Psychologist: More awareness, social media drive perception that college athlete arrests have increased

Psychologist: More awareness, social media drive perception that college athlete arrests have increased

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - We've seen the mug shots time and time and time again. College football players arrested for criminal acts at a time when it appears they have everything going for them.

"It's a very complicated formula and it's not just about being a football player. It's not just about making bad choices. You have to add all of it together," said clinical psychologist, Dr. Josh Klapow.

For instance, Auburn defensive end Elijah Daniel was arrested on Wednesday for theft and burglary. In the last six weeks, Alabama football players Jonathan Taylor, Geno Smith, Tyren Jones and Cyrus Jones were arrested on charges of domestic violence, DUI, drug possession and domestic violence, respectively. The victim in Taylor's case later recanted her story but he still faces legal trouble.

Klapow said while a college football player may appear to be a dream life with full tuition paid and the opportunity to play before thousands, there is another side to consider.

"We also have to understand there's a huge amount of stress that comes with it in terms of competition, staying a part of the team, keeping up with grades, etc.," he said.

Klapow says it's also important to remember there are more players on football teams than any other sport and that means a wider variation of backgrounds.

"So what was their upbringing like, did they come from a family history where there's crime, did they have problems before they even got to college?" Klapow said.

He says when you put not just one, but all of those factors together, that is what predicts the possibility of a player getting in trouble.

Statistically, he says there is not a dramatic increase in crime among college athletes. But what has increased: the awareness and visibility due to social media.

He says the key is not for society to condone the behaviors but to consider all the factors and keep those numbers in perspective.

"For as serious as these crimes are, as bad a decision as it is, there are hundreds of other student athletes that are absolutely not doing any of this," Klapow said. "That needs to balance our judgment."

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