Report links college football, crime
Few football programs had more run-ins in the 2010 season than the University of Pittsburgh, the report found.
March 2nd, 2011
06:36 PM ET Report links college football, crime

It’s no surprise to hear college football has a problem. Many of the sport’s vices are well-documented, from its shady recruiting to its controversial BCS playoff system. But most fans, school officials and coaches have no idea about the extent of college football’s biggest problem these days: crime.

In a six-month investigation spearheaded by Sports Illustrated and CBS News, a background check was run on every college football player on every team in SI’s preseason Top 25. Of the 2,837 players examined, shockingly, 204 had criminal records – or one in every 14 players on a Top 25 team.

The exhaustive investigation highlighted not only the amount of crime being committed across the country by college football players but how blatantly schools are ignoring it or manipulating the system to get around it. The SI/CBS investigation found out that only two of the Top 25 schools ran background checks on their players, and not a single school checked juvenile records.

The amount of negligence leads to some alarming statistics. Of the 277 incidents uncovered by SI/CBS, 40 percent involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes – ranging from assault and battery to sexual offenses – and 105 drug and alcohol arrests.

In their report, SI and CBS highlight many specific examples of just how stunning and prevalent the crimes are. Most notable of all is the Pittsburgh Panthers’ football program, which saw four players arrested on four separate violent crimes between mid-July and late September last year. In all, SI/CBS found, the team had 22 players in trouble with the law, more than any school in SI’s preseason Top 25.

To read the SI/CBS special report in its entirety, click here.

To read what these findings mean for college football, click here.

Here’s what to watch tonight (all times Eastern):

Phoenix Suns at Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m., NBATV)
Jeff Green and the new-look Celtics continue their road trip against the red-hot Suns, who have won four in a row, including a buzzer-beating victory in overtime against the Pacers on Sunday.

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers (10:30 p.m., NBATV)
The Rockets go for their season-high sixth victory in a row against the Clippers, who get shooting guard Eric Gordon back in the lineup after going 4-14 in his absence.

By the numbers

10: Three-pointers hit by guard Jon Diebler in No. 1 Ohio State’s 82-61 victory over Penn State on Wednesday. Diebler scored a career high 30 points and set a school-record with his 10 treys.

639: Regular season games played without a playoff appearance by Troy Murphy, who signed with the Celtics on Tuesday. Murphy’s playoff drought is the longest current streak in the NBA.

$500,000: Amount Boston Red Sox owner John Henry was fined by Major League Baseball for criticizing the sport’s revenue-sharing policies.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. ed bailey

    A half million dollar fine for critizing sharing, it sounds like somebody is sharing!

    March 2, 2011 at 6:43 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Luke

    Its a racket.

    March 2, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Cesar

    I'm # 3.

    March 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. whitfang Report links college football, crime
    Hmmm... I wonder what race most of these college football players/criminals would be???

    March 2, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • mae

      from the actual SI report "• 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.

      Read more:

      March 18, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sports mannings

    a little capital punishment for those self claimed adults.. Mannings.. Heros of all sorts.. Opppsss.. A mama baby face loving buddhist country kisses your foreheads. Namaste girls love those badboy heroes. Namaste.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Philip

    Name just one American profession that ISN'T linked with crime. (not that college kids are pro's)

    March 2, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Answer

    the amish. 🙂 microsoft... Sun java... Janet reno.. To name a few.

    March 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Erik

    Department of Justice: From their summary page:
    Lifetime likelihood of going to State or Federal prison
    "If recent incarceration rates remain unchanged, an estimated 1 of
    every 15 persons (6.6%) will serve time in a prison during their

    Sounds like football players are right at the national average. This "news" article is sensationalist. Now if we are holding football players at a higher standard, that is one thing. But if these transgretions are in the past, doesnt everyone deserve a second chance? If they have gone through judicial system, then they have paid their debt to society and discipline should be applied to future, not past, transgretions. Whereby suspensions described for crimes done during their playing days are valid. But do we truly want to restrict football players from playing because of something they may have done before joining? Then maybe enrolling from college? Where will it stop?

    March 2, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      You're not thinking, Erik. A 15% chance of going to prison over a lifetime is a LOT different than being one of the 15% who have qualified for the pen by the age of about 23.

      March 3, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Erik

      First, one in 15 is not 15%. Second, majority of people that go to jail are repeat offenders. How many people you know go to jail for the first time at 35? Those are the minority, most of the majority go when they're "young and stupid"

      March 4, 2011 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. raven

    If take a cross section of any demographic theres gonna be crime and criminals in any scenario . You could even use the Catholic church and prolly get HIGHER stats .

    March 3, 2011 at 2:19 am | Report abuse |

    I just farted. Shoooooo : )

    March 3, 2011 at 4:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. mary


    March 3, 2011 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  12. Jed

    How true

    March 3, 2011 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ed


    March 4, 2011 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. Cesar

    Yep, that's all he can say.

    March 4, 2011 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |