If you're headlining a special report done by SI in tandem with CBS News, that's probably not a good thing. And after reading about that report, I can say with certainty that such prominent placement in this particular story is definitely not a good thing.
The two media giants teamed up for a look at the world of college football player misconduct, and in that category, the Pitt Panthers led all Top-25 teams last season with 22 players on their roster sporting police records. So we can now finally say that Dave Wannstedt won something while at Pitt.
The old stories of Jabaal Sheard, Jason Douglas, Keith Coleman, and Jeff Knox were all brought up in the article, as was expected. This was exactly the kind of expose the school probably feared would someday come after such a horrendous run of conduct away from the field. But don't laugh too hard, Nittany Lion fans among us. There was only three schools worse than Penn State in this study, as their roster hosted 16 players with criminal records.
All in all, the study was alarming, but not exactly surprising. Football players - pro and amateur - get arrested all the time, at Pitt, Penn State, and lots of other schools. Here are some stats unearthed in the study:
• Seven percent of the players in the preseason Top 25 -- 204 in all (1 of every 14) -- had been charged with or cited for a crime, including dozens of players with multiple arrests.
• Of the 277 incidents uncovered, nearly 40 percent involved serious offenses, including 56 violent crimes such as assault and battery (25 cases), domestic violence (6), aggravated assault (4), robbery (4) and sex offenses (3). In addition there were 41 charges for property crimes, including burglary and theft and larceny.
• There were more than 105 drug and alcohol offenses, including DUI, drug possession and intent to distribute cocaine.
• Race was not a major factor. In the overall sample, 48 percent of the players were black and 44.5 percent were white. Sixty percent of the players with a criminal history were black and 38 percent were white.
• In cases in which the outcome was known, players were guilty or paid some penalty in nearly 60 percent of the 277 total incidents.
While some may point to the discipline problems as the reason that Dave Wannstedt got fired, I would have to believe that had he won the Big East this year, he would still be the head coach. Off-field shenanigans are tolerated to a certain extent when a program is winning, as history has shown. But when a team falls short of expectations AND brings a black eye to the school via the police blotter, that's a definite recipe for a firing.