Arrested development

Some college football players are getting as much notoriety on the police blotter these days as they are on the field. And that's sad.

For instance, today's college football page at SI.com, the website for Sports Illustrated magazine, lists 13 topics under the heading "College Football Stories." Six of them are police-blotter stuff:

- Florida State junior receiver Preston Parker incurred a two-game suspension after police discovered a loaded .45-caliber pistol and a small amount of marijuana in his car.

- Virginia Tech quarterback recruit Peter Rose of Amherst (Va.) High School faces felony drug charges for the distribution of marijuana.

- Purdue senior safety Torri Williams has been suspended after his arrest on a shoplifting charge.

- Florida freshman Matt Patchan was shot in the shoulder while visiting a Tampa-area park.

- Florida safety Jamar Hornsby, 21, is facing criminal charges for the alleged theft and fraudulent use of a credit card belonging to a female student who was killed in a motorcycle accident that also claimed the life of a Gator walk-on.

- Penn State defensive tackle Chris Baker faces two years of probation after being involved in two fights and charged with criminal trespass – all in the past eight months. Nittany Lions safety Anthony Scirrotto got one year of probation for the second fight, while teammates Navorro Bowman and Phil Taylor are awaiting trial related to their involvement in the first fight.

Obviously, getting shot does not suggest Patchan was guilty of anything more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Still, it's alarming that so many college players seem to be finding their way onto incident reports these days.

It is worth noting that these incidents did not involve football factories overseen by rogue coaches. These are all mainstream programs headed by high-profile coaches. FSU's Bobby Bowden, Penn State's Joe Paterno, Tech's Frank Beamer and Purdue's Joe Tiller have been around a long, long time, while Florida's Urban Meyer is one of the most respected young coaches in the profession. These guys have probably a dozen National Coach of the Year trophies among them.

To his credit, Beamer has withdrawn the scholarship offer to Rose. To his credit, Meyer has dismissed Hornsby, who may have left his coach no choice. Hornsby allegedly made 70 charges on the girl's credit card totaling nearly $3,000 since her death last October.

Percentage-wise, there may be no more "bad apples" among college football players than among the student population at large. It's just that we tend to hold athletes to a higher standard and, with alarming frequency, they seem to be falling short of it.


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