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Is Iowa's Program Still "Lawless?"

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Much consternation has been caused, and rightly so, by the spate of legal troubles the Hawkeye football team has incurred recently. The infamous list now stands at 17 players, or ostensibly 20% of the scholarship athletes on a I-A football team, since last April.

But let's take a closer look.

First, here's the P-C's list of Hawkeyes in trouble with the law since April 2007. Take a look, there's lots of names. Seems scary. Doesn't even include Satterfield and Everson, who (if the allegations are to believed) deserve to be thrown into a volcano. Is there something you notice about the list, though?

Would it help to cross-reference it with this list? I'll bet it would. That would be the Hawkeye's current roster, and there aren't many names on both.

That's the thing. If you want to talk about a bunch of criminals, you can talk about the 2006 Hawkeyes and the 2007 Hawkeyes, and there'll be no disagreement from us. Trust us on that one. But here's all the guys on both lists, and the crimes for which they were cited/arrested:

  • Ben Evans, walk-on WR, Underaged possession of alcohol (PAULA);
  • Tyler Gerstandt, walk-on TE, two PAULAs since January 2006, turned 21 last September;
  • Bradley Fletcher, CB, DUI;
  • Ricky Stanzi, QB, PAULA;
  • Lance Tillison, DB, DUI;
  • Ryan Donahue, P, PAULA;
  • Brandon Myers, TE, public intox and interference with official acts (in other words, ran away from a fight when po-po showed up).
And that's all. Seven guys, not 17, two of them walk-ons, and only three of them actually ever being under arrest; PAULAs are citations.

Now, there's a pretty strange thread of alcohol being a factor in every single incident for these guys that are still on the team, but that's because the real perps, the ones who fuck up sober, are already gone. And really, though DUI is stupider than hell, it doesn't automatically make the offender a bad person or one who deserves to be off the team immediately (or did you forget Bob Sanders had one in 2000? Hmmm?) Elsewhere, PAULAs are a rite of passage in Iowa City, and you can't seriously think that Ferentz needs to get rid of those guys too. This isn't Nazi Germany.

Another thing: it's worth noting that only Donahue's a starter. There are no Lawrence Phillips's on this team. There's nobody who's got a roster spot only because "he's so good."

And last, it's tempting to say, "sure, it's nice to cite those numbers now, after the seniors have graduated and the freshmen haven't shown up." And sure, this is about the time when the numbers would be lowest on a roster. But the seniors bear absolutely no relevancy to this discussion. Why? Because none of them were arrested/cited during the time frame in question. And this goes back to the question of senior leadership and providing a real framework of support and accountability on a football program. You can't do it when your seniors tell your freshmen most of them won't be around in four years. You can't do it when you only graduate nine kids in a year. You can do it by recruiting good guys with good work ethics and letting the S&C staff do their job. It's not like Bob Gallery, Bob Sanders, or Bob "Dallas" Clark were high-risk recruits, and they only turned out to be All-Americans in the Ferentz regime.

But I digress. We freely encourage people to wring hands over the recent history of misconduct in the program. We warn not to assume these sorts of things will happen again, because one look at the roster shows you that the bad guys, well, just aren't there anymore. To continue to point an accusatory finger toward the law-abiding Hawkeyes is both illogical and unfair.