SBD/July 24, 2013/Colleges

What About Bob? College Football World Reacts To Bowlsby's NCAA Reform Comments

Thompson does not envision a split coming from the five major conferences
Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson yesterday at the conference's media days "launched immediately into reaction" to Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby's Monday comments suggesting "the five BCS conferences form a federation that would pave the way to allow them to eventually compete separately in football," according to Brent Briggeman of the Colorado Springs GAZETTE. Thompson said, "It might happen, but I don't think it will happen. I think there will be a different solution." Thompson was "open to working out concessions to the larger conferences that might result in stipends being paid to players." He said, "The bottom line is everyone knows there are issues with the NCAA. There is no easy fix. There is no right solution for everybody." Briggeman notes the issue "dominated conversation" during yesterday's media sessions (Colorado Springs GAZETTE, 7/24). Thompson said of the concept of a super-conference, "I think it's been overstated and overplayed that that's their endgame. It's something they might take a look at, but there's a lot of steps between here and a new division" (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 7/24). Thompson: "If you read carefully, what they are saying is that there needs to be transformative change." He added that the five conferences potentially seceding "won't affect" the MWC's finances. Thompson said, "CBS Sports Network and ESPN would have to pay us the same $18-20 million. We have a contract." Meanwhile, he said of any potential MWC expansion, "I would say we will be at 12 for years to come" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 7/24). Butler AD Barry Collier said that "change to NCAA governance merits discussion." Collier: "I think, for the most part, it's a good thing, because it brings in the conversation more responsiveness to the people on the ground that are operating the athletic departments" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 7/24).

MONEY MATTERS: Univ. of Texas football coach Mack Brown said of Bowlsby's comments, "I think that at some point we need to realize that's where we're headed. We've always tried to make rules for every level and have it under one umbrella, and it's never worked. When we tried to get instant replay, we couldn't because some (schools) couldn't afford it. When we tried to go to the 40-second (play) clock, we couldn't because some couldn't afford it. When we wanted to put the microphones in the helmets for quarterbacks, we couldn't because some couldn't afford it. ... They'd have to be weeded out. You have to say, 'Here's the minimum. If you can't live up to that, go do something else.' I think that's the only way to do it." But Wake Forest Univ. President and NCAA D-I BOD Chair Nathan Hatch said, "I don't sense among the presidents that people want to secede from the NCAA. There's been talk about creating a new division, but I think there would be huge resistance among NCAA schools, who are good and quality but not in one of the BCS conferences. That's under discussion, but I don't sense the gravity is huge. ... The problem is, once someone does that, no one wants to be thought of as a second-class citizen. Everyone is upwardly mobile." Brown said that the five conferences "would make enough money" from the College Football Playoff "to finance the lower leagues." Brown: "We're going to make enough money that we can pay for all of it" (ESPN.com, 7/23).
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