You enjoy your college career; you get to play on a sports team, get the benefits of a full ride and have the admiration of fans. That can all end quickly if you make even one criminal mistake. It's important to understand how drunk driving, assault or other crimes can impact you now and in the future, especially as a college athlete.
Just like any other person, if you break the law, you can face fines, prison sentences or other penalties depending on the criminal act. Additionally, your university may have a code of conduct that states additional penalties if you violate the school's code.
If you're accused of a crime, you could immediately be suspended from your sports-related activities. You may be part of a criminal investigation as well as a school investigation. It's possible that you could lose your scholarships, financial aid and even your place on the sports team. Even if you're found to be innocent later on, your reputation is likely to suffer irreparable harm.
An investigation between 2009 and 2014 showed that college athletes are more likely to avoid prosecution than others thanks to the protections of the school. Sometimes, law enforcement is not notified of criminal acts. If a student is never prosecuted, then the likelihood of facing penalties is lower. That doesn't mean that the students can't face penalties on campus, but it does significantly limit the long-term consequences.
Know that your school has a right to penalize you even before the case has been judged. Your attorney can help protect you, so you are treated fairly during this difficult time. Our website has more information on the steps you can take to defend yourself.