Probation likely for busted TCU players

Convictions or guilty pleas could mean probation rather than prison terms for students arrested in a drug sting at Texas Christian University (TCU), but any with prior criminal records might get stiffer sentences, the prosecutors’ office and defense lawyers said Thursday.

Police said Wednesday they had arrested 18 students, including four members of TCU’s powerhouse football team.

Though police affidavits reflecting statements by two of those players said dozens of players had flunked a team-administered drug test on Feb. 1, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram cited a source Thursday who said just five tested positive, while 86 were clean and 11 showed trace amounts of marijuana.

"This has never been about who was using drugs or how many failed a drug test, therefore we will not release any results," TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr. said Thursday.

Police allegedly gathered evidence of repeat sales of drugs, predominantly relatively small amounts of marijuana, according to arrest warrants. TCU has suspended the arrested students and the players have been removed from the team.

No charges have been filed, and some of the students may not be charged.

All potentially face felony charges with sentences from six months to 10 years, criminal-defense lawyers said. But most defendants have no prior drug records and if charged are likely to receive probation, their lawyers said.

"I don’t think anyone in this thing is going to prison," said attorney Jim Shaw, who represents two of the people arrested.

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office will review arrest records and decide soon whether to file criminal charges, said spokeswoman Melody McDonald.