Big 12 commissioner Bruce Bowlsby gave a state of the union address that paints a chilling picture of college athletics as he sees them Monday at Big 12 Conference Media Days. Although athletic department revenues at the larger schools are going to reach record levels in the next few years, the cost of doing business is going to rise substantially. Bowlsby pointed out that annual NCAA revenues have grown by an average of 2.5% while expenses for NCAA members grow at a rate of 4%, a figure that is about to change thanks to the numerous lawsuits and the power conferences’ decision to fend for themselves with rules that include paying a cost of attendance stipend to players that could range from $1,000 to $6,000 per year and long term medical coverage for athletes beyond their eligibility.
At schools like the University of Florida, where the budget and bottom line have always been tightly managed and the UAA hasn’t gone overboard in its upgrading of facilities, the changes won’t have a crippling effect, but how many schools have a Jeremy Foley running the athletic department and as many well-heeled boosters who are always there to write a check if there is a shortfall in revenues or the need for some extra cash? Programs that find it difficult to keep up the pace will be faced with hard choices such as turning some scholarship sports into non-scholarship. Due to Title IX, that likely means that other that football and basketball, most men’s sports will be non-scholarship like they are in Division III.
That could be a hard pill to swallow, particularly when you consider how it would impact US national teams at the Olympic levels.
“Eighty-five percent of US Summer Olympians are developed in college programs,” Bowlsby stated.
Most of the schools from the power conferences will find a way to deal with the changing times. They’ve got the television revenues and it’s likely they will expand the college football playoff to accommodate the need for more revenue but it’s going to have a serious impact on the next tier of schools who don’t have an SEC Network to dole out another $10-20 million a year to the athletic budgets. Those schools are likely to be the first ones to announce that they no longer have the funds for scholarships for swimming, tennis, golf, baseball, track and other non-revenue sports.
And, given the current circumstances and the way things are trending, how long do you figure before some Division I athletic department announces that it is permanently dropping the football program because it’s too big a drain on the athletic budget?
It could happen.
While addressing the NCAA and its many shortcomings, Bowlsby declared that “cheating pays,” which only strengthens the statement made by Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney last month that the NCAA enforcement division is “overmatched.”
Tell us something we don’t know.
“[NCAA] enforcement is broken,” Bowlsby told the Big 12 media in Dallas Monday morning. “The infractions committee hasn’t had a hearing in almost a year and I think it’s not an understatement to say cheating pays presently.”
Bowlsby’s suggestion to clean up a mess that he says is akin to the NCAA doing battle with “a BB gun in their hand” against foes who use howitzers, is to turn enforcement over to the federal government. The feds? Has he seen how many bills have gotten through the Senate lately?
There is a better way to clean up cheating rather than turning things over to the federal government. Why would one bloated bureaucracy (NCAA) turn over a portion of its operations to an even larger, more inept bloated bureaucracy (federal government)?
Instead of that, here are a few simple suggestions that might not put an end to cheating but would certainly curtail it from the level it’s at currently:
1. Rewrite the rulebook. It’s far too complicated and requires every NCAA member institution to spend far too much money on a room full of lawyers just to handle compliance issues. Instead of the thousands of pages of rules, simplify things so that folks who don’t have a law degree can read and understand them.
2. Make sure that any rule in the book passes the common sense test. If a rule defies common sense, then it either has to be simplified or thrown out.
3. Instead of an infractions committee, hire an independent agency to investigate and enforce the rules and give them the funding they need to devote the necessary resources to each investigation.
4. Take sanctions out of the hands of judges or committees by setting up a set of standards for punishment, i.e.; if you break this rule you go on two years probation and you lose 5 scholarships, etc. That way a school being investigated can’t lobby certain members of the infractions committee to go light or a school with an icon of a head coach can’t escape punishment because he’s “been good for the game for so long.”
5. Make every booster sign an agreement under threat of a lifetime ban that he/she will fully cooperate with any investigation. Failure to do so will result in a lifetime ban.
6. Any school caught stonewalling an investigation has all teams in all sports suspended from post season play until the school decides to cooperate. That same rule would apply to a school’s boosters. If the booster stonewalls, it has consequences for the entire athletic department.
7. Make the shoe companies sign an agreement that they will pay massive fines if they are caught trying to influence an athlete to go to one school or another.
At Atlantic Coast Conference Football Kickoff in Greensboro, North Carolina, Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston said, “I have a certain standard that I’ve got to hold myself up to and if I go even an inch below that standard, it’s going to be chaos.” You have to wonder what standard it is that Winston holds himself up to. He’s been accused of rape and while there were no charges filed against him, Florida State University could get in all sorts of Title IX trouble for the ineptitude and/or stonewalling that took place during the investigation. Winston has also had a run-in with a local Burger King for stealing soda from one of its fountains and with Publix for shoplifting crab legs. Winston told the media in Greenboro that he has “matured and understands what it truly takes to be a leader” and added that “I know the type of person I am.” What kind of person is Jameis Winston? That is a really good question. There is no denying he is a great athlete but is he guilty of the “youthful ignorance” that he claims or is he a magnet for trouble that lacks the character to either understand or walk away from situations and circumstances that could lead to big problems?
From Miami linebacker Denzel Perryman at ACC Football Kickoff regarding Winston and FSU’s November 15 game against the Hurricanes at Sun Life Stadium: “Don’t be surprised if there are fans dressed as crabs.”
Johnny Football’s #2 jersey is currently the hottest seller among NFL merchandise ... The NCAA has declined the ACC’s request to use helmet cams and helmet radios to communicate with players on the field ... The pricetag to buy the Buffalo Bills? ESPN’s Sal Palantonio reports that the new owners will fork over $1.1 billion to the estate of the late Ralph Wilson. It is expected that the buyer will be either a group headed by rocker Jon Bon Jovi or multi-gozillionaire Donald Trump, both of whom have vowed to keep the team in Buffalo ... FSU got 104 out of 108 media votes to repeat as ACC champion by the media. The Seminoles are picked to win the Atlantic Division over Clemson and Louisville, while Miami is picked to win the Coastal over Duke and Virginia Tech ... Marcus Allen thinks the Oakland Raiders should pack their bags and move back to Los Angeles ... It’s not my imagination. The Oakland A’s have the best record in baseball (61-37). The second best record belongs to the Los Angeles Angels who are just 1.5 games behind in the American League West.
Would you be in favor of the NCAA turning over enforcement to an independent agency and giving them broad powers to make sure everyone is abiding by the rules?
If the Righteous Brothers defined blue-eyed soul in the 1960s, then Boz Scaggs was the poster child for the 1970s. Boz and Steve Miller were childhood pals in Texas who got their first taste of fame with “Living in the USA” with Boz providing the vocals. They remained good friends but went their separate ways. Boz put out two albums before the release of “Moments” in 1971, which really got him on the path . While the album wasn’t a huge success, it did produce two good singles in “We Were Always Sweethearts” and “Near You.” My favorite song on the album is “Downright Women.”