In following with an NCAA-wide attempt to make Jim Tressel look good, dark days have fallen upon Texas Christian University's campus today. Police swept through TCU this morning, arresting 17 students who are suspected to be involved in a major drug ring. Of the 17 students, 4 of them are players on the TCU Horned Frogs, the school’s Division-I football team. Included in the suspects are star linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive tackle DJ Yendrey, cornerback Devin Johnson and offensive lineman Ty Horn.
These developments came on the heels of TCU's recent move to the Big 12 Conference, placing the school on a much larger stage in collegiate athletics. The developments also follow a report from Sports Illustrated, released in the 2011 off season, that named TCU as the only school in the top 25 to possess no players with a criminal record, according to this ABC News report.
The foundation, it seems, has only begun to crumble for the Horned Frogs. The ring is said to have been involved in selling everything from marijuana to cocaine and prescription drugs including Xanax and OxyContin. Arrest affidavits document meetings between players and undercover narcotics officers where hand-to-hand drug sales occurred. The officers recorded conversations during the meetings that chronicle both illegal transactions and players discussing failed team drug tests.
One conversation, according to this AP report , had Tanner Brock admitting to failing one of these tests. Brock said that the team “caught (them) slipping,” and said that he failed the drug test “for sure.” He wasn’t concerned about punishment, however, because there “would be about 60 people screwed.” This is certainly not a good look for the supposedly squeaky-clean TCU athletics program.
These developments are an unfortunate turn for TCU's head coach, Gary Patterson. Patterson told the media this morning that "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."
He should be. Patterson has gone from being considered one of the top coaches in Division-I football to most likely losing his position. In an era that has seen prominent football programs like Ohio State University and Penn State fall from grace in the wake of scandals, a program on the rise like TCU is in major trouble.
Things have only begun to unravel at Texas Christian University as this story emerges into the national spotlight. The fact that four athletes are being directly linked to selling illicit narcotics may be just scratching the surface. As time goes on this scandal can only get worse - both for TCU and for collegiate athletics as a whole.