The latest arrests of Hawkeye football players are a stark reminder that the football program's problems with the criminal records of its players doesn't show many signs of going away soon. Kathryn Fiegen, "Ferentz suspends Hawkeyes," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 25, 2008, p. A1; Rachel Gallegos, "Hawkeye football players arrested on drug charges," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 23, 2008.
Feb. 27: And see, Editorial, "Football Team's Legal Troubles Need to Stop," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 27, 2008, p. A12; and John Gray, "Maybe we should change football chant," Iowa City Press-Citizen, February 27, 2008, p. A12 ("With the two recent additions to the long list of Hawkeye football players arrested, perhaps the football fans should change the 'Go Hawks!' chant to 'Make bail!'")
I've suggested in blog entries here before, but it bears repeating that in addition to whatever else the Athletic Department may be doing to improve its criminal record, it might give a little more attention to who it's recruiting.
And, No, I don't mean that a teenage athlete's single indiscretion should bar his or her entering our program. And I don't mean we should be probing in depth the private lives of potential recruits. And I understand that juvenile court records are not always available. And, Yes, I agree that living in a community like Iowa City, the added maturity of a couple of years, and a strong and positive relationship with the right coach can sometimes turn lives around.
But I do think it might be appropriate to make at least some greater effort to find out, before we bring them here, if those we are recruiting have already established patterns of anti-social and criminal behavior, and a disrespect for law, such that the data indicates the mathematical odds are it is likely to continue.
Shame on us, if a part of the reason they have become that way is because the adults in their lives have contributed to these young men's belief that skilled athletes are entitled to special treatment; a culture and law of their own; second, third, fourth and fifth chances; a wink and a nod from coaches, high school principals, and judges -- so long as they can contribute to winning teams.
That doesn't excuse college athletes' behavior, but it does require us to think about the extent to which it is we who have at least contributed to the creation of the problem we confront -- from Little League through professional sports -- including right here in Hawkeye land.
We -- the responsible adults in Iowa City -- can't solve it all by ourselves, but perhaps we could give a little closer look at who we're bringing to town.
Meanwhile, here's the Press-Citizen's list of the football team's record so far:
"Hawkeyes' Legal Troubles,"
Iowa City Press-Citizen,
February 25, 2008, p. A4.
A list of Hawkeye football players who have had legal trouble since 2007.
Ryan Bain, DL: The 19-year-old junior-to-be was charged with interference with official acts, public intoxication and disorderly conduct April 15, 2007. Bain transferred to Akron before the 2007 football season because he wanted to improve his chance of starting.
Anthony Bowman, WR: The 19-year-old sophomore was charged with unauthorized use of a credit card, a Class D felony, on Aug. 18, 2007. On Dec. 26, 2007, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of credit card fraud, an aggravated misdemeanor, and was granted deferred judgment. Bowman was suspended for the 2007 season, but he has rejoined the team and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Dana Brown, RB: The 20-year-old sophomore was charged with domestic assault on Oct. 16, 2007. He was dismissed from the football team.
Dominique Douglas, WR: The 19-year-old sophomore was charged with unauthorized use of a credit card, a Class D felony, on Aug. 18, 2007. On Dec. 4, 2007, Douglas pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of credit card fraud, an aggravated misdemeanor, and was granted deferred judgment. He also was charged with stealing $30 worth of DVDs from Wal-Mart, which he pleaded guilty to in November 2007. The judge ordered Douglas to serve two years probation as well as pay $221.53 in restitution, a $625 civil penalty and other court costs. He was removed from the team. Douglas returned to his hometown of Detroit and is attending community college.
Ben Evans, WR: The 19-year-old red-shirt freshman was charged with drunken driving on July 30, 2007.
Tyler Gerstandt, TE: The 20-year-old walk-on football player was cited for underage possession of alcohol on May 18, 2007. The simple misdemeanor carried a $200 fine for a second offense. Gerstandt was cited for underage possession of alcohol in January 2006, according to Iowa online court records.
Clint Huntrods, long-snapper: The 22-year-old senior was charged with public urination, interference with official acts and public intoxication Sept. 6, 2007 after a police officer caught him urinating on a sidewalk. He was dismissed from the team. He issued a written guilty plea Oct. 24, 2007.
Bradley Fletcher, CB: The 21-year-old junior was charged with drunken driving on July 15, 2007. He was suspended for one game.
Arvell Nelson, QB: The 19-year-old red-shirt freshman was charged July 2, 2007, with driving with a suspended license and was scheduled to have his initial court appearance Aug. 16, 2007, but didn’t show. A warrant was issued that day for failure to appear, but Nelson turned himself in to authorities and posted a $545 cash bond Aug. 21, 2007. Nelson was arrested Saturday for possession of marijuana after police found the drug in plain view on top of the desk in his dorm room.
Ricky Stanzi, QB: The 20-year-old red-shirt freshman was charged with underage possession of alcohol on May 5, 2007.
Lance Tillison, S: The 20-year-old red-shirt freshman was arrested Sept. 15, 2007, for drunken driving. Tillison pleaded guilty to the charge in Jan. 4, 2008, in a plea deal. Under the arrangement, Tillison received a deferred judgment with unsupervised probation provided his participation in a substance abuse evaluation within 30 days, attendance of a weekend drunken driving program within 120 days and payment of $625 in fines and court costs. He was suspended for two games.
Ryan Donahue, P/PK: The 19-year-old red-shirt freshman was charged with underage possession of alcohol on Feb. 15, 2008.
Brandon Myers, TE: The 22-year-old junior was arrested Dec. 23, 2007, and was charged with public intoxication and interference with official acts after running from Coralville police. Court records show Myers pleaded guilty to the charges the same day he was arrested and was charged $350 for the two offenses.
James Cleveland, WR: The 19-year-old was arrested Saturday for two counts of unlawful possession of a prescription drug and a tax stamp violation after police allegedly found 21 doses of oxycodone and 24 doses of carisoprodol in his dorm room desk.