There is good (not really good, but better) news for SEC football teams. Arrests of their players are down almost 50 percent from figures of a year ago.
According to ArrestNation.com, from Jan. 1 through July 31 this year, 26 football players from the 14 SEC programs were in trouble with the law. This compares to 50 for the same period of time a year ago.
LSU, Florida and Alabama are the frontrunners in arrests or citings with five each. Alabama running back Cyrus Jones was charged April 28 with third-degree domestic violence, criminal mischief and third-degree domestic violence harassment. Charges were dropped May 1. More on that later.
Other charges included second-degree marijuana possession for running back Tyren Jones; third-degree assault, domestic violence, and third-degree criminal mischief for defensive lineman Jonathan Taylor; DUI for Geno Smith; and third-degree domestic violence and criminal mischief for linebacker Ryan Andrews. Jones and Taylor were dismissed from the team following their arrests. The charges against Taylor were dismissed last month, but he still faces similar charges in Athens, which led to his dismissal from the Georgia program in 2014.
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The Gators’ arrests include defensive back J.C. Jackson for robbery with a firearm, wide receiver Chris Thompson with misdemeanor simple battery and wide receiver Alvin Bailey for an outstanding warrant. Jackson is no longer at Florida. Defensive tackle Caleb Brantley and running back Adam Lane were cited for obtaining food or lodging with intent to defraud after leaving a bowling alley without paying for food they consumed.
At LSU, four of the players were suspended from the team and one other was dismissed. The suspended players are quarterback Anthony Jennings, cornerback Dwayne Thomas and defensive tackle Maquedius Bain for unauthorized entry of an inhabited dwelling and simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling; and offensive lineman Jevonte Domond for domestic abuse battery with strangulation involving his fiancee. Dismissed was defensive lineman Terry Lealaimatafao for attempted simple robbery and simple battery.
Mississippi State had arrests go against tight end Deshun Dixon for DUI; wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia: and offensive lineman Elgton Jenkins for a simple arrest warrant. Mississippi also had three and Tennessee two. Rebels safety Trae Elson and wide receiver DaMore’ea Stringfellow were cited for disorderly conduct, and offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil was arrested for domestic violence and simple assault. Tennessee offensive lineman Charles Mosley was charged with DUI and offensive lineman Coleman Thomas with theft between $500 and $1,000. The charges were dropped against Thomas.
Teams with just one arrest included Texas A&M (wide receiver Frank Iheanaeko for shoplifting), Arkansas (defensive end Tevin Beanum for DUI) and Auburn (defensive end Elijah Daniel for first-degree theft of property and second-degree burglary). Iheanaeko was suspended by Texas A&M, and Daniel was dismissed from the Auburn squad.
ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” reported in June that student-athletes at high profile schools get preferential treatment when it comes to breaking the law because of lawyers available to them, status and public backlash. ESPN used the Florida athletics program as one of 10 program to make its case. Between 2009 and 2014, the Gators had 80 student-athletes named as suspects in more than 100 crimes at Florida, yet the athletes either never faced charges, had charges against them dropped or were not prosecuted 56 percent of the time. This compares to 28 percent for the general student population.
New SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said he will appoint a working group on conduct issues that will engage a review of student-athletes conduct issues and policies.
If you are an ACC fan, that conference has done a much better job than the SEC in keeping football players out of jail since the first of the year. Just nine ACC football players have been arrested. Clemson had three, while Virginia Tech and Florida State had two each and both Pittsburgh and North Carolina had one.
As you can see, Georgia and Georgia Tech’s football programs have been arrest free since the first of the year.
Contact Bobby Pope at firstname.lastname@example.org