Bowlsby Says NCAA Needs Reconfiguration

For the first time in a handful of years, realignment wasn't a big topic of conversation when Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby took the stage at the conference's media days Monday morning.

After a year with its newest members West Virginia and TCU in the league, Bowlsby said the Big 12 appears to be stronger and more stable than ever.

"Last year at this time, I was a brand-new commissioner and we were just coming off two or three years of fairly tumultuous times," Bowlsby said. "We were working very hard to sell the message of stability, strength and success, and I think there were some question marks after those three items.

"This year I think we can look back and say we've got exclamation marks after those. It's been a year that has yielded a growing measure of trust among our member institutions. It really feels like we're beginning to settle down."

And it's for that reason that the second-year commissioner shifted his focus to other places during his press conference, spending a majority of his opening statement speaking about ways the Big 12 is helping move college football forward in terms of research on concussions and adding an eighth official in the offensive backfield.

But the biggest splash was made with Bowlsby's comments on the NCAA in light of SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who said during the conference's media days last week that the sport's governing body was in need of a reexamination of its structure.

On Monday, Bowlsby was just as scathing - and probably more so - than Slive was when speaking about the state of the organization.

"I really do think we need to reconfigure the leadership of the (NCAA). I don't think we can, at this point in time, move forward – and we certainly haven't been able to configure an agenda that made the changes that we needed to make," he said. "The time has come to think about federation by size and scope and equity brought to the system. There are about 75 schools that win about 90 percent of the championships in the NCAA, and a whole bunch of others that don't look much like the people in our league, but yet through rule variation they're trying to compete with us.

He also mentioned the possibility of reorganizing by sport.

"It's unrealistic to think that we can manage football and hockey by the same set of rules. A reconfiguration of how we govern is in order," Bowlsby said.

Bowslby sided with Slive, and said that the rest of the commissioners of college football's power conferences do as well. There's a need for the NCAA to make changes to how easy it is for teams to be added at the Division-I level and things need to be redone in terms of the leadership.

"We all have a sense that transformity and change is going to have to happen," Bowlsby said. "This is not a time when trimming around the edges is going to make much of a difference."

When asked about what the NCAA thought about the thoughts of the commissioners, Bowlsby said he believed even they could sense that things need to be changed in some way. It's just a matter of getting it done.

"It depends on who you ask (at the NCAA). I think President (Mark) Emmert recognizes that change needs to take place and he's hearing from different people," Bowlsby said.

But while there is some unrest from the conference commissioners about the state of the NCAA, Bowlsby was quick to emphasize that there have been no serious suggestions by anybody that the power conferences should leave the NCAA and form a different organization to themselves.

"We haven't wanted to put the threat of secession on the table and I think, in all honesty, there aren't many that think it's a legitimate threat," Bowlsby said. "I'm very sincere when I say that I haven't spoken with anyone in the business that seriously proposes we should go find another organization."


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