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Arkansas A.D. Says Report On Crime “Misleading”

Yesterday, posted a report detailing a six month investigation (by and CBS News) into the criminal records of a number of college football players.  The report used only the teams ranked in SI’s preseason Top 25 last year.  Background checks were done on more than 2,800 players on the those teams’ rosters.

It was found that Arkansas had 18 players on its roster who had been arrested or charged with a crime at one time or another, the second-highest number on the list.  Now Razorback athletic director Jeff Long has issued a response.

“The University of Arkansas has high standards and expectations for all of its students, including those who take part in intercollegiate athletics,” Long said via statement.  “When a student violates the law or the student conduct code, they are held accountable.  Students who participate in intercollegiate athletics are also held accountable to our student-athlete conduct code.”

“The Sports Illustrated/CBS News article on Top 25 football programs cited 18 members of the Razorback football team who had violated the law.  While I am in no way dismissing or rationalizing the infractions, I do want the public to know the nature of those infractions.”

Of the 18 players arrested, UA says seven were picked up on traffic violations that did not involved any illegal substances, three were arrested for driving while intoxicated, five were picked up on charges involving the illegal use or possession of alcohol, two was picked up for marijuana possession and one was nabbed for shoplifting.

“It is worth noting that none of these violations involved acts of violence,” Long said.  “Unfortunately, the article placed our students in a misleading context, one which failed to distinguish the nature and severity of violations from those featured in the story.”

I have no problem with Long explaining the arrests or defending his program.  That’s his job.  Also, Arkansas had no charges of violence, a claim not all schools can make.

But looking at this as a larger issue — which was the point of the SI/CBS piece — wouldn’t it be better if there were fewer arrests in college football?  Wouldn’t it be better if college coaches were a little more selective and less likely to chase recruits who’ve had run-ins with the law during high school?

And aren’t the answers to those questions self-evident?


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