Gene Wojciechowski of ESPN.com posted a new entry today on the Big Man on Campus blog, and like a lot of others have been, he was critical of the punishment Gary Patterson and TCU handed down to QB Casey Pachall.
This isn't about exacting a pound of Horned Frogs flesh. Or picking on Pachall. But given how other programs have dealt with misbehaving players, TCU's leniency seems either naive or conveniently calculated.
LSU star Tyrann Mathieu's drug-related violation of team policy resulted in his dismissal from the Tigers. Former Auburn running back Michael Dyer was drop-kicked from Arkansas State after marijuana and a gun were found in a car he was driving. An offseason drug arrest resulted in a two-game suspension for Clemson star wide receiver Sammy Watkins. All-SEC wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers was suspended indefinitely by Tennessee after a reported substance abuse violation.
See where I'm going with this?
Pachall's situation, the school says, was handled "internally." As dictated by the university student conduct handbook, Pachall was required to complete drug and alcohol counseling. He also is subject to drug testing.
The good doctor himself, Lou Holtz, likes to say that "choices have consequences," and that discipline isn't what you do to someone, "but what you do for them."
TCU's choice was to keep Pachall in the starting lineup. The unintended consequence of the decision -- that there's a perception TCU was soft on Pachall after a failed drug test -- is the program's own fault.
Wojciechowski isn’t the first guy to be critical of the way TCU handled the punishment, but let’s get real for a second here. Is he seriously comparing Pachall’s situation to others like the Honey Badger and Sammy Watkins? Let me remind Mr. Wojciechowski that Casey was never arrested and this was his first failure of a drug test.
Mathieu failed MULTIPLE drug tests. He wasn’t kicked out of school after his first failure. Sammy Watkins was charged with two counts of possession for marijuana AND pills. Michael Dyer was kicked off Arkansas State when marijuana AND A GUN was found in the car he was driving. Da’Rick Rogers had MULTIPLE violations of the school's substance-abuse policy for athletes according to ESPN.com. Do you see the trend developing here? These weren't fist time offenses for those other players and if they were first time offenses, they were much more serious.
I continue to ask the questions, why is it that TCU needed to change their rules? Why did TCU need to make an example of Pachall? I didn’t hear any outrage when Honey Badger failed his first drug test…Let’s get real.