SPORTS ILLUSTRATED and CBS News performed 7,030 background checks on 2,837 players who were on the rosters of SI's 2010 preseason football top 25 as of last Sept. 1. The checks were done through 31 state or local courts, 16 court databases, 25 police departments or prosecutors' offices, 20 Freedom of Information Act requests, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and a private investigator. Most players were checked through several sources.
The study found that 204 players had criminal records. Their 277 incidents included 105 for drug and alcohol offenses, 75 for nuisance crimes (disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, criminal mischief), 56 for violent crimes (domestic violence, sex crimes, assault and battery) and 41 for property crimes (burglary, grand theft, shoplifting). Though juvenile records are not publicly available in most states, SI/CBS News was able to examine those records for 318 players from Florida and roughly 300 players from other states. Fifty-eight (21%) of the total arrests were for offenses committed as juveniles.
The reporting also included more than 150 interviews with law enforcement officials, defense lawyers, players, victims, witnesses, high school and college coaches, NCAA officials and other experts.