It's been a pair of big news days for Texas Christian University, though university officials would probably have preferred for that number to be cut in half.
BLOG: Will six months destroy ten years of progress for TCU?
On Tuesday, the Horned Frog football team announced its first Big 12 schedule. It was an event met with a lot of aplomb, as it showed that the small school in Fort Worth nobody gave a chance over a decade ago had finally made it. They announced their presence on the national stage as a contender in a major conference, before capping off the night with with the men's basketball team defeating No. 11-ranked UNLV at home.
Then Wednesday came, and all the good feelings suddenly turned foul.
Four football players were arrested as part of a sting operation that netted 17 total students, accused of selling drugs on the TCU campus and around Fort Worth. Tanner Brock, DJ Yendrey, Ty Horn and Devin Johnson are the four now-former players involved in the bust. They've been removed from the football team, and could face expulsion from TCU, should they be found guilty of their crimes. In the arrest affidavits for the four players, both Brock and Johnson tell undercover police officers that they expect 60 (by Brock's count) or 82 (by Johnson's) more TCU players will fail a surprise drug test that was sprung on the team Feb. 1.
Less than 24 hours after the Big 12 schedule release, the school is rocked with scandal.
It has cast a pall over the university, staining what was previously an exemplary record under head coach Gary Patterson. TCU was the only Sports Illustrated top-25 ranked team in 2010 that did not feature a player with a criminal record. Needless to say, after the news of the day, that statistic is probably not one purple-clad fans are taking comfort in today.
With all this out in the open, it begs the question of how the public will perceive TCU. Will it be seen as the sparky, upstart mid-major that clawed its way up from the lower ranks, or will the image be that of a school and a football team ravaged by drug use and undeserving of the squeaky-clean status it had worked so hard to earn?
Looking at the situation as it currently stands, I think the answer is somewhere in the middle.
Patterson did not waste time in taking immediate action for these four, booting them off the team. With the number of people who actually failed the test up in the air, one would have to expect that those who failed will be suspended from the team. Judging by the way Patterson has acted so far, and by the way the entire university has treated this scandal, anticipating anything less seems an unwise notion.
What these young people did was wrong; no one will dispute that. They are adults who made mistakes and will be punished as such. That said, the actions of these four young men should not taint the work of countless other student athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans who have done so much to grow the brand of Horned Frog football to the level it has reached. Public opinion has its way of squeezing all the good out of something when something bad happens, and I'm here to say in this case it would be vastly unfair.
If we allow these four bad apples to ruin a ten-year plus bunch, then we are disregarding the hard work of so many people who were not even close to involved with these horrid happenings. Let the blame fall on those who deserve it. Do not allow it to taint those who did nothing to earn it.
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