Michigan State Student Athletes Not Given Preferential Treatment By Legal System, According To Study
Michigan State's Athletic Department is being combed through by ESPN's Outside The Lines, as to how athletes are dealt with in criminal investigations.
On Sunday, ESPN's hard news show released a report called "College Athletes and Crime" where 10 major university athletic programs were put under the microscope as to crimes involving student-athletes. The report aims to see if there is any indication of athletes being given special treatment or legal advantages due to their status as a college athlete in a college town.
The verdict on the report in East Lansing is that while 15% of athletes in the football and basketball programs were involved in some sort of criminal incident (this number is over the 13.6% average across all 10 schools in the mentioned time frame). 62% of those cases resulted in no record, dismissal or plea to a lesser charge of civil infraction. This was compared to a 66% rate of non-athlete college-age males.
Michigan State is also in the bottom half among the universities studied in terms of total criminal incidents involving players. Florida led the way in that category and in total crime involvement among athletes.
Florida's numbers for comparison over that time frame to Michigan State are, 80 Florida athletes involved in 119 crimes with 25 repeat offenders as compared to Michigan State's 44* athletes involved in 58 crimes with 10* repeat offenders, all in the 2009 to 2014 window.
MLive's reports that no school in the top seven for Athletic Department revenue were included in this report and neither were any of the eight programs with more than three college basketball championships.
The 10 schools that were analyzed are: Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Michigan State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas A&M, and Wisconsin.
The report took a look at all police reports involving college football or basketball players from 2009 to 2014.
Michigan State police redacted all names from the police reports sent in, resulting in ESPN successfully suing against the school for the sake of the investigation. The decision is being appealed.
ESPN also filed a suit against Notre Dame for not sending campus records and instead sending city of South Bend records.
The percentage point average for a case not being held or dropped completely against an athlete is 51.4%. In other words, more than half the time a college athlete is involved in some sort of investigation, no action is taken against them.
This barely scratches the surface of the report, read for yourself and form your opinion. Do college athletes receive special treatment when it comes to law enforcement?
*Michigan State's redacting of names in police reports make these numbers an estimation, per ESPN's report. ESPN won the lawsuit to restore the names, though the decision is in an appeal process.