Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Joint Sports Illustrated and CBS News Investigation into Crime and College Football

Our cover story in this week's Sports Illustrated concerns a joint investigation by SI and CBS News on crime and college football. I had the honor of being part of this investigation, which we've conducted over the last 6 months.

We looked at criminal backgrounds of 2,800+ collegiate players on SI's 2010 preseason Top 25. And we found that one in fourteen players had been in trouble with the law either before or after entering college, and many universities did not conduct background checks on these individuals when recruiting them.

Here are some of the key findings:

• 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.

Should schools be allowed to recruit students who have had criminal histories?