Thoughts On The Recent Events At TCU

So you may have heard by now that earlier this week a major drug bust occured on or around the campus of Texas Christian University resulting in the arrests of 17 students.  You probably also heard that some of those 17 people happened to be members of the TCU football team (four, if you’re counting).  And if you’re really special, you probably heard all the juicy details like, for example, how one of the four players claimed 82 people failed a random drug test administered by head coach Gary Patterson two weeks ago.  These things happened.  I’d like to comment on them.

Full disclosure: I’m an alum of TCU.  I graduated from the school back in 2009 and have remained close in both proximity and relationship since receiving my diploma.  I’ve had a couple of days to get my head wrapped around everything and so hopefully this doesn’t come across like I’m calling into Paul Finebaum to defend TCU to all the haterzzz.  Go god damn Frogs, Pawwwwwll.

When an event like this hits close to home, it’s a very natural reaction to go into full on Baltimore Ravens defense mode.  Symptoms include concerned facial gestures, irrational facebook rants, mass texts to fellow fans, speculation, rumor spreading, invention of conspiracy theories, frantic internet message board scanning, and long phone conversations that try to make any sense of what just happened.  I participated in all but one of those things when the word hit Twitter that day (and I’m proud to say it was that I didn’t unleash an inner monologue on facebook that all of seven people would have read).  I’m also willing to admit that my dad still has me about 65% convinced that UT is behind all of this and that this was our “welcome to the Big 12” moment.

To say that shock rushed through the TCU community when the details started leaking out is the biggest understatement of the year.  Here is a small sampling of the posts from my facebook feed, all identities will remain anonymous to protect the victims:

“To those of you that aren’t Horned Frogs … please show some respect. I don’t appreciate the collective druggie comments and stabs at our football program. This could’ve happened to any school and the media is taking advantage of the situation because it involves football players. 17 students do not define a University nor four define a football program.”

“Others do not define me. My faith, values and morals define who I am. TCU has and will always be an integral part of my life, and I am blessed to have been able to call myself a Horned Frog! “

“Last time I checked, there’s a slight difference between 5 and 80… Maybe people should wait for facts before believing the statements of a drug dealer.”

“Thrilled that the students were arrested and discharged from TCU for participating in drug deals. Drugs are an issue on EVERY university campus, and I think it speaks very highly of TCU to get to the bottom of this problem and terminate the students instead of turning a blind eye, as most universities do. Proud to be a Horned Frog, and proud that those who were partaking in illegal activity will not be able to graduate as a Horned Frog!”

“TCU isn’t hiding the drug bust– they’re showing that TCU doesn’t tolerate that behavior. TCU police partnered with Fort Worth Police in a 6-Month sting to catch these students. I’m so glad they made an example out of this. It only elevates the ethical caliber of the university.”

“U can’t deny TCU had a huge drug bust but you also can’t pretend every other school doesn’t have the same problem….atleast TCU has enough courage and class to do something about it. Proud to be a horned frog….STILL”

So i think you pretty much get the message that most fans believe by now, it’s something along the lines of “this was an isolated incident, these kids obviously weren’t true TCU students, we should actually be applauding TCU” and blah blah blah. 

Complete honesty here, my initial response was actually anger at the TCU Police Department and the University administration for not catching wind of this investigation months ago.  It’s not ridiculous to claim that this type of situation would have NEVER happened at a UT, an Ohio State, or an Alabama.  Drug arrests?  Sure.  But there is simply no way the police departments of those universities would ever conduct an undercover investigation going after football players.  Star-Telegram columnist and ESPN 103.3 host Randy Galloway brought up this point too.  Being the irrational fan that I am, I naturally made the connection about TCU being in the Big 12 and all now and wondered why in the hell we weren’t following suit.  Get in line officers, damnit.

While I’ve (sort of) come to realize the foolishness of that rationale, I still do feel a bit of resentment towards both the TCU and Fort Worth Police Departments for conducting such a long investigation for what I will defend to the death as a completely victimless crime.  The reasoning isn’t totally based in a Ron Paul decriminalization stance as it is with a personal history with those particular departments.

