SBD/May 31, 2013/Colleges

Big 12's Bowlsby Says Conference Execs Are "Concerned And Frustrated" With NCAA

Dodds thinks eight teams is the right number for the College Football Playoff
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and Texas men’s AD DeLoss Dodds on Thursday "offered suggestions" to NCAA President Mark Emmert on how the organization could "regain confidence," according to Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Emmert met with the Big 12 Exec Council for about 45 minutes for what he "characterized as a listening tour." Bowlsby said, "It would be unforthright to say that people aren’t concerned and frustrated with the legislative process and the governance processes. I just think there’s a general uneasiness, and I haven’t heard anybody that’s got the master plan that fixes it all. ... Everybody admits, including President Emmert, there is work to be done.” Dodds said that "somewhere within the NCAA hierarchy, officials need to rely more on athletic directors." Carlton notes maybe the "biggest concern hanging over the NCAA is the fear that the members in the five power conferences, awash in anticipated football playoff cash, decide to bolt." But Bowlsby said, “I just don’t hear much talk about the major programs taking their ball and pursuing some other option.” Dodds suggested that the NCAA be "more reactive to the various needs of a membership that includes small, private Division III schools and major state schools with 100,000-seat stadiums." Dodds: “We have a structure that’s managing thousands of schools that are not like each other. In my mind, they need to federate some way so that people with common programs vote on those common issues and hopefully that happens down the road. The NCAA can be fixed. It’s got too many diverse members and interests" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/31). Bowlsby said that Emmert's speech was "frank about some of the problems some perceive with the NCAA." Bowlsby said, "I think he's confronting those fears head-on" (CHRON.com, 5/31). Asked if he had concerns about his job status, Emmert said, "I do not. I feel comfortable with my board, and I'm comfortable with the work we're getting done" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/31).

CONNECT FOUR? In Austin, Kirk Bohls notes Dodds is "not promoting a mass movement away from the NCAA, just more flexibility." Meanwhile, Emmert "did acknowledge that 'perhaps' a fourth subdivision could emerge under the NCAA umbrella." Bohls writes it could be a "Super Division I," which would be "a huge undertaking." Emmert said, "I don’t sense from the members nor have I heard from any of them that there’s an interest in going out and starting another association. I do hear about trying to find greater flexibility for schools with larger budgets, the predominantly big five conferences, to make decisions on their own. I think a lot of people have an interest in doing that. I don’t think it would send anyone over the wall" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/31).

EXPANSION OPTIONS: In Ft. Worth, Jimmy Burch reports Dodds "called for expansion of the four-team playoff field in future seasons to minimize the potential controversy around the first team omitted from the bracket." Dodds: “I’m kind of an eight-team person. I think there will be a lot of conversation about the fifth team that didn’t get in or the 11-1 team that didn’t get in because somebody’s 12-0 that maybe wasn’t quite as good as the 11-1 team. If you take eight, then you don’t really have that.” Meanwhile, Big 12 administrators "selected the American Airlines Center in Dallas as site of the 2015 women’s basketball tournament, with the 2016 event headed to Oklahoma City." Bowlsby said that both events "will be played the week before the men’s basketball tournament in Kansas City, Mo., in those seasons" (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/31).

PACKAGE DEAL? Dodds said that the Longhorn Network is "expected to exclusively air three Longhorns football games this fall." The AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN's Bohls notes the Aug. 31 season opener against New Mexico State is "expected to be one of them; LHN has aired Texas’ past two openers." The Texas-Kansas game on Nov. 2 also is "expected to be carried on LHN" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/31). Meanwhile, in Dallas, Kate Hairopoulos wondered if LHN and the SEC Network could be a "package deal." The LHN's "distribution problems are well-reported." ESPN Senior VP/Programming Justin Connolly said, “These are two different networks. They stand alone. We talk about them alone. When we do big renewals with distributors -- I mean the ESPN portfolio -- both of these networks will be in that conversation. But we don’t look at it as tying these networks together" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 5/31).
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