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Arkansas Led The SEC’s Top Teams In… Arrested Players On The Roster?

Sports Illustrated and CBS News have just wrapped a six-month investigation into college football.  The two parties took SI’s 2010 preseason Top 25 and did criminal background checks on all 2,837 players on those teams’ rosters.  Some of their findings included:


* 7% of players (one out of every 14) in last year’s preseason Top 25 poll “had been charged or cited for a crime, including dozens of players with multiple arrests.”

* Of the 277 incidents uncovered, nearly 40% “involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes such as assault and battery (25 cases), domestic violence (6), aggravated assault (4), robbery (4) and sex offenses (3).”  The report also states that there were 41 charges of property crimes such as burglary and theft.


In case you didn’t know it by now, college coaches tend to give a lot of guys second- and third- and fourth-chances.  Some — like Houston Nutt — will tell you they’re in the business helping people, but in reality, coaches are in the business of winning and they’ll sign just about anybody with talent regardless of their criminal history.

But let’s focus in on the SEC here.  Last year, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and LSU were in SI’s preseason Top 25.  Of those four squads, Arkansas led (?) the way with 18 players on its roster who had been arrested/charged with a crime at one time or another.  The Razorbacks’ total tied with Iowa for second place on the “most arrests” list behind only Pittsburgh (22 players who had been charged). 

Florida’s roster featured seven lawbreakers, Alabama’s five and LSU’s three.  Of the 25 teams in the poll, only TCU had a squeaky clean roster with nary a jailbird on the squad.

The piece is worth a read as it raises an all too familiar question: Does college football really have anything to do with a university’s true mission?

Of course it doesn’t.  College football is a breadwinner, a donation-getter, and a huge advertising vehicle for schools.  But there’s not a school in the country that would go out and actively seek regular students who’ve been charged with violent crimes.  A and B just don’t jive.

At MrSEC.com, we love us some college football.  But that doesn’t mean the sport isn’t overdue for a good bath. 

An 85-man roster featuring 18 players who’ve been arrested or charged with a crime?  It’s hard to defend that.  (Though we know folks will.)

 


11 comments
David Fayad
David Fayad

I don't know anything about Pitt or Iowa. However, at Arkansas, of the violations involving the 18 student-athletes:

· Seven were traffic violations that did not involve alcohol or any other illegal substances
· Three additional violations involved driving a vehicle under the influence of alcohol
· Five involved illegal use or possession of alcohol
· Two involved marijuana possession
· One involved shoplifting

It is worth noting that none of these violations involved any acts of violence. 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.

Very Misleading...

David
David

The article's essential premise: college football programs attract a dangerous element to campus. They were careful to qualify the rather even racial divide, which insulates them from charges (note that I said charges - as John will attest, people will charge anything) of race-baiting. Still, it's a lower percentage than the normal population, if I read the article (7% versus 11%).

What I still do not know after reading the article - what exactly is the problem and solution? Is the problem exposing other people on campus to dangerous criminals? Is the problem simply that it looks bad? Is the problem that people who do not deserve an opportunity for a college education are getting a free ride? It's a bunch of anecdotes and mildly interesting statistics proving.... what?

If the NCAA wants to stipulate that GIA's cannot be offered to people with a violent criminal act on their record, then they absolutely have that right. Alternatively, they could require such cases to be reviewed at the NCAA level, sort of like a special eligibility proceeding. Do you think that's a good thing, weighing the benefits and costs?

JW...
JW...

There is a big difference in arrests/charges and convictions. I think the article should be more based on convictions, you know that whole innocent until proven guilty thing.

D-Ram
D-Ram

Found my other bone. I get it. Work the headline, don't worry about the facts on the inside. I say that only because you like to "sleep at night." Once I read your article (which I look at all of them everyday when they are sent to my phone automatically-that's how much I like this site-I digress), I checked out SI.com. To my amazement, Arkansas had 18 arrests/charges among the team. Yet the sleeper has them at 22 in the article, which would lead the country with Pitt.

By the way, I'm a UT grad.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

D-Ram...

No. That was a typo. Since corrected. Thanks. Obviously I referred to the 18 arrests later in the story and I said that put Arkansas behind Pitt's 22. I was looking at 22 and typed 22 instead of 18.

But linking to the story kind of proves we weren't out to spread false info.

Typos -- especially when you're writing as much as we write as quickly as we write it each day -- are going to happen. For that, I apologize.

John

D-Ram
D-Ram

No doubt typos happen. Not dogging that. Noticed it the first time and re-read it to be certain. I knew what was meant to be read so didn't say anything; just don't get so high and mighty about sleeping unless you are 100% accurate. That comment was over the top.

You've been awfully defensive lately. Don't let hacks like us ruffle the feathers so easily. This is your job. Our job is to read it and spread it. Correct mistakes and be up-front about things, but don't let anyone tick you off. Doesn't do any good. Best site for SEC news-keep it that way.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Good point.

I've tried to answer questions on this site. And I've tried to defend myself against bogus, unfair accusations -- like yours about me trying to write an inflammatory, dishonest headline -- but it does no good. By responding, I'm just called overly sensitive -- as if any of the people making ugly comments would smile and take it if I showed up at their office and heckled them.

I can come to this site everyday with the best intentions in the world and people can come here and get all their SEC news in one objective place for free... and I'll still get anywhere from 100 to 200 ugly comments and emails a day.

Probably best not to answer any of them.

John

TFM
TFM

I bet that there are more SEC Fraternity Members with priors than football players with priors.

dancingator
dancingator

How does that compare with the student and staffs arrest records? Just in the SEC there's been a number of murders and other felonies committed by members of University staffs in the past few years. How many murders were committed by student athletes?

Razor Jamon
Razor Jamon

I'd also be curious to see the breakdwon between "players arrested while on the 85-man roster" vs. "players on the 85-man roster with a criminal record." Did SI make that distinction? I don't think I saw it there but would be interesting to know as well.

D-Ram
D-Ram

Not really sure that Arkansas "led" the SEC since the data pool is only 33% of the conference. That is a stark misrepresentation and you as a good writer know it. Is it a good headline? Absolutely. Accurate, probably not. Is it possible for you to do the research on the other 8 teams? Now that would be interesting, maybe not for Tennessee, but for everyone else. SI also misrepresents our conference and other schools by counting anyone with a blemish on their record, and not looking at the 2010 calendar year. People change and if I'm not mistaken, Houston Nutt recruited quite a few players on the 2010 roster. If we looked at the SI employee pool, we could probably find a shockingly high arrest/charge number if we take into account an entire career, and not a single year. Granted, it's not going to be 20% of the employees, but it's higher than we would probably think.

What is it they say about statistics? Oh yeah, you can make them say whatever you want.



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