Sports cheating has long been a part of history throughout the world, but it is a subject that historians have only engaged with for about fifty years. Although historians have studied how and to what severity sports cheating occurs, nobody has looked at sports cheating and the specific effects it may have on involved parties. Many historians also do not look at why organizations use sports cheating when they know it is illegal. My argument asserts that organizations use sports cheating in order to achieve some sort of institutional advancement. This IS draws on existing scholarship in the form of secondary research that focuses on the history of sports cheating as well as the histories of my two specific case studies. My two case studies are the University of Southern California cheating scandal, in which Reggie Bush received cash compensation in order to attend and play football at USC, and my Russia case study, in which Russian Olympic athletes were part of a hidden elaborate doping scandal facilitated by the Russian state. My two case studies show sports cheating in foreign and domestic contexts in different scales. Additionally, this IS draws on my own analysis of primary sources of coverage of my two case studies, such as reports, newspaper articles, interviews, and other forms of primary coverage of the scandals. In a world where institutions are always trying to become superior, my study helps explain how institutions use sports cheating in order to achieve this effect.


Holt, Katie




Russia, USC, Sports Cheating, Institutional Advancement

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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