To answer this question, one must first define “cheating” outside of a dictionary. At the core, to “cheat” is to obtain an advantage that you wouldn’t normally have. The method by which the advantage is gained doesn’t matter as much as the reason for the advantage. Digging a little deeper, a person or team may encounter a situation that they are unable to overcome with their current skillset, or that the time constraints do not allow them to resolve. In these cases, they may turn to outside assistance to achieve the objective. Is that wrong? It may or may not be, depending on the specific situation.
Case-in-point: a student must complete a trigonometry exam in order to graduate. While the student received high marks in every other class, and has managed to complete the trigonometry homework without extra assistance, they struggle with the time constraints of tests and exams. Given no time constraint, they have always been able to ...view middle of the document...
Conversely, mobile devices provide a separate method for students to “sneak in” various notes and aids when they’re preparing for an exam. Many schools have gone to great lengths to limit the accessibility of these devices to students to avoid the potential for unscrupulous use. However, they must be careful not to infringe on the student’s basic rights; for example, assuming the student is “cheating” when they are really answering an emergency message.
In sports, “cheating” is usually identified by the use of certain medications or physical aids that artificially enhance the performance of the athlete. For example, boxers who add extra materials to the inside of their taped fists or even the gloves, or runners who take substances that prevent them from getting fatigued as fast. The use of anabolic steroids has been raised in the news and media for many years as a way for athletes to “cheat” by enhancing not only their physique, but their performance. Numerous laws have been passed barring the sale and/or use of steroids and other similar substances, not only for the thought that they let a person “cheat”, but also because of the side effects on the body and the mind. A counter argument to this is that the person must still have the underlying talent to perform the activity, and because knowledge and experience can’t be artificially implanted (at least not at this point in our evolution), the advantage is trivial and can be countered.
So what’s the takeaway to all of this? The initial question doesn’t have a fixed answer. It has only a perception: depending on the situation, the alleged “cheater” and the observer(s) of the behavior, there may actually be no “cheating”, at least as perceived. The observer may consider the behavior morally wrong, especially if they have a vested interest in the activity (for example, a basketball team manager), but not necessarily consider it “cheating” if they believe that whatever the “cheater” did is mitigated by other factors (for example, a steroid user who has limited basketball experience or training). It then comes down to a moral, personal opinion of each individual, both affected and affecting, as to the behavior and impact thereof.