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For many people, fall means football, and for student athletes in colleges and universities across the country, football season is a semester-long celebration of hard work and sportsmanship. College football has many rituals attached to it, from tailgating the day of the big game to celebrating with parties afterwards, and on most college campuses, these rituals involve a lot of drinking.

But too much celebrating after a win or when gearing up for the big game can have drastic consequences for students and athletes if too much alcohol is involved.

Every year, professional and college sports players are hit with penalties, missed games and fines for behavior caused by having too much to drink, from drunk driving to aggravated assault. DUI/DWI charges can significantly affect a student athlete’s standing on his or her team and may even impact options for a future professional career.

Too Drunk to Play

College sports teams have to take a hard line against drinking excessively, especially drinking and driving. Student athletes are typically viewed as role models within their communities and as such, they should uphold the school’s standards and code of conduct. In fact, most teams require student athletes to sign codes of conduct as a promise to keep up their ends of the bargain.

For this reason, a student athlete who is caught drinking and driving, even in the off-season, may face harsh penalties from the school, in addition to whatever legal repercussions result from his or her actions. If a football player is driving drunk after a game, the school may have to suspend him from the next game, or from the entire season, depending on the situation.

Athletes who are arrested on- or off-campus, or who face criminal charges for drunk driving, can be suspended from the school or the team or may be removed from the team altogether with no chance to try out again next year. One drink could be the end of a promising career.

Even if the student is allowed to continue to play, a public arrest, suspension or DUI incident can hurt his prospects for the NFL or other professional venues. Players with DUI records are liabilities for professional teams, and if there are a few incidents, this is a red flag that the player may not be worth the risk.

Team Sport

In addition to ruining the individual’s career, a drunk driving incident can reflect poorly on the team as a whole and the university itself. There are many cases where several team members are together, either driving home from a game or party, or attending a celebratory party on campus.

A few drunk driving convictions or arrests can wipe out a team’s entire starting lineup. Even if the courts impose fines instead of jail time, the college may be forced to take other actions and even cancel a team’s season if the situation warrants it.

Party Smart

As this year’s college football season starts, we encourage all students to celebrate responsibly, whether they are watching the game from the stands or at home, or playing on the field. For more information regarding drunk driving defense, contact a State College DUI defense attorney at Rehmeyer & Allat today.