For some, the rules of fair play are the norm. For others, they never existed. It matters not if it is baseball, football, sailing, Formula One or soccer (the other futbal); the need to win, to be victorious, drives individuals to skirt the rules of fair play and engage in espionage in sports.Mike Rowbottom tells us in his book\u00a0Foul Play\u00a0how the \u201cbronze statues of Zeus which had been erected over the years on the road leading into the stadium at Olympia, where the Games had taken place since 776 BC. These statues were financed through fines extracted from Olympic competitors found to have cheated, and were inscribed with the details of their misdeeds.\u201dLet\u2019s look at some of the more recent examples.Sailing \u2014 Spying in The America\u2019s CupIt seems as if spying is a recurring theme within the sailing world. While open sea sailing may provide an adrenaline rush, it appears inter-team surveillance among America\u2019s Cup participants runs a close second.\u00a0The Guardian tells us\u00a0how the six participating teams in the 2017 America\u2019s Cup, the 35th edition, \u201cmake no apologies for keeping a close eye on one another\u201d as they sail toward the \u201cworld\u2019s oldest trophy.\u201dWhile surveillance as described above is expected and the norm, sometimes teams choose to look a bit more closely. According to The Telegraph, in 2009, Swiss authorities detained a man who \u201cadmitted he was one of a team of spies hired by (Oracle) to illegally break into facilities and take photographs and secure information."During the 2003 edition of the race, The New York Times reported that the U.S. team, OneWorld, was \u201cpenalized for possessing proprietary design information that belonged to rival(s).\u201dFootball \u2014\u00a0Game plans leakedIn mid-November 2016, Wake Forest University complained that their game plan had been leaked to Louisville University. It was then that they began sleuthing to determine how it happened. It didn\u2019t take them long.Sports Illustrated notes, \u201dWake Forest said that radio analyst Tommy Elrod, who has since been dismissed, provided opposing teams 'confidential and proprietary game preparations on multiple occasions' beginning in 2014.\u201dMultiple schools over the course of three years received their opponents' plays. An insider with access broke trust.Why? Elrod was not retained after the 2013 season on the Wake Forest coaching staff when a new coach, Dave Clawson, arrived. To put it succinctly, Elrod was pissed off.In football, and many other walks of life, we regularly see the transfer of the contents of team\u2019s playbooks and signals between competing teams through the leveraging of insider knowledge.They don\u2019t break into the opposing team\u2019s locker rooms and make off with the playbook. No need \u2014\u00a0every player is expected to memorize their playbook; executing on the field is not an open-book exam. Teams wait for their opponent to release a player and the opposition scoops them up for those tidbits of knowledge retained from memorizing the playbook.Really? Yes, really.Here are a couple of examples culled from NFL.com:\u00a0The Miami Dolphins cut a player prior to the start of the regular season. The New York Jets promptly signed the player, released him, and then resigned him to their practice squad. Who were the Jets playing that Sunday night? Yup, you guessed it, the Dolphins.And in the late-1980s, the Buffalo Bills signed a player released by the Dolphins the day before the Bills-Dolphins game. The player was never activated. He was seen in street clothes on the sideline, whispering into the coach\u2019s ear the meaning of every hand-signal from the Dolphins bench.Baseball \u2014\u00a0Computer system hackedIn January 2017, Major League Baseball fined the St. Louis Cardinals $2 million, ordering the Cardinals to pay the sum to the Houston Astros, and gave the Astros two picks in the 2017 draft. Why? The Kansas City Star tells us that Cardinals director of scouting, Christopher Correa, hacked into the Astros computer system.How did he do that? According to a\u00a0Houston Chronicle article,\u00a0Correa hacked into the email of Sig Mejdal, who had transferred to the Astros from the Cardinals. When Majdal left the Cardinals, he turned over his laptop and the passwords\/credentials needed to access the information to Correa, Chron reported.Yes, wait for it. \u00a0In an egregious case of horrible cyber hygiene, Majdal used a similar (guessable) password for access to his Astro email and the \u201cGround Control\u201d player information database.\u00a0What happened to Correa? He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to 46 months in prison and was ordered to pay the Astros $279,038.65.Women\u2019s World Cup Soccer\u00a0\u2014 Secret surveillanceIn 2007, Women's World Cup was taking place in China, and the team from Denmark discovered their team\u2019s conference room was being monitored. Not the discrete microphone in the light or the pinhole camera peeking through the ceiling tiles. No, The New York Times reported\u00a0two men with video cameras were sitting behind a two-way mirror in the hotel conference room. (An aside, during this writer\u2019s last visit to China, his assigned hotel room had been \u201cupgraded\u201d and had 11 mirrors and, coincidentally, was located next to the \u201cutility room.\u201d)The Danish team declined to pursue the issue beyond reporting it to FIFA. However, when China beat Denmark during the competition, the head coach of the Danish team declined to shake hands with the Chinese coach after the match.Formula One\u00a0\u2014 Intellectual property theftWe'll close with one of the most expensive fines every levied as a result of intellectual property theft. Team McLaren Mercedes found itself digging into its pockets to pay the $100 million fine the International Automobile Federation assessed in September 2007. McLaren was found guilty of using data that was purloined from Ferrari, it\u2019s main rival. The New York Times in covering the story\u00a0notes that 780 pages of Ferrari design documents were found in the possession of McLaren\u2019s technical director. How did they come to be in his possession?The Guardian tells us\u00a0a trusted insider within the Ferrari team passed the documents to McLaren's technical director. Why? He was unhappy with organizational changes taking place within Team Ferrari. Vengeance is a powerful motivator for the unhappy insider.No profession is devoid of mischief, and finding espionage in sports is not surprising. Like many industries, insiders come and go with regularity, sometimes directly to a competitor. Perhaps we can learn from the Greeks\u2019 bronze statues of Zeus and use public forums to educate others when new methodologies are discovered in the theft of intellectual property and other sensitive data.