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Pitt Athletics Addresses Unflattering Distinction

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Pitt defensive tackle Jabaal Sheard

Rutgers offensive linesman Desmond Stapleton (73) is injured as he is sandwiched between Pittsburgh defensive tackle Jabaal Sheard (97) and defensive tackle Brandon Lindsey (35) as Rutgers quarterback Chas Dodd (19) is sacked in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 23, 2010 in Pittsburgh. Stapleton was helped from the field. Pitt won 41-21.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

OAKLAND (KDKA) — Pitt’s athletic department is not denying that the CBS News/Sports Illustrated investigation that found that the university’s football team led the nation in crime.

However, the sports department is saying there’s a new emphasis with head coach Todd Graham to field a team that is crime-free.

Pitt’s hopes of winning the Big East last year and heading to a BCS Bowl were dashed when four players were arrested for four separate violent crimes.

“The standard around here is not that you didn’t get arrested,” Graham said.

The report found that Pitt lead with 22 arrests. Penn State tied at fourth-place with 16 arrests.

Athletic Director Steve Pederson said there are new stringent background checks for recruits, but no check of criminal records.

“The discussion of criminal background checks is probably a national discussion to have,” he said. “Conference commissioners and athletic directors getting together to talk about how you do that because there are a lot of things that go into that.”

The report comes out as Fernando Diaz, a former Pitt football player, gets into a confrontation with police and he’s tasered four times. He left the team in August.

“He had re-enrolled this semester and was wanting to work his way back into the program and in light of the latest events that will not be possible,” Graham said.

RELATED LINKS:
Sports Illustrated: “College Football and Crime”
CBS News: “‘Striking stats’ on college football and crime”
Big East Releases 2011 Football Schedule
More Pitt News
More Sports News

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