Approved NFL owners have passed a player-safety rule barring ballcarriers from using the crown of their helmets to make contact with a defender in the open field. Several coaches and team executives expressed concern about officiating the new rule, but Commissioner Roger Goodell championed it and it passed Wednesday as the owners meetings concluded. The tuck rule was eliminated as well.
Announced The Mountain West and ESPN have reached agreement on a seven-year deal that will give the network rights to televise some football and men’s basketball games, plus all Boise State’s home football games. The agreement runs from the 2013-14 school year to the 2019-20 season. CBS will still hold primary rights to the conference through 2015-16.
• The Pro Bowl will return to Honolulu next January and again will be played the week before the Super Bowl. It is scheduled for Aloha Stadium on Jan. 26.
• Tom Watson is giving back one of his captain’s picks for the Ryder Cup. Watson said he would take the top nine players off the Ryder Cup standings and select three players as captain’s picks. For the last three years, only eight Americans qualified for the team and the captain was given four wild-card picks. The next Ryder Cup is in 2014 at Gleneagles in Scotland.
• Alabama athletic director Mal Moore is stepping down to become special assistant to the president. Moore said the move is “due to factors related to my health.”
Agreed New Mexico basketball coach Steve Alford has agreed to a new 10-year contract that could bring him up to $2 million per season including base salary, bonuses and incentives.
• Free-agent safety Ed Reed of the Baltimore Ravens is on the verge of becoming a Houston Texan, according to multiple reports. The Texans wouldn’t confirm the reports.
Correction In a story about Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt’s driving under the influence trial, The Associated Press reported erroneously that Britt was found not guilty of violating the implied consent law. Britt was convicted of violating Kentucky’s implied consent law but received no penalty on that charge.