The recent sports scandals at a number of universities and the scope of alleged violations against one school in particular has reminded me once again of the greatest attribute of a real winner and the title of a book written in 2005 by Jon M. Huntsman, Winners Never Cheat. This is true in every area of life. Huntsman says, “Forget about who finishes first and who finishes last. Decent honorable people finish races-and their lives-in grand style and with respect” (Huntsman, 2005, p.14). It is the leaders in every area of life that should be setting the example. Huntsman states, “True leaders ought not worry greatly about occasional mistakes, but they must vigilantly guard against those things that will make them feel ashamed” (Huntsman, 2005, p. 56).
People and institutions that do everything with integrity and honor are always winners, regardless of the other ways winning may be defined. One of this country’s greatest
past leaders, Theodore Roosevelt, put it this way. “Americanism means the virtues of courage,
honor, justice, truth, sincerity, and hardihood-the virtues that made America. The things that will destroy America are prosperity-at-any-price…the love of soft living and the get-rich-quick theory of life.”
Another practice in the college sports world that has become common place involves athletes giving a verbal commitment to a school and then changing their minds on signing day to commit to another university. This is appalling. In a chapter in his book about keeping your
word Huntsman says, “Individual and corporate integrity must become the hallmark of the marketplace. A handshake should always be as binding as a signed legal document. When a handshake is given, it must be honored-at all costs. When you shake hands, the negotiating is over. Your word is your greatest asset; honesty is your best virtue” (Huntsman, 2005, p. 85).
* Huntsman, Jon M., Winners Never Cheat