As a senior studying in Washington, D.C., this semester, it came as a huge shock to hear about the latest happenings in TCU football. Since I am not on campus, I haven’t been subjected to the usual rumor mill through which some students might have heard about Casey Pachall’s fate. I, instead, found out everything through Twitter and Facebook.
Not being on campus, though, has allowed me to have a kind of disconnect that students currently on campus can’t get. Although I am still disappointed that this will not be the season everyone hoped for in our new stadium and new conference, I’m not constantly surrounded by that feeling. I am disappointed in Pachall’s actions and in the situation those actions have left the team.
But I watch the games on TV, so I don’t feel the emotions of the game like those at the stadium do. I’ll celebrate after a touchdown and shake my head at an interception, but it is not to the degree of sitting in the student section watching it all unfold in person, surrounded by thousands of other Horned Frogs.
This disconnect has allowed me to take a different look at the current situation. Pachall did a pretty stupid thing if he indeed got behind the wheel to drive after drinking. Given what else has happened this year with the drug bust, Pachall’s admitting to failing the team drug test and trying cocaine and ecstasy in the past, I believe Coach Gary Patterson’s actions are fully justified and absolutely correct.
Nearly every college student is going to make at least one mistake in his or her college career, and that is what Pachall said in his apology that his admitted drug use was – a mistake. If it had only been that one mistake of drug use and a failed drug test, Pachall would be suiting up and practicing with his team. But when you introduce another possible mistake, and one that could put him and others in serious danger, it becomes more than just a college kid’s mistake. That’s when it starts looking like a problem.
Although it is not the scenario anyone pictured heading into Saturday's rematch with Baylor, it is necessary. Patterson still has a classic mindset that the players come before a winning record. That is the mindset he seemed to take prior to the announcement that Pachall would be withdrawing from the university for the semester. With the drug use and the arrest, it seemed like Pachall needed help to get him back on the track that could lead him to an NFL career.
Patterson knew an in-patient care facility was what Pachall needed, and he did not think about how it would affect bowl game selection or the number in the "W" column. Instead, he thought about what would be best for Pachall as a person. That is how it should be. If the players are on the right track, the team will start heading in the right direction too. Pachall is lucky in comparison to those dismissed from the team during the drug bust. Unlike those four other former players, Pachall has a chance to come back in the spring.
This season might get a little bumpy, but we have Trevone Boykin to pick up the university community and start a new win streak for the team. He is our quarterback now, and we need to trust him to get the job done. Then next year, Pachall could come back and have the season everyone expected this year.
Chelsea Katz is a senior journalism major from Richmond, Texas. She is currently interning for National Geographic Kids in Washington, D.C.