Fields’ suspension remains in place at TCU; return unlikely

Posted Tuesday, Aug. 05, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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TCU statement regarding Devonte Fields

“Devonte Fields continues to be separated from the university at this time. TCU’s process to handle a situation when a student is alleged to have violated the University Code of Student Conduct comprises several parts. A judicial hearing on the matter is held. A panel of faculty and staff members reviews the case and the student is given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. The panel then decides by a preponderance of evidence whether or not a violation of the University’s code has occurred. If a student is found in violation, a sanction is applied. The student is afforded the opportunity to appeal that decision before a final decision is rendered. This process can take several days to complete. Judicial hearings for students are protected information under the FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy) Act.”

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Devonte Fields remains suspended following a hearing with TCU on Tuesday, and an anonymous school official said it is unlikely he will be allowed to return to the Horned Frogs football team.

The source, who spoke to the Star-Telegram on condition of anonymity, said “the injuries were too much to ignore” when a panel met with Fields and reviewed his suspension following an assault complaint against him by an ex-girlfriend.

TCU issued a statement that said: “Devonte Fields continues to be separated from the university at this time.”

Fields’ suspension was announced July 22 following an assault complaint by his ex-girlfriend. He surrendered to authorities July 24 on a misdemeanor assault warrant and was released on bond.

TCU said a panel of faculty and staff members looked at the case against Fields and gave him a chance to respond and then decided because of “a preponderance of the evidence” to maintain his suspension.

The school said Fields can appeal but that it could be several days before a decision on the appeal is made.

Football practice began Monday without Fields, a defensive end who led the Horned Frogs in sacks two years ago and was voted the conference’s preseason defensive player of the year by the media this summer.

Coach Gary Patterson said Monday after practice that he had not talked to Fields but expected to this week “one way or another.” Patterson did not meet with reporters Tuesday but is scheduled to after Wednesday’s practice.

Fields, who had tweeted optimism about the hearing, could transfer to play in a lower division if he cannot return to TCU.

Fields surrendered to police July 24, following the complaint by his ex-girlfriend, Haley Brown, also a TCU student. She said he broke a window from the outside of the home of a mutual friend, hit her in the head and waved a gun in her face and shouted, “I should blast you!”

The affidavit said Brown suffered bruising, swelling and bleeding after Fields struck her “in the left jaw and right cheek area.”

In an arrest warrant, police said Fields admitted to being at the scene in the July 20 incident, which happened at a home near campus around 3:30 a.m., but denied the assault. The university announced a suspension on July 22.

It appeared Fields’ chance to return to the football team improved when Brown recanted the gun allegation in a written statement during a follow-up meeting with investigators.

But the school source who spoke to the Star-Telegram said the injury evidence could not be ignored.

It was not the first time Fields was on the wrong side of the university or athletic department. He was suspended two games last year for breaking team rules, part of a disappointing season in which he also missed eight games because of a foot injury.

In February 2012, he was arrested by Arlington police for marijuana possession (less than 2 ounces) and entered deferred prosecution.

But he repaired his reputation in part with a standout performance in the season that followed, when he led the Horned Frogs in sacks and tackles for loss and won defensive freshman of the year honors in the conference, putting himself on the radar of NFL scouts.

Despite his missing most of last season, the media who cover the conference voted him the preseason defensive player of the year. The accolade was announced shortly before the start of Big 12 Media Days on July 21 — immediately following the weekend of the incident — but Patterson chose not to bring the star player to the gathering. In his media appearances, Patterson expressed surprise that Fields had won such an award.

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