The System: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian:
Thirty institutions participated in the study. Information was gathered from twenty campus police departments and ten judicial affairs offices. In all, 107 cases of sexual assault were examined. The primary finding was that male student-athletes made up just 3 percent of the male student population yet were responsible for more than 19 percent of the reported sexual assaults on campus. Very few of these cases were publicly reported.
Subsequent research has suggested a range of factors contributing to why some athletes are more prone to abuse women, from a sense of entitlement to a higher frequency of casual sex with multiple partners to a warped sense of women as sexual prey. But the biggest factor may boil down to opportunity or access.
In the case of college football, there is no denying that just about everyone on campus is in awe of the young men who wear the uniform and fill the stadium on Saturday afternoons, including plenty of beautiful girls. The fact that some girls want to be seen with a football player does not, of course, necessarily mean they want to have sex with a football player. But the lion’s share of sexual assault cases against college football players—and athletes in general—usually involve a victim who willingly goes to an athlete’s turf—his dorm room, apartment or hotel—and later claims that something happened that she didn’t sign up for. In almost every instance, the accused played admits to sexual contact and claims it was consensual. It sets up the classic she-said-he-said scenario with a unique twist—when athletes are involved it is often she-said-they-said.
These cases usually come down to the freshness of the complaint, the strength of the physical evidence and, most important, the credibility of the accuser.