TCU quarterback Casey Pachall has withdrawn from school and will enter an in-patient substance abuse program, coach Gary Patterson said Tuesday.
Pachall can enroll in the spring and rejoin the team, Patterson said, but he gave no specific parameters for Pachall's return to the team.
"He can come back here in January if he gets clean," Patterson said. "Those people have to tell me that he's changed."
Patterson made it clear that neither he nor the school forced Pachall to seek treatment. In fact, two sources close to the discussions said the conversation never got to a point where an alternative was considered if Pachall refused treatment.
"It wasn't 'You have to do this,'" Patterson said. "I know enough about [substance abuse/addiction] to know he has to make this decision. It was important for me he knew he had an opportunity to come back here. You have to have hope in what you do."
Pachall was suspended from team competition last week after his arrest early Thursday for suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Patterson said he had a lengthy meeting with Pachall and his parents to discuss the situation. Patterson also met with chancellor Victor Boschini and athletic director Chris Del Conte on Sunday. The end result was a mutually agreed upon decision by Patterson, Boschini, Del Conte, Pachall and his parents. Pachall and his parents could not be reached for comment.
"What we're saying is the health and the safety of the student-athlete is the first priority," Boschini said. "I'm happy to support coach Patterson's decision because what I think his decision says is we're walking the walk and talking the talk."
Patterson said he texted Pachall Tuesday morning to say he was proud of him for seeking treatment. Patterson said several times during his nearly 30-minute press conference that winning football games did not enter in the decision.
"We're trying to help him with his life. Period," he said. "For all of you who always think it's always about wins and losses -- wrong."
Patterson said he and his wife Kelsey are donating $100,000 to help raise the profile of the TCU Recovery Support Group, which offers help for students struggling or recovering from addiction. The group was formed in the wake of the campus-wide drug bust in February.
"We're going to help escalate that where it becomes a more prominent program on this campus because what I think we're talking about is a big problem on college campuses," he said. "Casey is just one of millions. We wanted to try to make sure this turns into a positive and others could be helped because of it."
"People tiptoe around, all the time, mental illness, alcoholism because they really don't know how to deal with it because everybody is different," Patterson said. "I took the facts that I had and we did what we needed to do and felt like we made the best decision for the football team, Casey Pachall, and this university.
"Hopefully he gets himself right and keeps the door open as far as an opportunity for him to be able to come back here and enroll in the spring. He's close enough where he'd be able to graduate in two semesters, which is the ultimate goal for us, and we get a great kid and also get a good quarterback back."
Pachall made news in July when a February police report revealed that he had failed a team-wide drug test on Feb. 1. Two weeks after the test, four TCU players were arrested in a drug bust and kicked off the team. One of those players was Tanner Brock, Pachall's roommate at the time. In the police report Pachall also admitted to using cocaine and Ecstasy.
Patterson decided against a suspension and Pachall apologized publicly when August camp began. He went through the campus counseling program for alcohol and drugs, and started the Horned Frogs' first four games and was off to a solid start. In 2011, Pachall set TCU records for passing yards and completions and led the team to an 11-2 record.
Since Pachall's arrest, Patterson's e-mail has been filled with those offering help and concern and many others demanding Pachall be kicked off the team.
TCU (4-1, 1-1 in the Big 12) plays at Baylor at 6 p.m. Saturday. Patterson acknowledged that his decision may hurt the Frogs' chances of winning, but that never entered his thinking, he said.
"I don't know if we would have won any more ball games with Casey Pachall," Patterson said. "Maybe we would have won all of them."
Pachall needed a drastic change, Patterson said, so a one or three-game suspension wouldn't "have made any difference."
"You've got to change kid's lives. And that's what this is all about," Patterson said. "He just needed to step away from it all. I think that was the best decision for both this football team right now and for Casey Pachall. Both of us get a chance to heal and both of us get a chance to grow and we'll see how it all goes from here. But we're still going to try to win games. We won before, when Casey wasn't quarterback, and we're going to win ball games after Casey was the quarterback."
Patterson bristled at the notion from many, including TCU fans, that Pachall should have been kicked off the team immediately.
"It's really amazing how nearsighted some people are about how these kinds of decisions are made," he said. "People are going to have opinions. You should see some of my e-mails."