I was thinking about this in the shower, and will type this when I really should be getting to work.
Orienteering is a sport where it is impossible to ensure fairness. The very nature of the sport means it is impossible to watch all of the people all of the time, and ensure that they are not breaking any of the "gentleman's" rules we have in place, like following, communication, and navigating by devices other than a map or compass.
The ongoing GPS debate reminds me of a similarly irritating and long winded one on nopesport a year or so ago, where people were seen to cross walls that weren't allowed to be crossed on a Lakeland fell. Some of the walls on the map were allowed, some were not. The problem is that there are two kinds of orienteers - the first, and the most numerate are those who cross because they're either not sure where they are, or because the information on the map does not provide clear enough information about what they should be doing there. The second, are those who will cross to gain an advantage, regardless of what the rules say, and thus fall into the cheater bracket, as opposed to the hapless and a little incompetent bracket.
There will always be a small number of the latter in orienteering. But it makes no sense to rule with an iron fist on behalf of that small population, who will find a way to get round the rules when they are unseen regardless of what they say. We can make another gentleman's rule, and the majority of people will go along with that, upholding the nature of the sport as they always have done.
Since I joined US orienteering, there have been at least three incidents of what I would regard as blatant cheating, that were well known to many people at the event, and yet no disqualifications or actions were taken. Two of these things would be very easy to regulate against.
The first is less easy to regulate - one orienteer who was in contention for the US team last year, is incredibly well known from communicating in the forest. In my very first A meet, I was asked who I was, what course I was running, and which control I had just visited. I mumbled something and ran off, but this person is known, in fact very fondly, for behaving like this all the time. This is "cheating."
The latter too are easy to legislate against. At one selection meet, someone was unhappy with their start positions every day. On the last day, they "forget" something important, miss their start, and are restarted after the group they were due to start before. Whatever the reason, this is cheating. In understand this individual took matters into his own hands after protesting through appropriate channels first. Making start times fixed at A meets prevents this happening again. Someone at the British Middle champs took 2hr 50 minutes for this very reason last weekend.
The final was at Franklin Park, where many people were seen to cross the wall just after they passed through the arena. Whether they are climbable or not, thick black lines in ISSOM mean "do not cross," and these people were cheating. Taking down numbers would have enabled this to be done. I don't believe any of these people were advertantly breaking the rules, more that ISSOM is not used regularly enough here for them to know what it means, especially in the heat of a race. So correct mapping standards used consistently, and re-iteration of these points in the start lanes could increase fairness, again very easily.
This is a very long winded way of saying - in orienteering, people will always cheat, whether inadvertently or purposefully. Since I have come here, there are very glaring omissions of rules that leads to unfairness, which could be easily policed. GPS watches are not one of these rules, and rely on orienteers being good people. Which in the end, we mostly are. That is the nature of the sport. There are far more pressing things for OUSA to be concerned about, such as only needing to finish an A meet to win a prize in F18/F20, than legislating over things that cannot be policed.
Oh heck. Now I should really go to work.