A study published by the American Psychological Association this week found that college athletes are more likely to cheat if they have abusive coaches.
The study also found that “men’s teams were much more willing to cheat than women’s teams,” and that “men’s football, basketball and baseball teams reported the highest willingness to cheat at large universities in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, where players are often under intense pressure to win.”
Almost 20,000 student-athletes from more than 600 colleges took part in the survey, which found that 31 percent of men’s basketball players and 25 percent of women’s basketball players at Division I schools “said their head coaches put them down in front of others.” The study, titles “The Relationship Between Ethical and Abusive Coaching Behaviors and Student-Athlete Well-Being,” only asked about verbal abuse from coaches and did not ask whether coaches actively encouraged or permitted cheating. But it still found a correlation between abusive coaches and cheating by players.
“Players who said they had abusive coaches also were more likely to report that their coaches didn’t create an inclusive team environment and that both their coaches and teammates were less respectful of people from other racial or ethnic groups and less accepting of differing viewpoints and cultures, according to the study,” the APA wrote in a summary of the survey
Abusive coaches again are in the news, more than a year after Rutgers fired men’s basketball coach Mike Rice after video surfaced of him verbally and physically abusing his players. The College of Charleston suspended men’s basketball coach Doug Wojcik without pay for the entire month of August after an in-house investigation found that he “verbally abused players, using threatening, degrading and profane language in dealing with the team — including using a homophobic slur against one player,” the Associated Press reports.