During my four years at TCU, I was personally a witness to the aftermath of dozens, if not hundreds of personal property and car thefts that took place on that campus.  If you went a week without one of your friends automobiles getting broken into, it was a cause for celebration.  I’m actually surprised there wasn’t a theme party along the way referencing this bizarre aspect of attending TCU.  For those unfamiliar with the campus, TCU sits in a very unique spot in the city of Fort Worth.  It serves as a sort of dividing line between the extremely wealthy and extremely poor.  You can go a half mile east of campus and be in the ghetto, or you can go a half mile northwest and be at the world famous Colonial Country Club. 

My anger stems from both departments’ unwillingness and indifference towards preventing those crimes.  It got to the point where you just stopped reporting them and accepted it as part of life at school.  Those brazen souls who did dare to file a police report were told that there was nothing that could be done and that insurance would probably cover it anyway.  Never mind that these lazy bastards could have patrolled the lots or set up undercover stings in the parking lots at any time.  TCU isn’t exactly like patrolling the streets of Baltimore. 

To think that these same people then spent the last six months pulling off a raid that would have left Commissioner Burrel pleased absolutely threw me for a loop.  My fondest memory of these guys is the defiant way they drove their newly purchased, custom painted segways across campus my junior year while my friends and I ripped of jokes like we were at a Flavor Flav roast.  It blew my mind.

When you throw in the whole “I am a huge fan of The Wire and completely agree with many of the sentiments of David Simon” aspect, well I hope you can begin to understand the anxiety in my head this week.  For those unfamiliar with the show, the point I’m trying to make is that these arrests don’t solve any kind of problems at all.  They put a temporary stop to the drug traffic on campus at TCU, sure.  But someone else is going to move in and that person will likely be smarter, more cutthroat, and possibly more dangerous than the kids who were arrested.  In the meantime the courts and possibly jails of Fort Worth are filled with more backlog from crimes that really didn’t hurt anybody.

One of the better revelations I found this week was an editorial in the Star-Telegram which echoed this sentiment.  The gist of the piece is to ask TCU why they’re being so hard on immature college kids making dumb decisions.  Seriously, go read it now.  It brings up a completely uncovered aspect of the sitatuion in that one of the officers swore an affidavit about a man who lives in Dallas and never attended TCU who was arrested this week by accident.  This was mostly because the officer made some gross assumptions and didn’t do his homework.  I’m not lying when I tell you these guys suck.

The other big thing that enraged me was the quick-to-judgement covering of the event, you know it as the “82 TCU Football Players Failed A Drug Test” headline that provided absolutely no context for the comments that were made. This of course was what ran across ESPN tickers all week and highlighted website story titles.  I guess I never realized the impact those type of news-grabbing tricks had until I felt like I was on the wrong end of it all.  Lesson learned.

Among the other lessons I learned was that TCU probably did handle it in the best way possible.  The story is basically a non-entity now, especially after it was leaked that only five players failed the drug test.  The decision by the administration to own the story from the get-go and issue very public declarations decrying the offenders is absolutely the way it should have been handled.  Compare that with Penn State’s huge miscalculation with the Jerry Sandusky situation and, well, Victor Boschini deserves a pat on the back for that.

I still can’t shake this dark and dirty feeling though that the NCAA is going to make an example of us because we’re not a program along the lines of Ohio State or USC.  I think my greatest fear is that they’re going to come down to Texas, preaching the holier-than-thou gospel about the dangers of drug addiction and hammer TCU with the death penalty.  And I’m being completely serious about that.  This is the same organization that makes absolutely zero money off of its best product in college football and refuses to take a position on the Penn State scandal.  If you think making an example of little old TCU is beyond the realm of possibility, than you are more naive than Joe Paterno.

Alas, TCU is out of the public eye and everybody has moved on and hey! baseball season starts today.  I’ll reserve more judgement until Mark Emmert comes down and tries to mess with Gary Patterson, and God help him if he does.

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The Arrest Warrants For The #TCU Players Have Been Posted

You can check them out for yourself here (for Brock), here (for Yendrey). 

