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Report says Florida, FSU athletes skirt trouble too often

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They are known for their elusiveness, but a report by ESPN’s Outside the Lines shows that the Univesity of Florida and FSU are among the schools where athletes are prosecuted among the least.

Outside the Lines examined several schools – Florida, FSU, Auburn, Michigan State, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, Texas A&M and Wisconsin. There was no explanation as to why these schools and not, say, Clemson or Mississippi State or Oklahoma or Southern California.

The raw numbers concerning the state schools were not good, however. Taking basketball and football players over the five-year period from 2009-2014, Florida had the most athletes who had charges dropped or were not prosecuted. The Gators had 80 athletes in more than 100 crimes.

The report led with former Gator running back Chris Rainey, who it said was named as a suspect five times but was charged only once.

FSU was second with 66 athletes who were suspects but had charges dropped or not pusued.

The reasons? According to the report, athletic departments inserted themselves into the investigation too often and the high profile of the schools prodded the dropping of charges.

Hey, no one holds the ability to get a legal defense against anyone. But isn’t it time that athletes started being treated the same as, say, math students?

Both Notre Dame and Michigan State are fighting the investigation requests.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit

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