Roundup: Fiery TCU, exit fees resolved?

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend. Back to the grind. Here's what you missed this weekend.

Patterson comes out swinging versus drug scandal

TCU opened its spring practice on Friday, and that meant the first session with a group of reporters for coach Gary Patterson since four of his players were arrested in a campus drug sting earlier this month.

Those players told undercover police in sworn affidavits that 60 or 82 players on the team failed a surprise drug test on Feb. 1, but later reports indicated that number was only five, with 11 more showing trace amounts in their test results.

The test was reportedly ordered after a recruit told Patterson he wouldn't be attending TCU because of drug use among the team.

Patterson, though, issued a fiery response on Friday when questioned about the issue.

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

"The most disappointing thing for me is our whole team felt like, after watching for two days, that we all of a sudden went from good to everybody is bad, and that’s not true," Patterson said before a dozen members of the media, including five television cameras. "We spend 90 percent of our time on 10 percent of our kids that are knuckleheads. We’re not going to quit having knuckleheads. Nobody is. Not at any other school in the country."

Patterson confirmed that he tested his team back on Feb. 1, but don't look for an exact number of players who failed any time soon.

“You want an exact number and the world is not about exact numbers,” he said. “I know what the exact number is. Somewhere between that five (as the Star-Telegram reported Feb. 16), and maybe it’s five, maybe it’s 82. The key is what we’re trying to do about it. And we’re going to keep fighting it. The reality is always somewhere in between.

Not exactly a five-star response to the allegations at TCU, but if the number is so low, I don't see the harm in releasing the results. If it was indeed five, I suspect TCU would confirm that it's five. From my perspective, it's clearly higher. I highly, highly doubt it's anything close to 60-82, but by leaving the question open-ended, the Horned Frogs are allowing minds to wander. TCU's already addressed plenty that's gone on -- definitely more than most schools. That number is the biggest question remaining in this whole issue, but it looks like we'll never have an answer.

Texas A&M, Mizzou exit fees resolved?

We could have some resolution from Texas A&M and Mizzou's final price tags for leaving the Big 12. From The Associated Press:

The chairman of the Big 12's board of directors says the conference has agreed to terms with Texas A&M and Missouri on the schools' exit penalties but the league's members must still give final approval.

Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis said Friday that the schools agreed to the terms "long before" West Virginia's entry into the conference was finalized this month.

It'll be interesting to see how this shakes out. By the letter of the Big 12 bylaws, the two schools would owe somewhere near $30 million, or 90 percent of their television revenue from the past two seasons.

However, Nebraska and Colorado settled their exit fees down to a little under half of what they would owe. Nebraska paid about $9 million and Colorado paid about $6 million.

I'd be shocked if the Aggies and Tigers don't pay much more (they gave the conference less than 12 months notice before leaving, unlike CU and NU), but I don't expect that number to be anything close to $30 million.

Three rule changes in place for the 2013 season

We'll see three changes next season after they were approved by an NCAA playing rules oversight panel.

  • Kickoffs will be moved up five yards to the 35-yard line, and touchbacks will be brought to the 25. Also, players on the kicking team can only get a five-yard running start.

  • A player who loses his helmet during a play must sit out at least one play.

  • Players are prohibited from jumping over blockers to block punts.

The kickoff rule changes are understandable, though I'm not a big fan. Safety comes first, and there's no question kickoffs are the most dangerous plays in football. I love a big return, but not at the cost of safety. I don't like the rule, but I also don't have a kid who has suffered an injury on that type of play. I can live with the change.

I don't like the mandatory helmet rule, but I like its intent. I doubt equipment folks have focused on making sure helmets are secure, and we've seen plenty fly off in action the past few years. We'll see if players and managers are a bit more deliberate in preventing it now that players must sit out, and returning to play without doing so results in a penalty.