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SBD/July 23, 2014/Colleges
MWC's Thompson: Smaller Conferences Can "Coexist Peacefully" With Power Five
Published July 23, 2014
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW: Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson yesterday "expressed optimism" that the Power Five would "not insist on new rules which would unduly marginalize" the other five FBS conferences. Benson said, "We've shown that the competitive gap is not as great as the economic gap. We want to make sure that gap isn't widened." He said that he "supports" the full cost of attendance stipend, but "to a point." Benson: "Will there be greater additional costs? More than likely. ... But Sun Belt universities have invested too much not to be a part of major college football in the future" (AP, 7/22).
WHAT ABOUT BOB'S COMMENTS? Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby's comments about the future of college sports continue to reverberate around the industry, with ESPN's Rod Gilmore saying, "I don’t buy the doomsday impact that he says is coming with all the changes in college athletics." Gilmore said if the power conferences "take some of the power away from the NCAA in terms of the financial aspect, in terms of telling them whether they can or cannot pay players," then the "anti-trust aspect of it starts to go away a little bit." Gilmore: "The more control the conferences have, the less of a time that they'll have with the issue on the anti-trust front. I think they need that and that's the right way to go." ESPN's Joe Schad said Bowlsby was "calculating" in his remarks about cheating and other issues affecting college sports. Schad said conference commissioners are "wielding all the power" and they have an "ability to create change that for too long has occurred at a glacial pace causing all these problems that the NCAA faces now" ("OTL," ESPN2, 7/22). ESPN's Brett McMurphy said college athletics in the next 20 years "will look really different, and I don't think it’s going to be for the better." But Gilmore said, "The doomsday scenario they are painting is there to scare the public. We've heard this for 30, 35 years that it's going to end if we have to share money. It's never happened" ("College Football Live," ESPN, 7/22).