The Most Infamous Professional Sports Cheating Scandals

Over 2.1K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Most Infamous Professional Sports Cheating Scandals

Where ever there is competition, there will sadly and inevitably be cheating. And just because professional athletes are deified in the media doesn't mean professional sports doesn't see plenty of it. From MLB, to NBA, to NASCAR... all sports have been tainted by pro sports cheaters. This list of professional sports scandals will highlight all of those memorable moments these athletes would probably rather forget.

The first rule of soccer is you can't use your hands. Diego Maradona didn't listen to this, and won the 1986 World Cup thanks in part to a deliberate hand ball. Lance Armstrong, bicycle racing's most accomplished athlete, won his seven Tour De France titles thanks to performance enhancing substances. Even the Olympics have been plagued by athletes lying about their gender.

Despite all these unfortunate cases of exposed scandal, cheating in professional sports doesn't appear to be slowing down. Even in 2015, the New England Patriots were caught deflating footballs to their preferred weight and feel which was outside of regulations. So what's the deal? Is there anything that can possibly be done to keep sports honest?

Do you think professional sports cheating scandals are part of the game? Are they simply inevitable? Or do they taint sports forever? Vote up the scandals you think were the most destructive to the sports world at large, and leave your opinion on professional cheating in the comments section below. 

Photo: Metaweb / GNU Free Documentation License

  • 1
    641 VOTES

    Spain Cheats at the 2000 Paralympics

    Spain Cheats at the 2000 Paralympics
    Photo: Sport the library / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Spain won the gold medal at the 2000 Paralympics for basketball, but were eventually stripped of their title after it was found that 10 out of 12 players on the team did not qualify as disabled. The ten players deliberately failed an IQ test which allowed them to play.

    Once the scandal was unraveled, Spain was disqualified and was ordered to return the medals.

    641 votes
  • 2
    674 VOTES

    Rosie Ruiz Wins the Boston Marathon by Taking the Subway

    Rosie Ruiz Wins the Boston Marathon by Taking the Subway
    Video: YouTube
    Rosie Ruiz won the 1980 Boston Marathon, but was stripped of the title after it was discovered she left the race, took the subway, then got back in the race miles later. The time was immediately put into question after it was discovered it was 20 minutes faster than her previous personal record. Ruiz denies cheating to this day.
    674 votes
  • 3
    536 VOTES

    NBA Referee Bets on Games He Officiated

    In 2007, ithe NBA discovered their own referee, Tim Donaghy, bet on games in which he officiated from 2003-2007. Donaghy was sentenced to 15 months in prison. 
    536 votes
  • 4
    588 VOTES

    Nancy Kerrigan Maliciously Attacked at the 1994 Olympics

    In 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was attacked by a man with a baton and was forced out of the 1994 U.S. Figure Skating Championship. The culprit was sent by rival skater Tonya Harding's husband. While Harding denied participation, she was found guilty of obstructing the investigation and was later banned from the sport by the U.S. Olympic Committee.

    588 votes
  • 5
    701 VOTES

    Lance Armstrong Uses Illicit Substances

    Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France seven times, but ultimately was stripped of his titles after it was discovered in 2012 that Armstrong was doping the whole time. While Armstrong never failed a drug test during his career, it was discovered that Armstrong was part of a cover-up. Armstrong also lost sponsorships from Nike and Anheuser-Busch.
    701 votes
  • 6
    361 VOTES

    East Germany's Doping Problem

    East Germany's Doping Problem
    Photo: JD Lasica / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 2.0
    Despite never getting caught in the act, the East German Women's Swim Team won 32 gold medals between 1976-1988 as a result of doping. The doping was revealed after the reunification of Germany. Such dominance in women's swimming has never since been repeated.
    361 votes