Bad Boys, Bad Boys: Looking at Crime by College and Conference in the NFL

The Aaron Hernandez horror show got a lot of people talking about crime in the NFL. Again. Here, here, or here, they’re talking about a “culture of crime.” Even EA Sports has weighed in on the topic, in its own fashion, by removing Hernandez from its Madden NFL 25 and NCAA Football 14 video games. In this week’s post, I wanted to look at the colleges and conferences contributing the most to the crime problem. Here’s how I went about it: 1.) I mined the singular database of NFL players arrested over the years as compiled and maintained by San Diego’s Union-Tribune here; 2.) I used the internets to determine the school and conference of each arrestee; 3.) I presumed everyone innocent until proven guilty. Because the U-T includes arrests that resulted in the charges being dismissed or dropped, I did, too.

Looking at 2013 to date, here’s what we have:

Dan Connor Penn State B1G 7/6/2013 Giants
Joe Lefeged Rutgers The American 6/29/2013 Colts
Aaron Hernandez Florida SEC 6/26/2013 Patriots
Ausar Walcott Virginia ACC 6/25/2013 Cleveland
Adam Jones West Virginia Big 12 6/10/2013 Cincinnati
Evan Rodriguez Temple The American 5/31/2013 Chicago
Cody Grimm Virginia Tech ACC 5/26/2013 Tampa Bay
Joe Morgan Illinois B1G 5/25/2013 Saints
Chad Johnson Oregon State Pac 12 5/20/2013 Free Agent
Michael Goodson Texas A&M SEC 5/17/2013 Jets
Jason Peters Arkansas SEC 5/12/2013 Philadelphia
Titus Young Boise State Mountain West 5/10/2103 Free Agent
Corey McIntyre West Virginia Big 12 5/8/2013 Free Agent
Titus Young Boise State Mountain West 5/5/2013 Free Agent
Daryl Washington Texas Christian Big 12 5/3/2013 Arizona
Armonty Bryant East Central Great American 5/3/2013 Cleveland
Claude Davis South Florida The American 4/29/21013 Jets
Cliff Harris Oregon Pac 12 4/29/2013 Jets
Rolando McClain Alabama SEC 4/21/2013 Baltimore
Ronnell Lewis Oklahoma Big 12 4/20/2013 Detroit
William Moore Missouri SEC 4/18/2013 Atlanta
Quentin Groves Auburn SEC 4/17 2013 Cleveland
Amari Spievey Iowa B1G 3/26/2013 Detroit
Brandon Barden Vanderbilt SEC 3/23/2013 Tennessee
Trumaine Johnson Montana Big Sky 3/22/2013 St. Louis
Evan Rodriguez Temple The American 3/21/2013 Chicago
Cody Grimm Virginia Tech ACC 3/10/2013 Tampa Bay
Quinton Carter Oklahoma Big 12 3/9/2013 Denver
Javarris James Miami ACC 3/7/2013 Arizona
J'Marcus Webb West Texas A&M Lone Star 2/24/2013 Chicago
Desmond Bryant Harvard Ivy League 2/24/2013 Oakland
Al Netter Northwestern B1G 2/20/2013 San Francisco
Da'Quan Bowers Clemson SEC 2/18/2013 Tampa Bay
Michael Boley Southern Miss C-USA 2/8/2013 Giants
Leroy Hill Clemson ACC 1/29/2013 Seattle
Jay Ratliffe Auburn SEC 1/22/2013 Dallas
Andre Smith Alabama SEC 1/17/2013 Cincinnati
Chris Rainey Florida SEC 1/10/2013 Pittsburgh
Rolando McClain Alabama SEC 1/8/2013 Oakland
Robert Sands West Virginia Big 12 1/4/2013 Cincinnati

Of a total of forty NFL players arrested in 2013, 12 of them (30%) hail from the SEC, 6 (15%) from the Big 12, 5 from the ACC (12.5%), and 4 (10%) each from The B1G and The American. Compare those percentages to the total number of pro players hailing from the two “leading” conferences, 314 (18.5% of total players) from the SEC and 162 (9.55% of total players) from the Big 12. They’re almost doubling their contribution, as it were. Also noteworthy, I found, was the presence of Temple and Harvard on the list, and the shockingly low numbers of Oakland and Dallas players on the list. It goes without saying, perhaps, that no Notre Dame players made the list in 2013 or in 2012. No professional Notre Dame players, that is. I guess that’s another benefit from Tommy Rees not coming out early.

