Big week for the Big 12, y'all! Or perhaps more apt, the Decreasingly Inaccurately-Named Big 12! 2012 football membership officially swelled from nine schools to 10 on Tuesday with the announcement that West Virginia has successfully extricated itself from the flailing clutches of the Big East. The release of the new conference schedule swiftly followed, fanning anticipation of shiny matchups to come.
And then on Wednesday morning, both pieces of news were swiftly supplanted by the Star-Telegram report that four TCU football players have been arrested on drug charges, along with 13 of their fellow students, in a joint narcotics investigation between school and Fort Worth police forces. The report lists linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive lineman D.J. Yendry, reserve offensive tackle Ty Horn and starting defensive back Devin Johnson as the involved athletes. Brock missed the 2011 season due to injury but was a first-team all-conference player in 2010, as well as an SI.com All-American honorable mention honoree. Johnson ranked second on the 2011 Frogs' squad in tackles for loss. Yendry is a two-time all-conference honoree.
University Chancellor Victor J. Boschini released a statement this morning which reads, in part:
While this news is certainly shocking and disappointing, it is important to remember that TCU has clear expectations for its students: that they behave in an ethical manner, abide by campus policies and adhere to state and federal law. These students are charged with acting in a manner that is incompatible with TCU values and against the law. That is simply unacceptable and such reported behavior is not tolerated at this University.
We have a responsibility to ensure that our campus environment is free of such behavior. Today's actions highlight that responsibility. The students involved were immediately separated from TCU and criminally trespassed from campus. Further, according to University policy, students arrested and found in violation of distributing drugs are subject to immediate expulsion from TCU.
The full statement is available for perusal on the school website. It's that last part that caught our particular attention, obviously, and it's unclear at this time what the academic and athletic fates of the four arrested players will be. Depending on how you interpret the expulsion threat, either all of these kids are already expelled or the university is waiting for the legal process to unfold. An initial report from the Associated Press read, "Officials say all 17 students have been expelled," but that line has since been cut from the report. Star-Telegram beat writer Stefan Stevenson has tweeted that the AP report of immediate expulsion was inaccurate.
Head coach Gary Patterson's statement echoes the "separation" comment in the Chancellor's statement:
"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."Stay tuned to SI.com as this story develops, but to answer the many mascot-related questions already piling up in our inbox: As it happens, the horned frog is really a lizard, which means licking it would have no psychedelic effect. However, if you really want to steer into the skid with this story, alert reader Mark has already created a TCU Hypnotoad.