In January 2010, TCU finally made it to a BCS bowl game when they played the Boise State Broncos. The Horned Frogs lost that game 17-10, so any feeling that they hit the "big time" had to be somewhat muted.
So the next season, not only did the Horned Frogs make the Rose Bowl, but they beat Wisconsin by a score of 21-19. Winning a BCS bowl game over a BCS conference team, you'd think that would be enough to feel like they were a legit player on the college football landscape.
But no, TCU at that time was still part of the Mountain West Conference. The Horned Frogs needed more.
So after that 2010 season, they announced they would move from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East. At last, they would be a member of one of the six BCS mob families. Sure, the Big East was the weakest of the six families (perhaps the equivalent of the Soprano family, that "pygmy thing over in Jersey") and the geographical logic of the move was about as sensical and awkward as the NFC East (another Dallas-area team tied to the Northeast! Sweet!), but hey, the Frogs had full access to the BCS now.
And still, they must not have felt totally "big time" yet. What were they to do?
How about leave a BCS conference for another BCS conference's greener pastures during the great realignment shakeup of 2011? YES! It's what ALL the cool kids were doing! Not only would the Horned Frogs leave the Big East, but they would do it before ever playing a game in that conference!
Big time and groundbreaking! YES!
But still, TCU had to have looked at the college football landscape and thought, "Sure, we've changed conferences twice in one year, but that's not nearly scandalous enough. Ohio State, Miami, North Carolina...we need a scandal like them. What else can we do?"
Today's news emanating from Fort Worth was a pretty solid move by TCU in the chess game of "big time" football.
Winning BCS bowl games? Meh. Switching conferences? Twice? Whatever.
How about a good ol' fashioned drug ring?!
Four football players were among 17 TCU students arrested on drug charges Wednesday, and an arrest warrant for one of the players alleges that at least three players were dealing drugs.
According to Fort Worth police, the players arrested are: junior linebacker Tanner Brock, junior safety Devin Johnson, junior defensive tackle D.J. Yendrey and sophomore offensive tackle Tyler Horn.
Brock entered the 2011 season as a starter and one of the team's best defenders, but he hurt his ankle in September and missed the rest of the season. In 2010, he led the team in tackles with 106 and was named an All-Mountain West performer.
His arrest warrant, which was obtained by ESPNDallas.com, states that an undercover police officer bought marijuana from Horn and Yendrey at their residence on Nov. 3, 2011.
The investigation continued for several months, and on Jan. 18, the officer asked to purchase a half-ounce of marijuana from Yendrey. The warrant states that Yendrey said he was out, but a friend could get the drugs. The officer then was able to buy marijuana from a man who turned out to be Brock.
According to reports, the menu available at the Hotel Horned Frog includes not only marijuana, but also cocaine, ecstasy and prescription drugs. On top of that, Brock estimated to the undercover officer that roughly 80 percent of the team was on drugs:
The officer allegedly again bought marijuana from Brock a few days later. On Feb. 1, the officer was alerted by the TCU police force that the football team was surprised with a drug test. The officer contacted Brock and spoke about the test on the phone.
"Ya, they caught us slipping," Brock allegedly said.
The officer went to Brock's residence and bought $220 worth of marijuana, according to the warrant. The officer told Brock that the drug test was "bull----," and Brock responded, "I failed that b---- for sure."
According to the warrant, Brock said that he wasn't worried because there "would be about 60 people being screwed." Brock is alleged to have said that he and Horn had looked over the TCU roster and concluded that only about 20 players could pass the test.
Much like Sy Sperling and the Hair Club for Men, not only were the TCU football players salespeople for the drug ring, they were also customers!
On the surface, TCU is a small (9,500 students), spiritually based (affiliated with the Christian Church) college with a stringent policy about student drug use. In fact, they estimate that less than one percent of the student population were nabbed for drug-related offenses last year.
But the surface no longer tells the whole story. TCU is a big-time football institution now. They win games, they change conferences, they do drugs. Hell, they even sell drugs!
Big. Time. Football.
Hey, I know it's a painful day for some of you Horned Frogs, and I don't wish this kind of news on any college or fan base. Okay, I don't wish it on most colleges or fan bases.
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If it makes you feel any better, TCU, Penn State would kill for a drug ring to be their biggest problem right about now.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. weekdays, and watch the simulcast on Comcast 129 from 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.