According to a recently published Sports Illustrated article:
• Seven percent of the players in the preseason Top 25 — 204 in all (1 of every 14) — had been charged with or cited for a crime, including dozens of players with multiple arrests.
• Of the 277 incidents uncovered, nearly 40 percent 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). In addition there were 41 charges for property crimes, including burglary and theft and larceny.
• There were more than 105 drug and alcohol offenses, including DUI, drug possession and intent to distribute cocaine.
• Race was not a major factor. In the overall sample, 48 percent of the players were black and 44.5 percent were white. Sixty percent of the players with a criminal history were black and 38 percent were white.
• In cases in which the outcome was known, players were guilty or paid some penalty in nearly 60 percent of the 277 total incidents.
Players who would have been on last year’s rosters but had been charged and expelled from their teams before Sept. 1 — and there were dozens — were not counted in our sample. Nor did SI and CBS News have access to juvenile arrest records for roughly 80 percent of the players in the study.
“[It is] a set of facts that obviously should concern all of us,” said new NCAA president Mark Emmert, when presented with these findings. “Seven percent, that’s way too high. I think two percent is too high. You certainly don’t want a large number of people with criminal backgrounds involved in activities that represent the NCAA.”
Added Richard Lapchick, founder of the Center for Sport in Society and president and CEO of the National Consortium for Academics and Sports at the University of Central Florida: “This sounds an alarm bell that some new policies are going to have to be developed on individual campuses or at the national level to take a closer look at who we’re recruiting to our campuses. I think it’s almost incumbent on all those universities who play at this level to do criminal background checks on the people they’re recruiting. Not only for the nature of the football program itself, but for public safety on campus.”