If you run the names back to the beginning of 2012, the list grows to eighty-five arrestees, and the number of SEC players grows to 25, or 29.4% of the total. In that same period, the Big 12 “only” adds another four “bad boys,” such that it now accounts for 11.7% of the 85 players arrested since 12/31/2011.

What does this mean? Well, a lot, actually. My hypothesis at this time is that the “percentage-contribution” of SEC-players will remain relatively consistent over time, meaning that as you add numbers of arrestees, the SEC’s percentage of that number will fall much slower (30% v. 29.4%) than that of its nearest 2013 competitor, The Big 12. And, in that short eighteen month sample, The Big 12’s percentage-contribution of arrestees quickly closed on equaling its percentage-contribution of total number of players, while the SEC contributed far more arrestees, on a percentage basis, than it did on a total player basis.

There are six hundred plus pages in the Union-Tribune‘s database and I invite someone to go through them all so I don’t have to. But I will.

(Author’s Note: Apologies to Southern Miss and Clemson, who were erroneously included in the SEC. I have corrected that, and the numbers and percentages. I apologize for the error and confusion)

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  • Notre Dan

    Clemson and Southern Miss aren’t in the SEC

  • Dave Bradley

    I am no fan of the SEC but Clemson is in the ACC and should not count towards the SEC Villians

  • bculls

    Clemson is in acc

  • Andy Welsh

    Clemson and Southern Mississippi are not SEC.

  • Bayou Irish

    All: Thank you for reading and commenting and paying careful attention. I corrected the mistake — that’s what I get for doing a table at night. Anyway, the numbers, percentages and table have been corrected. Thanks!!!

  • Tom

    In the 7/9 edition of the Sarasota (Tampa)Herald Tribune the sports page stated Urban Meyer had 25 arrests among his players while he coached at the U of Florida(Gaineville) A few years earlier the same statement was made but it also included a statement regarding Joe Paterno being second among the active coaches(at that time) with 24 arrests among his players. If this is fact Joe PA was never the squeaky clean guy they wanted us to believe he was. Of course I was well aware of the wrist slapper Joe was when it came to punishment.

  • Bayou Irish

    Hi Tom! Thanks for reading and for commenting. Penn State are in the Mountain West Conference, right? Haha. If we’re counting college football, ND would definitely be on the list (tommy, carlo, etc.) but not to the level of a Florida or a Paterno-coached PSU.

  • trey

    As a lifelong Cowboy fan, I have to weigh in on the comment about our players. Following the White House years, the cupcake culture of previous coaches, and a number of bad pub incidences, Jurra has made a very concerted effort to ‘clean up’ the team’s image. This coincides directly with the hiring of Roger Goodell and his crackdown on the bad behavior that previously gripped the league. Dallas is actually the second-to-least arrested team in the NFL.

    • NDtex

      Josh Brent is working hard to bring that rep back.

      • trey

        Every team definitely has knuckleheads, that’s for sure.

  • oldschoollyons

    Nice reach to get a zinger in on Tommy Rees. Snide, small-minded comments are always fun to read. You did yourself proud, Bayou.

  • Mosquito

    Why not do a list of arrestees at the college level?

  • David Tyler

    Da’Quan Bowers of Clemson is still listed as being in the SEC.

    • David Tyler

      Also, thank you for doing this analysis. Considering I always think about NFL players based on their colleges, this question had been going through my head already.

  • drew

    Rolando McClain is on there twice… I am as big of a SEC hater as the next guy (not affiliated with the SEC), but the inaccuracies will make most dismiss off hand. That said I applaud you for the time spent, and think that this, when complete and cleaned up a bit, will be good for rest of the sports world to see. The SEC has no interest in the players themselves besides as tools ($) for their perspective institution. Would love to see this finished product and graduation rates side by side.

  • Bayou Irish

    He’s on there twice because he was arrested twice in 2013. After his first arrest, he and the Raiders parted ways and he signed with Baltimore.

  • Bayou Irish

    What’s the reach? I’m doing an article on arrest rates and I’m not going to mention the seminal moment of the 2012 season in which Tommy ended the quarterback controversy by getting arrested?

  • Bayou Irish

    see my reply below