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And Another Thing

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Ethics 101, your seminar for today

OK, class, here's the question: Did this guy cheat?

The Connecticut high school ruling body thinks so, suspending him for one game for cribbing off a play list that fell off an opposing player and was found by one of his own players.

Surely it gave him an advantage. But was it really cheating, or did he just take advantage of a lucky break?

I mean, teams trade game film all the time so they can study what an upcoming opponent is going to do. So it's not like anyone has state secrets out there. If you already know what an opponent's likely to do in any given situation, how much of an unfair advantage is it to have an actual play list?

I'm not asking that rhetorically. I really want to know, because, having not seen the play list myself, I don't know if it was the actual plays the oppposing team was running in sequence, or just a list of options for certain situations.

If it's the latter, I don't see how having it would tell you that much more than you'd gleaned from watching the game film. And if it's the former ...

Well. I can't help thinking, as a confirmed Civil War nerd, about the time George B. McClellan stumbled onto Robert E. Lee's orders to his troops right before the Battle of Antietam. Even with Lee's troop movements and manpower dispositions in hand, the best Little Mac could manage was a tie.

At least the guy in Connecticut won.

Ben Smith's blog.

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