Less than three weeks away from their first shot at a national championship in 36 years, and the Texas Longhorn program was dealt a serious blow to its chances on Friday.
According to several media reports in Austin, as many as four Longhorn football players, including three starters, are being investigated by Austin police for robbery and assault in two separate incidents. The first alleged incident occurred on September 4 with the other happening last weekend in the early morning hours of December 10. Two of the names that have surfaced in various news outlets include starting running back Ramonce Taylor and starting cornerback Cedric Griffin.
According to an Austin Police Department report, the December incident occurred at 2:59 a.m. on Seventh Street, just one block away from Austin's popular Sixth Street district. The report said that the police responded to a call regarding an attempted robbery by assault. The September incident took place at 3:06 a.m., and the report stated that officers were sent to investigate an assault that involved an automatic handgun.
"We were surprised by the APD release of allegations concerning one or more of our student-athletes," UT Athletic Director DeLoss Dodds said Friday night in a prepared statement. "We have followed up on the rumors that we are hearing and spoken with the two student-athletes who are alleged to be under investigation. Within the limited time we had this evening, we have gathered as much information as possible. Based upon what we know at this time we have no reason to believe that The University or the athletics department need to take any action. We will continue to monitor the matter and we will cooperate fully with those who are conducting the investigation."
Based on the information that's been given to Orangebloods.com, no arrests are imminent and the investigations will likely take another week before any decision is handed down on whether or not further legal action will be taken.
Due to the ongoing investigation, the APD was unable to comment on either incident.
Mack Brown and the Texas football offices have not yet issued a statement, but it's possible that the allegations could put a severe dent on the Longhorns' line-up in the Rose Bowl, to be played on January 4. Should Brown and decide to take disciplinary action within the program, Texas could be without the services of some of its top players. Griffin, a senior starting cornerback out of San Antonio, was named a second-team all-American by Rivals.com earlier this week. Taylor, a sophomore playmaker that has turned into one of the Texas offense's most dangerous weapons, is listed as the team's starting tailback.
"I told (the team), if you get in trouble you probably won't play," Brown said on Friday afternoon in response to a question about his team needing to stay focused. "What an awful thing for you to make a mistake, a 15-second mistake, and cost yourself a chance to play and win a national championship."
Orangebloods.com will have more information as it becomes available. Be sure to check the Inside the Forty Acres board for any breaking developments on the story.