MSHSAA sees teaching opportunities in Deflategate
COLUMBIA - One of the bigger storylines leading up to Super Bowl 49 has been the cheating controversy surrounding the New England Patriots. The cheating accusations deal with whether or not they deflated footballs to their advantage during the AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.
The controversy has dominated sports talk shows on television and radio, not to mention regular news and entertainment programming. This could lead to young athletes being bombarded with news about cheating involving athletes they might look up to.
There has not been any major sports cheating scandals in the mid-Missouri area, but the Missouri State High School Activities Association is not wasting time to use the event as a teaching tool for student athletes.
"The decision-making and considering consequences and things like that are things that they build on, and this is just one more example that they have to use to get the students to think big picture," said Jason West, MSHSAA spokesman.
West said MSHSAA has several programs in place to teach the student-athletes about responsibilities, such as bringing the National Guard and ROTC to speak, teaching a curriculum aimed at teaching the responsibilities of being student-athletes, and learning time management. West said one of the programs teaches the student-athletes how to deal with stress, which he said is one of the factors that might lead them to want to cut corners.
West said there is a simple way of teaching the student-athletes about cheating using the controversy surrounding the Patriots.
"Taking a look at the bigger picture," he said. "What was done, what rules were broken. You know, the saying goes, 'Cheating is only a failure if you don't learn anything from it.'"
He said it is important to teach kids about the consequences that come with cheating, and that there will always be consequences, even if they are not immediate. West said it is an advantage to have experienced coaches who are very knowledgeable. He said another positive is that most of the coaches spend a lot of time with the student-athletes and know them well.
KOMU 8 News made several attempts to reach psychologists to explain the impact cheating in professional sports could have on children, but none wished to comment.