Thursday, January 13, 2011

Polygraph = Anti-Corruption Tool?

Does the polygraph (aka lie detector machine) have to potential to be used as an anti-corruption tool in sports? According to a recent Guardian article by Andy Wilson and Rob Bagchi, the answer appears to be "yes." The plan was hatched after reports of match-fixing in the sport of cricket.

The news column caught my eye because I suggested something similar in a recent paper regarding possible bias by NBA referees. In relevant part, I wrote the following:

In the absence of collaboration in the form of direct evidence, the prima facie showing could be rebutted by an innocuous explanation. The analysis here merely lends itself to the formation of a rebuttable presumption. Without more, such analysis is uncorroborated. A subsequent investigation that includes personal interviews, polygraph tests, or the like would be necessary to conclusively ascertain whether any insidious conduct occurred.

Including such a "polygraph provision" in any league-union CBA would be unlikely, but may be an option if corruption ever reaches this level, as reported by Eric Pfanner of the New York Times in the context of European soccer.