Crooks Playing College Football

Just what kind of student athletes are playing football in this country?

Sports Illustrated and CBS has teamed up to produce an alarming special report that attempts to answer this question:  Special Report: Criminal Records in College Football.

In putting together this series, SI and CBS conducted 7,030 background checks on 2,837 players who were on the rosters of SI’s 2010 preseason top 25 teams. The investigation revealed that roughly 7% of football players on these 25 teams had been in trouble with the law either before or after entering college.

More than 200 players had criminal records that stemmed from 277 incidences. The numbers would certainly been higher but the media outlets couldn’t obtain juvenile records in most states, which posed particular problems for checking backgrounds of young men in California and Texas, which produce lots of football players.

The players’ crimes or alleged offenses included sex crimes, drug and alcohol offenses, robbery, burglary, grand theft, domestic violence, assault and more.

Top 25 Footballs Teams in 2010 Preseason

It’s shocking how many players with criminal records are playing for some of the universities which were on Sports Illustrated’s list of  the top 25 football teams before the 2010 season began. Here are the schools with the number of players with criminal records:

  1. Pittsburgh (22)
  2. Iowa (18)
  3. Arkansas (18)
  4. Boise State (16)
  5. Penn State (16)
  6. Virginia Tech (13)
  7. Wisconsin (9)
  8. Oklahoma (9)
  9. Florida State (9)
  10. Miami (8)
  11. Ohio State (7)
  12. Florida (7)
  13. Oregon (7)
  14. USC  (7)
  15. Alabama (5)
  16. North Carolina (5)
  17. Cincinnati (5)
  18. Utah (5)
  19. Nebraska (4)
  20. Georgia Tech (4)
  21. Oregon State (4)
  22. Louisiana State (3)
  23. Texas (2)
  24. Stanford (1)
  25. Texas Christian (0)

Considering all the insignificant things that the NCAA makes a huge deal out of, you’d think that this would have been an issue they addressed long ago. How about requiring schools to conduct background checks on prospects before they are admitted? That would be a good start.

Lynn O’Shaughnessy is the author of The College Solution and she also writes a college blog for CBSMoneyWatch. Follow her on Twitter.

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