Two men in Ohio were sentenced to jail time and fined thousands of dollars after cheating in a fishing tournament. Jacob Runyan, 43, and Chase Cominsky, 36, were willing to go to extreme lengths to win the Lake Erie Walleye Trail tournament in September of 2022. However, in a dramatic turn of events, their illegal tactics were caught on video by the tournament director.

After the suspicious weight of the walleyes caught by Runyan and Cominsky, the tournament director had no choice but to investigate. Upon further examination, the fish were found to have been stuffed with lead weights and extra fish filets. This disqualification and humiliation were just the beginning of the consequences that Runyan and Cominsky would face.

Fast forward to March of 2023, and both men have pleaded guilty to cheating and unlawfully owning wild animals. The accusations of cheating raise suspicions that the two have been doing this in other tournaments and events. As a result, the men were sentenced to ten days in jail; faced forfeiture of Cominsky’s $130,000 boat, the maximum three-year suspension of their fishing licenses, one and a half years’ probation post-release and also fined $2,500 each.

Prosecutor Michael O’Malley expressed his disdain for the men and suggested that they be banned from future fishing tournaments for life. Although Ohio law only permits suspending a fishing license for a maximum of three years, O’Malley stated that “these two deserve to have their fishing license suspended for life, the law only allows a maximum of three years”. He went on to say, “they are thieves, and now they are convicted felons.”

This fraudulent behavior has more than a monetary impact on the winner of the tournament. The act of cheating takes away from the spirit of the competition, and the actions of Runyan and Cominsky hurt other competitors who were playing fairly. Cheating in a sports competition implies an insult to the morality and principles of the sport, and competitive trust is an essential factor in all types of sports.

There are no two ways about it; the men were caught red-handed cheating and tried to play the awards system. The consequences that they faced leave no room for doubt in their criminal behavior and establish an example to anyone considering cheating in a fishing tournament.