TCU’s Patterson wary of players abusing new redshirt rule

I’m happy I’m 59, not 39.

That’s TCU coach Gary Patterson’s favorite saying these days. With everything happening in the college sports world, Patterson finds refuge in knowing he’s in the latter half of his career.

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He has warned of the potential problems with California’s Fair Pay to Play Act, and has similar concerns of a growing trend in college football where players are preserving their redshirt status if things aren’t going as desired.

Houston has seen senior quarterback D’Eriq King and senior receiver Keith Corbin opt for the redshirt route following a 1-3 start. At Kansas, running back Khalil Herbert left the team the night before the TCU game last month.

For now, King and Corbin have announced they intend to return to Houston next season when first-year coach Dana Holgorsen gets more pieces in place. Herbert, meanwhile, is looking for another school.

There were similar situations last season. Former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant was the most high profile, leaving the Tigers after losing his starting job to then freshman Trevor Lawrence. Oklahoma State receiver Jalen McCleskey left the team, and so did Auburn receiver Nate Craig-Myers.

“I’m OK with it if you’re staying,” Patterson said on his 92.1 Hank FM radio show last week. “I’m not really OK with it if you go four games and it’s not turning out the way you want to, so I’m going to redshirt now. But you go ahead and pay for my school the rest of the semester and give me cost of attendance and you do all this. Then, by the way, I’m going to change schools.”

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Patterson offered a solution of having players sign a contract before the season of their intentions. If a player intended to redshirt and transfer, that would give the program time to plan for such a decision.

Instead, a team such as KU had to deal with the loss the night before a Big 12 game.

“We shouldn’t find out in the middle of the season they’re going to do that,” Patterson said. “If they want to do it, then do it, but we need to all know at the beginning of the year that’s what your intentions are.”

Patterson compared it to a marriage.

“I’m going to get married and I’m going to give you four years,” Patterson said. “Tell me that upfront so I know. That’s why they call it prenups. … Everybody else has a contract. Why not a contract in football?”

As far as TCU is concerned, Patterson said earlier this month that no players had expressed a desire to redshirt and then transfer. After all, most of his players know that conversation won’t go over too well.

TCU has made — and continues to make — a concerted effort to avoid recruiting players who may leave if things aren’t going exactly their way.

“They know with me, if it’s not about winning, it won’t be a favorable conversation,” Patterson said. “So right now, it’s who can we play with that can give us a chance to win ballgames.”

Again, Patterson is happy he’s 59 rather than 39. Much of these problems won’t be his to worry about.

“I’m going to look forward to watching all the younger head coaches and all the people deal with all this,” Patterson said. “I’m going to smile at them.”

All of it led back to the new Fair Pay to Play Act in California. Patterson reiterated his stance that college athletes have it better than ever, ranging from the food provided to cost of attendance stipends to schooling to medical treatment.

“Right now you want to be the CEO. That’s what we’re saying,” Patterson said. “Everybody deserves to be taken to the top of the mountain instead of them climbing the mountain and earning their role and how they do things. No other profession, athletically or any other job, do you do that.”

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This story was originally published October 10, 2019 5:30 AM.

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