TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini, Jr. told the Star-Telegram on Thursday that he has not reviewed all the facts of the KaVontae Turpin case, but that he will not rule out anything, including the need for a detailed investigation or potential disciplinary action against football coach Gary Patterson.
“I could not answer that until I meet with everyone involved and find out exactly what happened,” Boschini said. “I want all of that information in front of me.”
Boschini said he was in Orlando attending NCAA meetings when the news broke that senior wide receiver KaVontae Turpin was arrested on charges of domestic violence Sunday in Fort Worth. Monday, it was learned that Turpin also had a similar charge from an incident in March in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Tuesday, Patterson said Turpin was no longer with the team.
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Boschini said he plans to meet with all parties involved to find out exactly what happened, and the time line of events to determine why the university did not know about Turpin’s first arrest. Boschini said he plans to have the meeting “sooner rather than later” because he plans to be out of town next week.
“We do think we have pieced together exactly what happened and the time line, but I want everyone involved so we can determine exactly what happened,” he said. “I’m trying to find out right now what happened. I don’t know what else we could have done, but I want to uncover every stone. This is my reputation, too. I take these things personally.”
Patterson, during his weekly press conference Tuesday, held up a report from Turpin’s incident in New Mexico that was obtained from the website, rapsheets.org. The report on Turpin listed only property damage, Patterson said.
The team knew of Turpin’s trip to New Mexico during spring break, and a few weeks later, it was aware that there was an incident. Turpin told the staff that it was only property damage. Patterson said Turpin never mentioned a battery charge, which was listed on the report through Dona Ana County, N.M.
“I went to that website (rapssheets.org) myself and when I printed out the report, only one page of four printed,” Boschini said. “And, (Patterson) was right, all it said was ‘property damage.‘ The other pages were just (jargon) and stuff you don’t need. There was no mention of the (battery) charge.”
Turpin was scheduled to appear in court in New Mexico in July. He skipped the court date, though, and a bench warrant was issued.
He appeared in all seven of TCU’s games this season. This was his final year of eligibility.
When asked what he initially thought the school could have done to know, and to avoid, such an event, Boschini said, “I think it’s very difficult to avoid. A lot of it depends on total transparency from an 18-year-old person. I have those in my own house, and that always doesn’t happen, especially with males. You have to be wary about it, I guess.
“I know a lot of these guys on these teams, and in school in general, come from hard backgrounds. You know the difference between right and wrong. I came from a hard background, and I knew the difference between right and wrong. It’s our jobs to help them if we can.”
ADDRESSING ASSAULT IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Shortly after Baylor University finished its internal investigation of its Title IX procedures in May 2016 conducted by the law firm of Pepper Hamilton, then TCU director of athletics Chris Del Conte invited the two primary investigators to speak with his staff. The point of the session was to provide an opportunity for his staff to ask anything that would help them avoid potential mistakes within their own program.
The larger point was to remind his staff to be humble, and that it doesn’t take much to find trouble.
About one year after the situation at Baylor began in Aug. 2015, which involved a football player who remained on the team despite being on trial for allegedly assaulting a female student-athlete, TCU, and many schools across the nation, have been more vigilant about being aware of cases involving student athletes.
The normal procedure is to remove them from the team once a student athlete is alleged to have been involved in an incident; the school and law enforcement officials sort out the specifics.
Shortly after Texas Monthly first reported this story, Baylor hired Pepper Hamilton to conduct an internal investigation. The investigation, which concluded in May ‘16, eventually led to the firing of football coach Art Briles, as well as the resignations of athletic director Ian McCaw and president Ken Starr.
It also led to the school making dramatic improvements to its Title IX office, and how sexual assault cases are handled.
Since then, former Baylor staffers have been heavily critical of the investigation, including Baylor board members who allege the process was led by fellow board members to generate a specific result that would result in Briles’ departure.
This fall, Ohio State and football coach Urban Meyer found themselves in a similar spotlight after the ex-wife of then-Buckeyes assistant coach Zach Smith said she was abused by her then-husband.
She said she told Meyer’s wife. Smith was fired in July. Smith denied the allegations.
After more details emerged, Ohio State conducted an investigation in August and suspended Meyer for the first three games of the 2018 season, including its date against TCU at AT&T Stadium.
Patterson has been the head coach at TCU since 2000. While he has had a handful of players get into trouble with the law, both he and the school have a record of acting accordingly to varying degrees of success. He’s just never had a situation like this.