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Tony Garcia is a reporter covering University of Michigan football and basketball for the Detroit Free Press. He says the debate over the investigation mirrors a greater debate many are having in society.
“The idea of the game is that it is played on an even surface and that nobody has an advantage,” said Garcia. “And when that is immediately called into question, I think that is why this has reached circles beyond just sports.”
Garret Merriam is an associate professor of philosophy at California State University, Sacramento. He says sports is following a similar trend in other areas of society, like politics and business, where the focus is on the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law.
“Sometimes people will invoke what’s commonly called the ‘Air Bud’ principle after the Disney movie, which says, ‘well, there’s no law that a golden retriever can’t play basketball. Therefore, it’s legal for the Golden Retriever to play basketball’,” said Merriam. “So part of what has changed over time is a shift away from an alternate model — which we might call the Honor Code model — where cheating is not thought of as a question of following some set of explicit rules, but rather trying to hold yourself up to a particular standard of conduct.”
Lee Igel is a professor at the New York University Tisch Institute for Global Sport, where he explores ethics in the world of sports. He says in sports, business and other areas of life, the issue is whether the actor breaks the collective agreement of the group.
“We’re really talking about when someone or a group of people crosses the line, and where is that line,” said Igel.
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