Three starters among TCU players arrested in major drug sweep

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UPDATED 1:32 p.m. ET: Tanner Brock was arrested on three felony charges relating to the drug sting. Click HERE for the details contained in Brock’s arrest warrant.

Perhaps the most disturbing/damning detail contained in the warrant?  Brock told an informant that it was likely only about 20 players on TCU’s roster would pass a drug test.

So, yes, there’s likely still a lot of road left to travel on this story, with the speculation being that further arrests/dismissals/suspensions could be in the offing.

UPDATED 12:22 p.m. ET: The names of the four TCU football players arrested in a drug sweep Wednesday have been released by police officials.

Linebacker Tanner Brock, offensive lineman Ty Horn, defensive back Devin Johnson and defensive lineman D.J. Yendrey were all named as individuals who will now be facing charges stemming from the six-month investigation.  The names of all four players have been removed from the roster on the team’s official website.

Brock is by far the most well-known name, having led the Horned Frogs in tackles during the 2010 season.  He suffered an ankle injury in the 2011 opener and missed the remainder of the year.

Yendrey started the first 10 games last season, while Johnson started the final eight.

All three were expected to be starters in 2012.  While it’s not yet official, it’s believed all three, plus Horn, have been dismissed from the football program.

Head coach Gary Patterson did release a statement, though.  Here it is, in its entirety:

“There are days people want to be a head football coach, but today is not one of those days. As I heard the news this morning, I was first shocked, then hurt and now I’m mad.

“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. Period. 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.

“This situation isn’t unique to TCU—it is a global issue that we all have to address. This isn’t just about bad decisions made by a small percentage of my team. It is about a bigger issue across this country and world.

“As a coach, I do the best I can to educate members of my team. We have programs in place that teach student-athletes about what they should and shouldn’t do and how to be successful in life. I talk to them about how to be students and upstanding men that uphold the TCU name and its traditions.

“At the end of the day, though, sometimes young people make poor choices. The Horned Frogs are bigger and stronger than those involved.”

______________________________

With its spring practice set to start in exactly 10 days, TCU has a very serious and potentially crippling situation on its hands.

Wednesday morning, TCU chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. confirmed that “many current students” were arrested earlier in the day in what was described as a major on-campus drug sweep.  At a press conference which concluded just a short time ago, it was announced that 17 students were arrested, including four unnamed football players.  The charges will stem from the individuals allegedly selling cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and prescription medication.

The sweep was part of what’s been a six-month investigation by the Fort Worth Police Department and TCU Campus Police.

“TCU has never before experienced a magnitude of student arrests such as this,” Boschini said in a statement posted on the school’s website prior to the press conference. “In fact, Campus Police records show only five student arrests related to drug law violations in recent years.”

The identities of the players will be released later in the day, although if one rumored name proves true, it would be a significant blow to the Horned Frogs as they prepare for their first season in the Big 12.  The investigation is still ongoing, and police officials stated they are still trying to determine whether the four players were selling drugs to their teammates.

“We were not targeting students, fraternities or football players. We were targeting drug dealers,” Capt. Ken Dean said at the press conference.

Head coach Gary Patterson has yet to comment on the developing situation.

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

California’s state-funded travel ban to discriminating states raises mild football scheduling concerns

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The state of California is banning state-funded travel to the states of Texas, Alabama, Kentucky, and South Dakota. Those states are added to the previous state-funded travel bans that included Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Tennessee due to what California lawmakers say are laws that allow for discrimination against gay and transgender people.

So what does this have to do with college football? My colleague, Bryan, notes this latest decision from the state means scheduling any potential road games for a handful of schools just got a tad trickier.

This development poses a couple of issues for some California schools to address moving forward.

San Jose State is the school affected by this latest news right off the bat. San Jose State has a road game scheduled at Texas on September 9 this season. San Jose State may have to rely on some of that guaranteed money from Texas to cover the expenses, which would put a dent in the total takeaway from playing the game in the first place.

Cal is also scheduled to play at North Carolina on September 2. Cal also plays at TCU in 2021 and at Auburn in 2024. If the ban is still in operation at those times, then Cal will have to budget ahead of time to tackle the expenses. UCLA will play at Memphis on September 19.

The state-funded travel ban to these states may not be an issue for the postseason, as bowl game expenses tend to be carried by the conference and their revenue shares.

Fresno State has a road game at Texas A&M scheduled in 2020. San Diego State has no future scheduling hassles to worry about for the time being.

When ‘physically, mentally ready,’ door wide open for Keyshawn Johnson Jr.’s return to Nebraska

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Keyshawn Johnson Jr. has yet to play a down for Nebraska, but, if it’s up to Mike Riley, he will at some point down the road.

Earlier this month, the son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  This past week, the younger Johnson decided to take a leave of absence, with his father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and will not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

Left open at the time was the question of whether Johnson Jr. would ever play for the ‘Huskers, period.  Friday, Riley left the door wide open for a return.

“We’re disappointed that he’s not here with us right now today,” the head coach said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I think there’s kind of a wellness factor for Keyshawn going home. We talked to him about the possibility of maybe enrolling part time and taking care of his progress toward his degree, and also getting in great shape.

“And we opened the door for return, which is just kind of left open that we’ll deal with at the time that he is physically and mentally ready to do that.”

A three-star 2017 signee who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, the younger Johnson had been expected to be an immediate contributor for the Cornhuskers this season.