TCU football players told undercover officers that drug use was widespread among the team, according to affidavits released Wednesday after the arrest of 18 people, including four players, on drug charges.
The details disclosed in their arrest warrant affidavits are a blow to one of the most respected programs in college football and one that was expected to contend for the Big 12 title in its first season in the league. Spring practice begins Feb. 25.
Police say that four players -- linebacker Tanner Brock, defensive lineman D.J. Yendrey, offensive tackle Ty Horn and safety Devin Johnson -- sold marijuana to students and football players. They have been kicked off the team.
The 18 people arrested, 15 of them students, were caught making "hand-to-hand" sales of marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs to undercover officers, police said.
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All four players had bonded out of jail by late Wednesday evening.
Police said they had yet to determine if other football players were involved or would be charged.
The documents say that coach Gary Patterson sprung a surprise drug test on the football team on Feb. 1, National Signing Day, and that Brock later told an undercover officer that there "would be about 60 people being screwed" as a result of the test. Sources said Patterson ordered the drug test after a prize recruit told him that he would not attend TCU because of drug use by players.
During a drug buy, an undercover officer asked Johnson about the surprise drug test.
"What can they do? Eighty-two people failed it," Johnson said.
Patterson and athletic director Chris Del Conte declined numerous requests for interviews.
TCU spokeswoman Lisa Albert said TCU tests its student-athletes for drug use on a regular basis. Any student found in violation of TCU's drug abuse policy is subject to university disciplinary action, she wrote in an e-mail.
"Also, I know you were wondering if the university is refuting the facts regarding the statements made in the affidavit," she wrote. "The university is refuting these comments because these comments were made in the context of a drug buy."
The affidavits do not indicate that Patterson knew about the six-month investigation that led to the arrests early Wednesday, including three on campus. In a statement, the coach indicated that he did not.
"As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt, and now I am mad," Patterson said. "Under my watch, drugs and drug use by TCU's student-athletes will not be tolerated by me or any member of my coaching staff. Our program is respected nationally for its strong ethics and for that reason the players arrested today were separated from TCU by the University. I believe strongly that young people's lives are more important than wins or losses."
Brock, a junior from Copperas Cove who led the team in tackles during the Frogs' 13-0 Rose Bowl season in 2010, was sidelined after the season opener at Baylor with an ankle injury. He was poised to take TCU's defensive leader mantle from Tank Carder in 2012.
Yendrey, a defensive tackle from Edna High School, started 18 games the last two seasons, including the Poinsettia Bowl Dec. 21. Johnson, from Moore High School in Oklahoma, had eight career starts, including the bowl game. Yendrey and Johnson would have been seniors next season.
Horn, from McGregor, would have been a junior. He started against SMU in 2011 and had played in 11 games, including the Poinsettia Bowl.
TCU has received almost universal positive press for years as Patterson built the program into a perennial power. The Frogs are 47-5 over the last four seasons, including 11-2 in 2011.
In December, TCU ranked third in the "Academic BCS," a list by researchers at the New America Foundation's Higher Ed Watch blog that ranks football teams based on their graduation rates and how well players are working toward their degrees.
Its Academic Progress Rate score of 972 was fourth among the Top 25 schools in the final 2010 BCS standings. APR is a measure of eligibility and retention used by the NCAA to see how successful teams are in the classroom.
The American Football Coaches Association has recognized TCU for its high graduation rates for four consecutive years. All but one of TCU's 19 seniors on the 2011 roster has already earned his degree or is on track to graduate by May.
Last year, TCU was highlighted in a Sports Illustrated article as the only Top 25 in 2010 with no players on its roster with criminal records. The article stated that TCU and Oklahoma were the only two schools in the Top 25 that perform criminal background checks on their recruits.
How the investigation unfolded
A timeline of events involving TCU football players accused of selling drugs to undercover agents, according to arrest warrant affidavits, which can be viewed at star-telegram.com:
Oct. 18: Police receive tip that Ty Horn, a TCU football player, is selling hydroponic marijuana to students.
Nov. 3: An undercover agent visits Horn at his house in the 3400 block of Brady Avenue and buys marijuana from Horn and teammate D.J. Yendrey. Undercover officer says he continues to make purchases from the two for several months.
Nov. 7: An undercover officer calls Horn and tells him he wants to buy a half of an ounce of marijuana. Horn calls him back and says he will send his friend, Yendrey, to meet him with the drug. After the buy, Yendrey tells the officer that he and Horn both sell marijuana but that Horn gets his marijuana from Yendrey.
Nov. 10: Undercover officer buys 10 grams of marijuana from Yendrey. The officer introduces Yendrey to another undercover officer posing as a "customer."
Nov. 15: Undercover officer buys half an ounce of marijuana from Yendrey.
Dec. 7: Undercover officer buys a quarter of an ounce of marijuana from Yendrey. The officer and Yendrey talk about the officer buying a larger amount of the drug from Yendrey's supplier, a teammate named "Devin."
December: Undercover officer receives tip that Devin Johnson is selling marijuana.
Jan. 19: Undercover officer tells Yendrey he wants to buy half an ounce of marijuana. Yendrey says he's out and takes the officer to the house of teammate Tanner Brock, who tells the officer to come to him for marijuana in the future. The two exchange phone numbers.
Jan. 25: Undercover officer buys half an ounce of marijuana from Brock's residence in the 4000 block of Winfield Avenue.
Jan. 25: Undercover officer buys two ounces of marijuana from Johnson.
Feb. 1: TCU's football team is drug tested. An undercover officer asks Brock about the tests. "Yeah, they caught us slipping," he tells the officer, saying it's not a big deal and that if he needs anything to come over to his house. The officer arrives at Brock's house at 9:22 p.m., buys marijuana and asks Brock if he could get any Xanax or hydrocodone pills. Brock tells him that he used to buy from two players who have since graduated, so it's been harder to get the pills.