Ten of the Biggest Sports Scandals

With the suspension of Manny Ramirez, I felt it was a good time to take a look back at some of the biggest scandals in sports history. Everyone does their own list, this is my version.

10. Danny Almonte

The Rolando Paulino All Stars from the Bronx, NY was led into the Little League World Series by their star pitcher, Danny Almonte, who dominated district, state, and regional levels. He led them to a third place finish at the World Series. However proof that Almonte was actually 14, which would make him two years older than the age limit, surfaced and was eventually proven true. This makes the list for the fact that even the youth aren’t beyond scandal. Today Almonte can be found at Western Oklahoma State College where he pitches and plays right field, but his name will always be known with the LL scandal.

9. University of Minnesota Basketball Academic scandal

While coach at the University of Minnesota, members of the basketball team and many associated with the team were involved in academic fraud that hurt not only the coach, the players, but the school, including professors. A scandal like this took away the phrase “student athlete” and brought many sanctions against the school. It also tarnished the reputation of the school and especially Coach Clem Haskins.

8. Salt Lake City

Once in awhile in sports, being a criminal can pay off. Like in the bribery scandal that took place in Salt Lake City, which helped them get the 2002 Olympic bid. It brought great shame to the Olympic committee and changed the way cities were awarded bids in the future.

7. Pete Rose

“I have never bet on Baseball.” These words were uttered by the great Pete Rose at a time when he was being accused of betting on the game he “loved” so much. Major League Baseball commissioner, A. Bartlett Giamatti, said his investigators found these words to be lies from Rose. Either way, baseball’s all-time hit king signed an agreement declaring him permanently ineligible from baseball, and effectively, the Baseball Hall of Fame. It is a travesty that he is not in the Hall of Fame, but shows that honesty is the best policy.

6. Ben Johnson Fails drug test

Johnson, Canada’s greatest sprinter ever, won the 100 meters at the 1988 Games in Seoul, South Korea, in world record (9.79 seconds) time , but was later disqualified for using banned performance-enhancing drugs. Three days later, American Carl Lewis, who finished second, was given the gold medal. It was a sad day for Canada and for the sport of running. Source

5.Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan

Tonya Harding hired some thugs in an attempt to injure rival Nancy Kerrigan and eliminate her from the 1994 Games in figure skating. The result was a ton of negative media attention for Harding, but helped give those Olympics the highest television rating. The committee did allow Harding to participate and Kerrigan was recovered and able to as well, but both lost to Oksana Baiul.

4. SMU Football scandal

From Wikipedia:

SMU football had already been placed on three years’ probation in 1985 for recruiting violations. At the time, it had been on probation seven times (including five times since 1974), more than any other school in Division I-A. However, in 1986, SMU faced allegations that players were still being paid. An investigation found that 21 players received approximately $61,000 in cash payments, with the assistance of athletic department staff members, from a slush fund provided by a booster. Payments ranged from $50 to $725 per month, and started only a month after SMU went on its original probation (though it later emerged that a slush fund had been maintained in one form or another since the mid-1970s). Also, SMU officials lied to NCAA officials about when the payments stopped. While the school had assured the NCAA that players were no longer being paid, the school’s board of governors, led by chairman Bill Clements, decided that the school had to honor previous commitments made to the players. However, under a secret plan adopted by the board, the school would phase out the slush once all players that were still being paid had graduated.The infractions committee cited the need to “eliminate a program that was built on a legacy of wrongdoing, deceit and rule violations” as a factor in what is still the harshest penalty ever meted out to any major collegiate program. It also cited SMU’s past history of violations and the “great competitive advantage” the Mustangs had gained as a result of cheating. However, it praised SMU for cooperating fully with the investigation, as well as its stated intent to run a clean program. Had SMU not fully cooperated, it would have had its football program shut down until 1989, and would have lost its right to vote at NCAA conventions until 1990…”

This brought great shame to the school, the players, the coaches, and even the NCAA.

3. Black Sox Scandal of 1919

In 1919 eight members from the Chicago White Sox were bribed by Arnold Rothstein, to lose the World Series on purpose the Cincinnati Reds. This scandal stunned America, first because at the time baseball was the greatest thing around, and also because it cost the nation it’s innocence. The movie Eight Men Out was based on the 1919 scandal.

2. Tim Donaghy

From Wikipedia:

Donaghy resigned from the league on July 9, 2007 prior to reports of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for allegations that he bet on games that he officiated during his last two seasons and that he made calls affecting the point spread in those games. On August 15, 2007, Donaghy pleaded guilty to two federal charges related to the investigation. However, he could face more charges at the state level if it is determined that he deliberately miscalled individual games. Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison on July 29, 2008.

He also came out and publicly said that he was not the only ref involved in this and that even the commissioner was aware that it was going on.

1. MLB and Steroids

Baseball’s steroids scandal has taken down many of the best players of the past two decades and tainted the entire era. The Mitchell Report identified 86 users of performance-enhancing drugs, including Roger Clemens, who may face perjury charges for lying to Congress about steroid use. Not only is this the biggest “scandal” in sports history, but also one of the saddest. It shows that people will do whatever it takes, no matter the cost to “perform at a high level”. The newest member of this scandal is great hitter Manny Ramirez. Who on May 7 was suspended for 50 games. Source