25 Ways Everybody in Sports Cheats
Image via Bongarts/Getty Images
No one ever wants to be labeled as a cheater, but truth be told that it happens in sports more than players, coaches and fans would like to admit.
While we've seen a number of questionable cheats in sports over the years, there are a ton more that get overlooked because they're often just accepted each game.
Though no one will ever admit to actually trying to cheat, we're giving you 25 different ways people do it in sports today, and ranking them from one through five, with one being not that bad and five being just about the worst thing ever.
Shuffling the Feet
Patience is absolutely key with this one.
As a basketball player holds the ball, it's all about deceiving the official to think that they never actually switched pivot feet, moving along to get the perfect angle to get the cleanest shot off.
We toss this one in with a clear-cut travel, which can be overlooked at times by refs as well.
Cheat Ranking: 1
Not Putting Out
This is one of the most common cheats among amateur golfers every time they play.
Just because a guy has a chance to par a hole doesn't mean they don't need to finish things off because they burned the edge with their putt.
Considering the ball trickled off the outside lip and rolled an extra six feet down the slope, we'd say they're responsible for finishing things off—hope they like two putts!
Cheat Ranking: 1
Cough in a Backswing
Though this isn't common to see on the PGA tour—though there have been some complaints about noise recently—it's one that you're more than prone to do while with a foursome of your buddies playing for a case of beer.
Is it ethical?
But does it have an effect on the guy on the tee box?
We'd all like to hope so.
Cheat Ranking: 1.2
Taking a Dive in Soccer
One of the many reasons soccer tends to get a bad wrap is because of this simple action.
Thanks to guys going down in a heap of pain during a match, fans sometimes begrudge the act, as the player tries to draw a foul—though it often works.
Thankfully FIFA stepped up and made diving a no-no, with the culprit potentially getting a card from the ref should it be deemed to be just an act.
Cheat Ranking: 1.1
Curving the Stick
Even though the NHL actually has a rule in place against this, players know that it's not enforced as much as it should be, so expect them to continue to push their luck.
Per the video, you can see players who have been busted before, but we bet more would be punished if coaches really wanted to try and challenge the curve more often.
Cheat Ranking: 1.5
In a round of golf, it's said that at least one mulligan should be awarded to each player—if you play with our friends anyway.
So although a pro golfer would be ridiculed if they ever asked for a mulligan off the tee in a tournament, us weekend warriors continue to do it after hooking our shot into the water on No. 1.
Cheat Ranking: 1.5
It's a common thought that holding in football happens on almost every single play, it just depends on if officials actually toss the flag or not.
While some are more obvious than others, it's something that both the big uglies and sliest defensive backs continue to try and get away with as much as they can.
Cheat Ranking: 1.5
Toss out a Hip, Foot or Arm on a Screen
Over the years we've seen plenty of culprits of the moving screen—with some a little dirtier than others.
It's not like this move is uncommon among both pro basketball players and your teammates in the rec league you play in each weekend, but regardless of it getting caught or not, it's technically illegal.
Cheat Ranking: 1.7
It might not be the worst thing a guy can do out on a basketball court, but there are times when the rule is argued and disputed in certain key situations.
It's really the judgement of the refs, but if a guy can get away with it, trust that he will.
Cheat Ranking: 1.7
Screening the Goalie
Just ask former NHL player—and resident A-hole—Sean Avery how to properly pull this one off.
Even with a rule in place by the league to outlaw such a move, it wasn't until after officials saw it happening too often that they finally developed the "Avery Rule."
That doesn't mean skaters aren't going to try and do their best to disguise it though.
Cheat Ranking: 1.8
Take a Flop
Who would have ever thought that something so innocent looking would become a league-wide punishment?
After the NBA determined that too many guys were just falling down at the slightest of bumps, they implemented a flop rule to help clean things up.
The key to a flop is to try and sell it perfectly, which some guys haven't quite mastered as well as others.
Cheat Ranking: 1.9
Lean into a Pitch
MLB players these days seem to wear a ton of plastic armor when stepping to the plate, protecting themselves should a pitcher decide to try and come inside on them.
If a hurler does decide to command the inside part of the plate, don't be surprised to see a guy who's well protected lean into one and happily take a walk to first.
Just ask Craig Biggio how this works, as he made a career out of it.
Cheat Ranking: 2.1
Fake Getting Hit by a Pitch
Worse than leaning into a pitch to try and get on base is actually whiffing on trying to get hit in the first place.
Take the Cubs Julio Borbon for instance who, just last week, miserably acted as if he was hit by a pitch on the foot by Padres pitcher Luke Gregerson that hit the dirt right in front of Borbon's lead foot.
