Eh, "If You're Gonna Cheat, Don't Get Caught" and "Don't Cheat Too Much, or Too Little, Just Enough?"
As our Jayhawks ready for Kentucky in the Shoe Whore Classic, er, Champions Classic in the cradle of college basketball point shaving, er, New York, where pressitutes, er, journalists appear to often broadcast and write bet-balancing spin, as well as click and eye ball bait, I am discouraged by, er, reminded of two old bromides related to me by a long time basketball fan that were supposedly attributed to a hall of fame, Division One basketball coach, on the one hand, and a deal maker in business, on the other.
It was a Hall of Fame, D1 basketball coach that reputedly said, " If you’re gonna cheat, don’t get caught." (Note: I have no idea who it was.) This was supposedly one of those phrases of legacy wisdom said with a wink and wry grin in an off the record remark in response to a question about that coach’s attitude toward recruiting. In hearing the second hand recounting, it appeared one of those deflecting, non admission kinds of admissions that successful persons in leadership in many walks of life appear skillful at delivering, so as to simultaneously ingratiate themselves with a little too-direct questioner and to make the questioner vaguely complicit in a corrupt system. It hinted at a kind of don’t-ask-don’t-tell ethic IMHO.
I increasingly suspect most D1 head basketball coaches still adhere to this bromide. Why? First, old habits die hard, don’t they? In all of the old books about college basketball corruption, at least the ones I have read, written prior to our modern age, things were, shall we say, ethically challenged. Today, when our presstitutes, er, journalists simply omit all mention of corruption, whenever feasible, and often when glaringly not, the old muck raking journalists seem to on the nose. The old journalists made clear that some cheating was universal in recruiting and in keeping athletically gifted players shortchanged in the brain case eligible, and some point shaving when on involving players, referees, and coaches in games" that didn’t matter." The bad guys in the old days were the ones that went above and beyond some norm of “acceptable” cheating. The sort of good guys just cheated enough to create a level playing field. The Dudley Do-Rights didn’t cheat at all and took pride in building character, rather than impressive W&L Statements.
The second bromide, “Don’t Cheat Too Much, or Too Little, Just Enough,” is one most kids learn by the end of k-8 grade school. If you don’t ever cheat, or don’t at least lie at lunch that you have, the other kids view you as an untrustworthy goody-two-shoes, and they will never back you up, when you do something wrong at recess. Persons that are TOO pious and morally upright make others feel uneasy and dirty in comparison. Thus they long for the too pious and morally upright to be taken down a notch. Hence, there is an unwritten rule. Never crib too many answers from the bright student seated on your right. You don’t want the teacher to keep seeing your eyes looking right, and then comparing your test answers to the student’s test answers to the right of you and discovering they are the same. Put another way, you don’t want to cheat so much that you appear as smart as the genius on your right. Classrooms are not supposed to be filled with geniuses. There are supposed to be normal distributions. Teachers are supposed to find the geniuses, not make them. If a teacher has too many geniuses in class, the administration gets suspicious that the teacher is grading too easy and trying to game the system him/herself. The savvy grade schooler realizes the teacher can effortlessly compare both tests, track the cheating, and can effortlessly mark his test with an F. And when he objects, the savvy teacher hammers him/her with “I saw your eyes wandering to the student on your right several times and your test answers mirror his.” The savvy teacher then asks if the student wants to say anything further, or if he/she would like the teacher to schedule a meeting with his/her parents and the teacher to discuss this unfortunate issue further? At that point, the guilty student has no option but to accept the F, as a fait accompli ,and move on with the knowledge that the teacher will be checking all of the student’s future tests and watching the student like a hawk. Savvy grade school students learn from this experience, or more often from witnessing the experiences of others less savvy, that the way to cheat during a test is to crib answers from the smart student next door, but to vary a few intentionally, AND glance in several directions, also, simulating moderate, unfocused insecurity. The savvy grade school student then confidently hands the effectively cheated examination into the teacher humbly, but with just enough eye contact, not too much, to let the teacher save face in thinking the student probably wasn’t cheating, and then the student exits without showing hubris until outside in the hall and telling friends that he can’t be sure, but he feels he did pretty good. This is the experienced, savvy way to cheat that a teacher has to honor as an aspect of academic accomplishment and polish, and that fellow students will not report a student for, because it is how they too have cheated. It is a mature recognition on the part of a grade school student that the system is corrupt, that no one is ever going to change it, because changing it would mean the higher ups would get in trouble (i.e., have to admit the corruption in their classroom), and that only a sap refuses to accept the reality of corruption in a grade school, or in Division One. Another way of putting this second bromide is that a corrupt system encourages one to show that one is smart enough to figure out how to cheat one’s way to a level playing field, but not to glaring advantage, and simultaneously to consent to being compromised by the corrupt system to the point of being trusted by all the others complicit in the corrupted system.
It takes awhile for a grade school student to become savvy. It takes experience and testing the boundaries a little to find out exactly where they are. Neither school administration, nor teachers, pass out the unwritten rules to tolerated cheating; this is part of the test of grade school. One is being informally and subtlely tested to see if one is smart enough to figure them out on one’s own. It is kind of like a pre-requisite one either has, or does not have.
I look forward to the KU-Kentucky game tonight as a good early test with its two highly successful teaching coaches matching wits with their two, talented rosters of student athletes. UK seems to have a little less OAD depth than usual the last few seasons, but nevertheless represents a solid challenge. KU seems to have a little more size inside than recent years and its inconspicuously typical above average array of perimeter players. KU and UK seem a little more evenly paired than other times. Self and Cal appear increasingly savvy. May the better coach and team win.
(Note: all fiction and satire. No malice.)