in the riot were treated with special rewards such as a good meal instead of their normal bland portions. The "privilege cell" inmates chose not to eat the meal in order to stay uniform with their fellow prisoners.
After only 36 hours, one prisoner began to act "crazy," Zimbardo says; "#8612 then began to act crazy, to scream, to curse, to go into a rage that seemed out of control. It took quite a while before we became convinced that he was really suffering and that we had to release him."
Guards forced the prisoners to count off repeatedly as a way to learn their prison numbers, and to reinforce the idea that this was their new identity. Guards soon used these prisoner counts as another method to harass the prisoners, using physical punishment such as protracted exercise for errors in the prisoner count. Sanitary conditions declined rapidly, made worse by the guards refusing to allow some prisoners to urinate or defecate. As punishment, the guards would not let the prisoners empty the sanitation bucket. Mattresses were a valued item in the prison, so the guards would punish prisoners by removing their mattresses, leaving them to sleep on concrete. Some prisoners were forced to go nude as a method of degradation.
Zimbardo cited his own absorption in the experiment he guided, and in which he actively participated as Prison Superintendent. On the fourth day, some prisoners were talking about trying to escape. Zimbardo and the guards attempted to move the prisoners to the more secure local police station, but officials there said they could no longer participate in Zimbardo's experiment.
Several guards became increasingly cruel as the experiment continued. Experimenters said that approximately one-third of the guards exhibited genuine sadistic tendencies. Most of the guards were upset when the experiment concluded after only 6 days.
Zimbardo argued that the prisoner participants had internalized their roles, based on the fact that some had stated that they would accept parole even with the attached condition of forfeiting all of their experiment-participation pay. Yet, when their parole applications were all denied, none of the prisoner participants quit the experiment. Zimbardo argued they had no reason for continued participation in the experiment after having lost all monetary compensation, yet they did, because they had internalized the prisoner identity, they thought themselves prisoners, hence, they stayed.
Prisoner No. 416, a newly admitted stand-by prisoner, expressed concern over the treatment of the other prisoners. The guards responded with more abuse. When he refused to eat his sausages, saying he was on a hunger strike, guards confined him to a closet without a lightbulb and called it "solitary confinement; the guards then instructed the other prisoners to repeatedly punch on the door while shouting at 416. " The guards used this incident to turn the other prisoners against No. 416, saying the only way he would be released from solitary confinement was if they gave up their blankets and slept on their bare mattresses, which all but one refused to do.
Zimbardo aborted the experiment early when Christina Maslach, a graduate student he was then dating (and later married), objected to the appalling conditions of the prison after she was introduced to the experiment to conduct interviews. Zimbardo noted that of more than fifty outside persons who had seen the prison, Maslach was the only one who questioned its morality. After only six days of a planned two weeks' duration, the Stanford Prison experiment was shut down.
Other studies, like that of Alex Haslam and Steve Reicher in the UK, reached different results and conclusions. http://www.bbcprisonstudy.org/.
III. The Will to Win
There are a multitude of examples I can use to demonstrate the will to win overcoming morality, fear of punishment, or other constraints on cheating. In this particular post, I am only going to do a very brief and superficial overview of the lure of steroids in sport, by way of example. Unless otherwise cited, all quotations in this section are from http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1009868/1/index.htm.
A scenario, from a 1995 poll of 198 sprinters, swimmers, powerlifters and other assorted athletes, most of them U.S. Olympians or aspiring Olympians: You are offered a banned performance-enhancing substance, with two guarantees: 1) You will not be caught. 2) You will win. Would you take the substance?
One hundred and ninety-five athletes said yes; three said no.
Scenario II: You are offered a banned performance-enhancing substance that conies with two guarantees: 1) You will not be caught. 2) You will win every competition you enter for the next five years, and then you will die from the side effects of the substance. Would you take it?
More than half the athletes said yes.
(Chicago physician and author Bob Goldman has conducted the above survey every two years since 1982 and has gotten more or less the same response each time.)
"There may be some sportsmen who can win gold medals without taking drugs, but there are very few," says Dutch physician Michel Karsten, who claims to have prescribed anabolic steroids to hundreds of world-class athletes from swimming, track and field and the non-Olympic sport of powerlifting over the last 25 years. "If you are especially gifted, you may win once, but from my experience you can't continue to win without drugs. The held is just too filled with drug users."
Says Kees Kooman, the editor of the Dutch edition of Runner's World magazine, "All athletes someday have to choose: Do I want to compete at a world-class level and take drugs, or do I want to compete at a club level and be clean?"
