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Banning Russia From The Olympics Won’t Stop Doping

On Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) handed down a unanimous decision to ban Russia from all major international sporting events for the next four years, including the 2020 and 2022 Olympics and the 2022 World Cup. Individual athletes may still be able to compete in these events, but they will need to do so as “neutral” athletes, not representatives of Russia.

While this is the most severe punishment Russia has received as a result of an ongoing doping scandal, some members of the Olympics community did not feel the punishment was severe enough. The team grapples with methods to disincentivize cheating and the parallels playing out in both our political and athletic arenas.

On Sunday, the College Football Playoff selection committee announced what may have been the least controversial playoff field ever: LSU, Ohio State, Clemson and Oklahoma. Is this proof that the system works? We challenged the playoff structure previously on the show, which means that today, we’re taking down one of our own hot takes.

Our Rabbit Hole is a deep dive into intradivisional penalties in the NFL. Some divisions are tougher than others — but it might not be the ones you expect.

What we’re looking at this week:

  • This episode of “The Daily” catalogues Russia’s doping scheme during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
  • The Athletic assesses if the College Football Playoffs should stay at four teams.
  • An explanation of the fight that led to our Rabbit Hole.

Grace Lynch is the former producer of Hot Takedown.

Sara Ziegler is the former sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Geoff Foster is the former sports editor of FiveThirtyEight.

Chadwick Matlin was a deputy managing editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Maya Sweedler is a senior editor at FiveThirtyEight.