No Fields of Dreams
In case you hadn’t heard the recent saga regarding TCU standout defensive end Devonte Fields, here’s a brief recap of what’s transpired over the past few weeks. Fields, who as a freshman for TCU two years ago was voted the Big 12 defensive player of the year, was voted the pre-season defensive player of the year going into this season and was without question the best player on his team, has been “separated” from TCU while awaiting the ruling of a judicial hearing to determine whether he would be suspended for violating the University Code of Student Conduct. This all started last month after he surrendered to authorities on an assault warrant.
On July 20 at 3:30 am, Fields allegedly punched out a window, pointed a gun at his ex-girlfriend Haley Brown, yelled “I should blast you!” and then punched her in the head, after eavesdropping outside her house while she was on the phone. Officers said the 20-year-old woman’s right cheek was swollen and she had a cut under an eye when they arrived at the Fort Worth home. Oh by the way, Fields is listed at 6 ft. 4 and 250 lbs. Ray Rice has nothing on Devonte Fields.
TCU issued the following statement after Fields was arrested, “Devonte Fields has been separated from the university pending results of a thorough investigation into the allegations against him. The university does not tolerate harassment or misconduct by a student. The university discipline process will be implemented, which may result in disciplinary action from the university above and beyond any legal consequences the student might face.” Solid words from the university, but I’m always skeptical on whether the punishment will ultimately fit the crime when it comes to star athletes – but I was willing to give my school the benefit of the doubt that they would do the right thing.
Nothing had changed in Field’s status with TCU until last Wednesday when Fields announced via Twitter that he was transferring to Stephen F. Austin to play football. SFA than made it official the next day. Be proud Lumberjacks around the country – your university had acquired a new elite athlete – and did so seemingly without any hesitation, and with no regard to the charges he’s facing. They were interested in Fields for one reason and one reason only – he’s a heck of a football player. Likewise Fields was interested in SFA for one reason and one reason only – because SFA is an FCS program, he could play there without having to sit out a mandated transfer year as he would going to another Division 1 school (and in theory would land him as a first round pick in next year’s NFL draft). Fields jumped at the chance, and so did SFA.
But hold on now, as the story took another turn last Friday. Fields now has backed out of his plan to enroll at SFA after a TCU committee ruled he was ineligible to receive a transfer waiver. “After originally agreeing to grant a release to Devonte Fields, which would allow him to enroll and play football at Stephen F. Austin, Texas Christian University has since convened a committee and declared that Fields’ violations of the student honor code has warranted his suspension from the school,” a Stephen F. Austin rep said in a statement. SFA said it would now have to make Fields ineligible if he came to Nacogdoches, prohibiting him from participating in football-related activities there for at least one year. Fields said thanks but no thanks. “In light of these developments, Fields has decided not to enroll at SFA,” the school said. Big shocker.
The TCU athletic department then released the following statement regarding the situation: “Devonte Fields’ status as a TCU student has not changed in the past three weeks. He remains separated. As with any student who is alleged to have violated the University’s Student Code of Conduct, he will remain separated until all University processes are completed. His inability to transfer to another NCAA institution and be eligible to play immediately is due to an NCAA rule (188.8.131.52) which states that a student who transfers to any NCAA institution from a collegiate institution while the student is disqualified or suspended from the previous institution for disciplinary reasons (as opposed to academic reasons) must complete one calendar year of residence at the certifying institution.” Personally, I love that.
Now Fields has submitted an appeal with the TCU’s judicial committee and that process should be resolved in the next week or so, according to a source close to the situation. If Fields’ appeal is denied, as is expected, his dismissal from the university would likely become official. If that’s how this all plays out when this repugnant situation is finally resolved, TCU will lose an outstanding football player, but keep its integrity in tact. SFA…they’ve already lost both.