Over the years athletes from the former Eastern-bloc countries, the Netherlands and China have been known as heavy users of performance-enhancing drugs, but American Olympians, at least in the eyes of the U.S. public, never have been so stigmatized. That is a misperception. "I've had American athletes tell me they were doing performance-enhancing drugs," says Voy, "Most of these athletes didn't really want to do drugs. But they would come to me and say, 'Unless you stop the drug abuse in sport, I have to do drugs. I'm not going to spend the next two years training—away from my family, missing my college education—to be an Olympian and then be cheated out of a medal by some guy from Europe or Asia who is on drugs.' "
"I would say nearly every top-level athlete is on something," says Michael Mooney, a California bodybuilder and authority on steroids who used to help athletes with questions on how to use the drugs most effectively and now designs steroid regimens for AIDS doctors to prescribe to their patients. "What bothers me are the hypocrites, the athletes I've talked to who I later read are talking about how bad steroids are. The number of these supposed steroid-free athletes—very well-known athletes—who have contacted me about how to pass (drug] tests in just the last year blows my mind."
In 1993 the head of the IOC's medical commission, Prince Alexandre de Merode of Belgium, told a British newspaper that he believed that as many as 10% of all Olympic athletes were regular users of performance-enhancing drugs. At the time, that statement made headlines. Now [and this was in 1997] the 10% estimate seems hopelessly naive.
While growth hormone is popular among strength athletes, competitors who rely on endurance—long-distance runners, cross-country skiers, distance swimmers and the like—prefer a genetically engineered version of erythropoietin, or EPO, a natural hormone that is effective in the treatment of kidney disease, anemia and other disorders. It stimulates the formation of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the muscles, thus fostering greater endurance for athletes. Urine testing cannot detect EPO use. And though more than two dozen deaths have been attributed to EPO—including the deaths of five Dutch cyclists in 1987, the year the drug was introduced in Europe—its popularity among athletes persists. "You have guys who will go to the funeral of a friend who died from this stuff, come home and inject it again," says an Olympic distance runner from Europe who uses EPO himself.
So why no official push for blood testing [as opposed to less-effective, or frequently ineffective, urine testing]? Says Voy, "It's very difficult for sport organizations that depend on sponsorship money" to have their athletes caught taking performance enhancers. "The IOC fears exposing the high levels of drug use. It turns off the public. The IOC is very nervous about testing."
Voy quit his Olympic position in 1989 because, he says, neither the IOC nor the USOC was committed to eliminating the use of illicit performance enhancers. Exposing star athletes would create enough publicity to send sponsors packing, and it might also disillusion a sports-watching public that assumes that the overwhelming majority of Olympic athletes are clean.
Steroids can cause heart disease, liver cancer and impotence. The hormone of the moment, hGH, can cause disfigurement by encouraging growth not only of muscles but also of bones, especially in the feet, hands and face. Some hGH users develop jutting foreheads, prominent cheekbones and an elongated jaw. (In Olympic circles an athlete with a pronounced chin is sometimes said to have GH jaw.) According to Walter Jekot, a Los Angeles pediatrician doing five years in North Las Vegas Federal Prison following his 1992 conviction for trafficking in steroids, a track athlete had to undergo a skin graft in the late 1980s because doses of hGH had caused the bones to practically push through the skin, and the athlete could no longer fully open his hands.
People like to think that things are better since Ben Johnson," says Dutch track coach Henk Kraayenhof, who has trained world-class runners for 20 years. "I argue the opposite. If anything, Ben Johnson's getting caught promoted drug use.
"Olympic surveys taken at the 2000 and 2004 Games show that a majority of athletes would rather get an Olympic Gold medal than be alive in five years, according to Runners World.
So, what do we have in today’s college football?
When going with the crowd NORMALLY overcomes the will to do what we know to be right? When human nature is to either obey or to exert authority at the cost of one’s own morality, down to torturing and killing other human beings? When the will to win causes MOST of the most elite athletes on Earth to find sickness, disfigurement and even certain death to be acceptable costs of victory? How exactly is the relatively remote possibility of eventual vacated wins, postseason bans, scholarship reductions and probation imposed upon a school supposed to deter such conduct, especially when the perpetrators have frequently already moved on to better opportunities away from the fallout of their misdeeds, whether as a running back for the New Orleans Saints, or as the head coach of the Seattle Seahawks, or possibly as the new quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, or possibly having been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame?
We should probably temper our excitement every time some new revelation comes out of Columbus, or Eugene, or Knoxville, or Baton Rouge, or even out of the Land of the Auburnite. If someone (yahoo sports?) actually shamed the NCAA into pulling back the curtain, would we all be shocked and disgusted at what we found system-wide? At Alabama?
On top of human nature and the will to win, there is an additional, much simpler factor to consider: the money might, indeed, be too much.