CBS News and Sports Illustrated are proud of their "unprecedented" investigation on the link between college football and campus violence, but the whole endeavor left us confused and scatter plot drunk. Were we wrong to be so skeptical?
Commenter @Drew Harrison did a deep dive on the study's methodology. What he found left us feeling vaguely vindicated. Here's how he concluded his remarks:
The fact is, the CNN/SI article is a ridiculous piece of work intended to fan the flames of internet outrage in order to get views. It combines abysmal statistical analysis with class stereotypes to make money off of people's outrage and agreement. And it critiques colleges for not obtaining background checks on juveniles, whose records are rarely accessible. Using age-old stereotypes to critique college coaches for not doing the impossible isn't worthy of what Sports Illustrated once was.
I agree that there are significant failures in the college athletics system, and that often colleges fail student-athletes with regard to the "student" aspect of their role. But to imply that these athletes are somehow more criminal than the rest of us is contrary to fact. It's amazing how willing we are to believe that college athletes, who receive hundreds of thousands of dollars of benefits (not counting social, psychological, and illegal benefits) over four years along with the chance to make millions in a professional league, would have higher rates of criminal conviction than the average populace. There's just too much economic incentive for them to avoid crime for that to be likely.