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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Crime and college football

By Chris Low

The results of a six-month investigation by Sports Illustrated and CBS into the criminal backgrounds of college football players on Top 25 teams were sobering to say the least.

What that probe revealed was that 8.1 percent of the scholarship players on teams ranked in Sports Illustrated's preseason Top 25 had criminal records and that only two of the schools did background checks, while none of the schools checked juvenile records.

According to the report, Arkansas was the most egregious offender among SEC teams ranked in the Top 25 with 18 players possessing criminal records. The Hogs were tied for second overall on the dubious list with Iowa, who also had 18 players charged. At the top of the list was Pittsburgh with 22 players possessing criminal records.

Florida had seven players with criminal records, Alabama five, and LSU three.
The joint investigation by Sports Illustrated and CBS involved criminal background checks on every player -- 2,837 in all -- on the preseason rosters of the Top 25 teams. Players' names, dates of birth and other vital information were checked at 31 courthouses and through 25 law enforcement agencies in 17 states. Players were also checked through one or more online databases that track criminal records. In all, 7,030 individual record checks were performed.