COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — New research conducted for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency finds that Americans rank the use of performance-enhancing drugs as the most serious problem facing sports today.
USADA commissioned a study that surveyed about 9,000 Americans — including adults, children, athletes, coaches and teachers — to measure the impact sports has on values and culture in the U.S.
The study released Tuesday found that 75 percent of adults surveyed agreed that athletes’ use of performance-enhancing drugs is a violation of ethics in sports. They ranked the use of PEDs as most serious problem in sports, followed by the focus on money and criminal behavior of well-known athletes.
Nearly 90 percent of adults surveyed agreed that well-known athletes have a responsibility to be positive role models for young people.
“This research reinforces that Americans care about the integrity of sport and what it means in our society,” USADA CEO Travis Tygart said.
The study was conducted by Discovery Education, on behalf of USADA.
The USADA report said more than 60 percent of adults claim some relationship to sport-related activity and 25 percent of those are active participants, parents of kids who participate in sports, coaches or volunteers.
Sixty percent of adults said sports promote positive values, while four out of five said they can teach valuable life lessons.
The survey also did extensive questioning about ethics in sports.
It found nearly two-thirds of adults agree sports overemphasize the importance of winning, while 20 percent have admitted to cheating and 41 percent who admitted to it said they were motivated by their desire to be a winner.
The USADA report said the “willingness to prioritize winning, at the sacrifice of ethics and health, erodes our trust in sport and its inherent value. In the United States, there is no doubt that we face a doping problem. The question is, to what extent is this but one extreme symptom in our country of a greater epidemic — an ethics issue?”