In sports, fixing the game is the ultimate sin, and all sports leagues work hard to prevent contests from being decided by anything other than the skill and the effort of the players and coaches. No sport survives for long if it does not make the delight of its fans its central purpose, the perception of unfairness is fatal to fans’ appreciation of the game. For this reason, a recently uncovered point shaving scheme (where gamblers pay players to underperform) in college basketball, and referee scandals and a systematic home-field bias found in World Cup soccer could be seen as serious threats. At the same time, a player succumbing to the lure of easy money, or a referee caving to the pressure of tens of thousands of local partisans can be explained by individual weakness, not necessarily as a sign of a systemic problem. Bias and cheating are impossible to eliminate entirely, but leagues can preserve their own reputations through careful adoption and enforcement of fair rules to ensure the integrity of games. Of greater concern, however, is when the public begins to associate the unfairness with the management of the league itself, which becomes a matter of corporate governance.
If you are a subscriber click here to login and read the complete article. For more information about the JSFB click here or contact us to learn more about Cornerstone’s research and service offering.