Who knows if he'll make it as a major leaguer, but if not, it doesn't look like a career in Hollywood is waiting for him.
Cheat Ranking: 2.2
Go Down with an "Injury"
Yes, believe it or not, there are some team's "strategies" that include taking a fall in order to help slow up the high-octane offenses that are dominating college and pro football recently.
It's a punk move for sure, but since there's no real way to prove whether a guy is actually injured or not, it probably won't be going away anytime soon.
At least there have been some good stories of guys doing it though—but why does it always include Oregon in some way?
Cheat Ranking: 2.5
Lie About Your Age
We all remember the curious case of Danny Almonte during the 2001 Little League World Series, who lied about his age and subsequently became a sensation pitching against kids who were a couple years younger than him.
Or how about former A.L. MVP shortstop Miguel Tejada, who admitted he was actually two years older than he first portrayed?
For numerous reasons—most notably fame and richer contracts—athletes lie about how hold they are in order to get a little boost on the competition.
Cheat Ranking: 2.6
Lead with the Helmet
Since this rule is so open-ended, guys do it as much as possible to try and jar the ball loose from a guy's hands or to make a point of coming across the middle of the field.
We've seen plenty of guys get nailed with injuries, fines and suspensions—and it's rightfully getting cracked down on—though it's a part of football players' intimidation, so it's foolish to think it'll just disappear altogether.
Cheat Ranking: 2.8
Steal the Other Team's Signs
It doesn't matter if it's football, basketball or more commonly done in baseball, stealing signs from an opposing team is something that's done almost any chance a player can get.
Cheat Ranking: 3.2
Have a Questionable Substance on Your Uniform
It's unfortunate, but as soon as an pitcher shows some signs of having a breakout year, questions begin to loom as to whether or not that guy is doctoring the ball in some way.
There's been reports lately about Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz doing it, and in the past we've seen pitchers like Joe Niekro and Gaylord Perry famously be questioned for having the ball do some funky stuff.
Cheat Ranking: 3.3
Lie About Your Gender
We've seen it done in movies like Ladybugs and Juwanna Mann before, but did you know it's happened on the Olympic stage before too?
That's right, way back in the 1936 games, German high-jumper Dora Ratjen was actually a man who was competing against women.
It didn't work, as not only did the scheme get busted, but Ratjen failed to medal anyway, finishing fourth.
Cheat Ranking: 3.5
Bite Another Player
After seeing Mike Tyson gnaw off pieces of Evander Holyfield's ear during their 1997 fight, one would think no other athlete would actually try to disguise their nibbling habit.
Alas, we saw Liverpool star Luis Suarez try to get away with it in a match last month when he wrapped his teeth around Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.
For his actions, Suarez received a 10-game ban.
Cheat Ranking: 3.8
Literally "Punch One In"
As one of the most famous missed calls in the history of sports, Diego Maradona's goal against England in the 1986 World Cup quarterfinals is appropriately named the "Hand of God" after the Argentine great knocked in a ball with his hand rather than his head.
It taught us that sometimes celebrating a goal as if it really was one is just as important as trying to argue your case.
Cheat Ranking: 4.1
Pay off the Referees
Most common in events that actually have judges, say, like Olympic sports, this is a practice that some athletes revert to in order to earn victory without actually outperforming their opponents.
A perfect case could be the 2002 Winter Olympic figure skating judging, where a ton of questions are still left unanswered—whether money was behind the officials' decision or not?
Cheat Ranking: 4.2
Whether it was Pete Rose doing it while managing for the Reds way back when, or former NBA official Tim Donaghy doing it on games he was calling, gambling can be a serious problem in sports.
Thankfully, we haven't seen it in a major sport in awhile, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen on a smaller level like when guys bet on card games—which can cause quite the feud sometimes.
Cheat Ranking: 4.5
This one's easy, right?
All an athlete has to do is poke him or herself with a needle a couple times, continue to work out and reap the benefits of being stronger and faster.
The hard part comes when you need to be tested, but getting around that can be easy if you know what you're doing, right Lance?
No matter how much we want to believe athletes are clean, we'll unfortunately continue to see players get busted for trying to get an unfair advantage no matter how hard the whip gets cracked down on testing.
Cheat Ranking: 4.7
Lie About Cheating—And Then Get Caught Anyway
It's one thing to try any of these things listed, but it's another thing to do them, lie about it and then after being proven guilty have to apologize for your actions.
Some guys are dumb enough to have it happen on a grand stage, while others just don't get the message the first time and honestly think they can try to get away with something twice.
Remember, no one wants to be labeled a cheater, so play honestly and there won't be any doubt.
Cheat Ranking: 5