Recently, a significant number of companies have come under public and regulatory scrutiny for backdating stock option grants. This article discusses factors that influenced the dramatic increase in stock option compensation and summarizes the academic research that led to the discovery of backdating. The information gained in this early stage of investigation provides some insight into the number of companies and potential costs of option backdating. Increased transparency and timely disclosure should curtail grant-date manipulation, but the credibility of the disclosure system requires active enforcement of the rules and standards. Investors need accurate, complete disclosures of executive compensation to hold boards of directors accountable for executive compensation.