Some of the highlights:

-The police were tipped off by an informant and originally purchased hydroponic marijuana from Ty Horn.

-The undercover officer was then directed to D.J. Yendrey and finally Tanner Brock where he purchased a half ounce of marijuana.

-Brock at one time was selling a string of marijuana called “Silver Haze” but unfortunately ran out when the officer came to purchase another half ounce.

-TCU’s football team was required to take a mandatory drug test on February 1, 2012.

-Brock, when asked about the drug test, said it probably wouldn’t be a big deal because in his estimation there, “would be about 60 people being screwed.”

-He also believed only about 20 people would pass the test after looking over the roster with Ty Horn.

-Yendrey asked the cop if he knew where he could possibly get mushrooms.

[Star-Telegram]

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Gary Patterson’s Official Statement On The Arrest Of #TCU Football Players On Drug Charges

From College Confidential:

“There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days. As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I’m mad.
 
“Under my watch, drugs and drug use by TCU’s student-athletes will not be tolerated by me or any member of my coaching staff. Period. Our program is respected nationally for its strong ethics and for that reason the players arrested today were separated from TCU by the University. I believe strongly that young people’s lives are more important than wins or losses.
 
“This situation isn’t unique to TCU—it is a global issue that we all have to address. This isn’t just about bad decisions made by a small percentage of my team. It is about a bigger issue across this country and world.
 
“As a coach, I do the best I can to educate members of my team. We have programs in place that teach student-athletes about what they should and shouldn’t do and how to be successful in life. I talk to them about how to be students and upstanding men that uphold the TCU name and its traditions.
 
“At the end of the day, though, sometimes young people make poor choices. The Horned Frogs are bigger and stronger than those involved.”

Not a good day to be a Horned Frog alum.

[College Confidential]

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Devin Johnson, Ty Horn, Tanner Brock D.J. Yendrey Were The #TCU Football Players Arrested In Drug Raid

They were also kicked off the team.  Just got this from Twitter from Stefan Stevenson, the TCU beat writer for the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

Tanner Brock and D.J. Yendrey have been removed from the TCU online roster.

Devin Johnson, Ty Horn, Tanner Brock and D.J. Yendrey all arrested in TCU drug sweep.

LB Tanner Brock, DT D.J. Yendrey, CB Devin Johnson and RT Ty Horn all kicked off team.

Brock is likely the biggest loss.  He was the team’s leading tackler in 2010 and missed last year due to injury.

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Good Morning Generation

I couldn’t be happier about the news yesterday that the Big 12 finally found some common sense and invited TCU to join the Big 12.  It ends more than a decade of being cast aside as a second citizen by the conference that should have included us over Baylor on that fateful day back in 1994 when the membership was finalized.  Since that time TCU’s spent the years wondering aimlessly from one obscure conference to the next, finally finding a niche in the Mountain West under the leadership of all-universe head coach Gary Patterson.

My immediate reaction of course had to do with validation.  Never again will the Horned Frogs have to fight for the scraps of their BCS counterparts.  Furthermore, I’m extremely excited of the prospect of getting to face schools like Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech every year after the three have piled high a laundry list of excuses not to play us over the last couple years.  For those who didn’t know, they’ve all backed out of games agreeing to play TCU, most especially Tech which has done so in back-to-back years, even prompting head coach Tommy Tubberville to remark that TCU, “is not a program we want to be facing right now.”  Too bad Tommy.  We’re coming for you and the rest of the losers up in Lubbock. 

I don’t have any allusions about immediately going in and finding a ton of success.  In fact I think we’re going to struggle for the first couple years.  It’s one thing to be able to get your team up for one big game a year against a Big 12 team.  In fact Patterson had a ton of success doing so over the last couple years.  But to have to do it on a weekly basis is a whole other challenge.  I have no doubt though that this is an extremely good problem to have and that we’ll figure it out.  Don’tunderestimate Patterson and don’t underestimate this system.  That’s exactly what our school and our coach thrive on.

In the bigger scope of college football, I think this was an excellent move for the Big 12 in the long-term.  TCU provides a school that makes sense regionally, a