Report Sheds Light on Top Football Programs’ Criminal Records

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:14 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Mar 2, 2011 7:25 PM CDT

Gan Matthews
Special Contributor for Oklahoma Sports

NORMAN, Oklahoma -- A new investigation by CBS News and Sports Illustrated reveals that some of the nation's top college football programs, including the University of Oklahoma, have players with criminal records.

This investigation focused on the top 25 teams in Sports Illustrated’s 2010 pre-season rankings. Out of 2,800 football players, seven percent had criminal records. OU was far from the worst offender. That dubious honor was granted to the University of Pittsburgh, but the Sooners’ numbers weren’t something to ignore.

The CBS/SI investigation found that last year's Sooner squad had nine players who had some sort of police record. The investigation contained no names of the OU players.

But last fall defensive lineman Tarvaris Jeffries was arrested for a misdemeanor assault on his girlfriend. It was a charge which was later dropped.

A Cleveland County prosecutor said most charges against OU students, athletes or not, are alcohol related.

"I would say...that we file," Assistant District Attorney David Brockmann said.

Three current Sooner players -- Kenny Stiles, Tony Jefferson, and Stacy McGee -- are facing minor charges ranging from DUI to interfering with a police officer to possession of marijuana.

More on Oklahoma Sports:

-OU's Stacy McGee Cited for Marijuana Possession

-Oklahoma's Kenny Stills, Tony Jefferson Arrested

The NCAA President said coaches need to do a better job looking into the backgrounds of their recruits.

"I think it would...good sense," said NCAA President Mark Emmert.

The current OU situation is a far cry from 1989, when three football players were charged with rape and the star quarterback, Charles Thompson, was arrested for trafficking in drugs.

It turns out that OU is one of only two schools in the survey that conduct background checks on potential recruits. OU officials are reserving comment on the CBS/SI report until they can study it in depth.