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An Analysis of Criminal Athlete Convictions Kadie Otto, Ph. D. Associate Professor Western Carolina University.

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Presentation on theme: "An Analysis of Criminal Athlete Convictions Kadie Otto, Ph. D. Associate Professor Western Carolina University."— Presentation transcript:

1 An Analysis of Criminal Athlete Convictions Kadie Otto, Ph. D. Associate Professor Western Carolina University

2 Benedict & Klien (1997) Examined the arrest vs. conviction rates of professional & college athletes charged with sexual assault (n = 217, ) 23% discrepancy in conviction rates between the national sample (54%) vs. athletes (31%)

3 Benedict & Yaeger (1998) 1 out of 5 NFL players charged with a serious crime n = 180, most common crimes: –Assault and/or battery (30%) –D.U.I/D.W.I. (22%) –Sexual crimes (14%)

4 Chandler, Johnson & Carroll (1999) Abusive behaviors of athletes vs. non- athletes (n = 342) Athletes more likely to have: –Fondled someone of the opposite sex against his/her will –Forced sex with someone of the opposite sex

5 Crosset, Benedict & McDonald (1995) Berry & Smith (2000) Men in sex-segregated groups (i.e., sports teams) are more likely to engage in sexual offenses such as gang rape. In mono-sexual environments, males tend to display increased levels of sexually aggressive behavior toward women.

6 Focus College athlete convictions accessible to the general public Violent Criminal Acts Examination of: –Charge –Reduced Charge –Sentence

7 Subject Sample n= Convictions NCAA Football & Men’s Basketball

8 Instrumentation Web-based content analysis On-line news sources: –ESPN, The New York Times & USA Today

9 Data Collection Two researchers, independently, searched the web for all criminal college athlete convictions. Utilized various combinations of the following words and/or phrases: –“NCAA,” “Men(’s),” “College,” “Basketball,” “Football,” “Crime,” “Criminal,” “Athlete,” “Conviction,” “Plea,” “No Contest,” and “Convicted”

10 Key M, AM = Murder, Attempted Murder R, SO, RM, AR = Rape, Sodomy, Rape of a Minor, Attempted Rape GRM, GSXM = Gang Rape of a Minor, Gang Sex with a Minor

11 Key SA, SB, SAM, ISA, ISB = Sexual Assault, Sexual Battery, Sexual Assault of a Minor, Intent to Commit Sexual Assault, Intent to Commit Sexual Battery SM = Sexual Misconduct GL = Gross Lewdness

12 Key FIM = False Imprisonment CDM = Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor A, B = Assault, Battery O = Other (which includes one of each of the following: Kidnapping, Drug Charges, Burglary, Robbery)

13 Results

14 Significant Charges that Held R = 8 years R = 10 –25 years R, M, BU = 5 Life Sentences R, ROB, K = Life Sentence (131 – 311 years) M = 35 years (eligible for parole in 17 years)

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19 Research Has Shown That Men in Sex-Segregated Groups are More Likely to Engage in Sexual Offenses Such as Gang Rape Crosset, Benedict & McDonald (1995) Berry & Smith (2000)

20 17 athletes charged in 5 incidents –A, B (5), SA, SB (4), CDM (8)

21 Gang Rape Charge = A,B, SA,SB, and CDM Reduced Charges = Sentences

22 Comparison Athletes receiving Prison/Jail Time for: “Rape” or “Sex Crime” Professional (50%) v. College (20%)

23 Why Are Athletes Engaging in Criminal Activity? (1) values & norms associated with sports (2) adherence to a win-at-all cost mentality (3) single-sex environments (4) male dominance & entitlement (5) celebrity status of athletes (6) the absence of regulating crime in sports (Berry & Smith, 2000)

24 ‘Kid Gloves’ Particular attention should be paid to the “sentences” college athletes receive for their involvement in violent crimes (sex crimes and rape). The punishment must be substantial enough to deter the athlete from acting in a similar fashion again.

25 Preventative Programs NCAVA - National Coalition Against Violent Athletes (Kathy Redmond) PAYS - Power, Attitude, Youth and Speed (Jackson & Davis)

26 Future Research Are college athletes’ sentences equal to the sentences given to the general public? Do college athletes who receive slight punishments become repeat offenders? Is there a positive correlation between the commercialization of college athletics and athlete criminal behavior?


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