Cheating generally describes various actions designed to subvert rules in order to obtain unfair advantages. This includes acts of bribery, cronyism and nepotism in any situation where individuals are given preference using inappropriate criteria. The rules infringed may be explicit, or they may be from an unwritten code of conduct based on morality, ethics or custom, making the identification of cheating conduct a potentially subjective process. Cheating can refer specifically to infidelity. Someone who is known for cheating is referred to as a cheat in British English, and a cheater in American English. A person described as a "cheat" doesn't necessarily cheat all the time, but rather, relies on deceitful tactics to the point of acquiring a reputation for it.
In 1993 it was reported in the USA that 83% of all undergraduates at MIT cheated at least once in their college careers. The 1994 investigation into one of the largest cheating scandals at the USA Naval Academy, renowned for its sacred Honour Code, implicated 133 midshipmen, or about 15% of the graduating class of 1992. The incident was followed by a campaign of lying and collusion in cover-up involving even its superintendent. Officials were alleged to have mishandled the subsequent investigation to foster an impression of favouritism toward football players who cheated. In 1994 a survey of students at one university in the UK found that 12% admitted cheating in examinations by copying from a neighbour, 8% had taken in crib sheets, 5% had whispered answers to neighbours.