TCU's football team will begin official practices Monday, but the focus might remain on the off-field issues that have made the Horned Frogs' off-season tumultuous.
A police report from Feb. 15, obtained by the Star-Telegram on Friday and first reported by TCU360.com, revealed that star junior quarterback Casey Pachall admitted to a Fort Worth police officer that he had smoked marijuana and failed a team drug test. He also admitted to taking ecstasy and cocaine in the past.
The information was not a surprise to the TCU athletic department.
"We were aware of Casey testing positive on Feb. 1," TCU coach Gary Patterson said in an e-mailed statement Friday evening. "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 moved forward. We have had 25 drug tests in the last 18 months, including one by the NCAA at the Rose Bowl. We've had six drug tests since February."
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The police report followed a campus-wide bust targeting drug dealing, in which 17 TCU students were arrested, including four football players: Tanner Brock, D.J. Yendrey, Devin Johnson and Ty Horn. Pachall's statements to police were part of an interview following Brock's arrest. Pachall and Brock were roommates at the time.
"Casey replied that he has used narcotics in the past," the report said. "Casey stated that he has smoked marijuana in the past. Casey replied that he smoked as recent as a week to two weeks prior to this date [Feb. 15, 2012.] Casey stated that he has smoked marijuana with Tanner at least once in the past."
According to the report, Pachall admitted to smoking marijuana days before failing a team drug test and taking other drugs in the past.
"Casey stated that he used cocaine possible a year from [Feb. 15] and ecstasy about seven months prior to [Feb. 15]," the report said. "Both were just a one time thing and hasn't done either since."
The police released Pachall and confiscated several of Brock's possessions, including pipes, a digital scale and a bag with .49 ounces of marijuana.
Former TCU student Jose Marroquin, a 2004 graduate who was on campus Friday visiting a friend, wasn't surprised to read the report.
"At least he was honest about it," Marroquin said. "I'm not completely naive to think that students and football players don't do recreational drugs while they are in school. I'm glad that it got out, and things were taken care of quickly. "
TCU, through its communications department, issued an official statement after the report became public Friday.
"We try our best to educate our students about making wise choices, and that is why we have policies and educational programs in place to help guide them," the e-mailed statement said. "Students are subject to disciplinary action if they violate any part of our code of student conduct."
Two days after the Feb. 15 bust, the Star-Telegram reported that five TCU football players had tested positive for marijuana and failed a Feb. 1 drug test initiated by Patterson after a recruit claimed he wouldn't accept a scholarship because of players' drug use. Eleven other players had trace amounts of the drug, within the margin of error.
Yendrey, Brock and Horn all reached plea deals within the past month and received deferred adjudication probation, a common penalty for first-time offenders. Johnson pleaded guilty Friday to three charges of delivery of marijuana and received three years' deferred adjudication probation, according to the Tarrant County district attorney's office. Johnson was also ordered to pay a $300 fine and court costs.
As a sophomore Pachall set school records for single-season passing yards (2,921), completion percentage (66.5) and completions (228). He threw 25 touchdown passes, two fewer than Andy Dalton's single-season record set in 2010.
Matt Brown, a sophomore from Allen, was Pachall's backup last season. Brown played in nine games, mostly in goal-line situations, and scored six rushing touchdowns. He was only 3-for-5 passing with 90 total yards.
All of the attention won't affect many fans' support of the Frogs.
"It's going to hurt them on the field, especially if they lose Pachall," said Marroquin, who has season tickets and tickets to five of the Frogs' six away games. "But it won't change us cheering. It's just a matter of how often I will be cheering, how many points they will score. It will be a lot more if Pachall's there."
Brent Shirley, 817-390-7760