August 6, 2012
Texas Christian University’s football program, entering into its first year as a member of the Big 12 Conference, has gotten itself into a bit of a (t)horny situation, thanks in no small part to its starting quarterback, Casey Pachall, and a past that includes the use of illegal drugs.
A problem TCU’s athletic department apparently would have just as soon ignored and hoped never seen the light of day, news broke this past Friday that Pachall admitted to a Fort Worth, Texas police officer back in spring that he has smoked marijuana, taken ecstasy, used cocaine and failed a drug test back in February – the latter something coaches and school administrators knew, but apparently decided to do little, if nothing, about.
Head coach of the Horned Frogs, Gary Patterson, told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in an emailed statement Friday, “We were aware of Casey testing positive on Feb. 1. I have always taken a very strong stand on student-athlete health and welfare. We have policies and educational programs in place to help guide our student-athletes. We are committed to helping them make healthy choices and have move forward. We have had 25 drug tests in the last 18 months, including one by the NCAA at the Rose Bowl. Weve had six drug tests since February.”
Patterson also maintained in the email that Pachall completed drug and alcohol counseling as mandated by the university, and, in light of that scenario, no further action would be taken against TCU’s starting quarterback.
Patterson’s comments might normally be taken with a grain of salt and otherwise forgotten, but Pachall’s admission to drug use in the past – and TCU’s refusal to take action outside of intervention – comes at a time when the Horned Frogs football program is desperately trying to put behind it a connection with a campus-wide drug ring broken up by local authorities earlier this year.
On Feb. 15, four members of TCU’s football team – linebacker Tanner Brock, ironically, Pachall’s roommate, D.J. Yendrey, Devin Johnson and Ty Horn – were arrested in the bust.
Pachall was detained in addition to the aforementioned players, but released shortly thereafter.
Brock, Yendrey, Johnson and Horn were all dismissed from the team, while Pachall remains.
To his credit, Patterson claims Pachall was “internally disciplined” and will continue to face “rigorous” drug testing in the future.
“Just because he didn’t receive additional punishment doesn’t mean we think it’s acceptable,” Patterson added. “It’s not. And Casey knows that. He’ll continue to get tested and knows how serious this is.”
Recognizing the seriousness of Pachall’s situation led the junior from Brownwood, Texas, to read a statement to the media prior to the start of camp Sunday in which he apologized for his actions, while also adding his use of cocaine and ecstasy were “just a one-time thing” and not something he has done since.
“I’ve made mistakes, I know I’m not perfect,” Pachall commented during Sunday’s meeting with the press, as provided by Pegasus News. “But I’ve learned from those mistakes and I’m still learning.”
The News reports Patterson and Pachall agreed the quarterback should address the issue publicly during the TCU Media Luncheon, with Patterson noting, “It’s just another example of how we’re not trying to hide anything. You gotta talk. You can’t hide behind a helmet. That’s what he [is] trying to tell you.”
Shortly after Pachall met with the press, Patterson was asked if suspension was ever an option in his mind when it came to dealing with his team’s starting quarterback.
Patterson seemed emphatic in his response, replying, “I’m in the job of growing up young people. If you have a son or daughter and they screw up, do they quit being yours because you’re upset with them?” The Horned Frogs head coach continued: “What you need to understand is that he is a football player to you. He is somebody’s son to me.”
Pachall last season set single-season school records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and passing yards (2,921).
No word yet whether or not Pachall will lead the Horned Frogs out on the field at Sept. 8 as TCU host Grambling State.