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Volume 26 No. 5
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Big 12's Bowlsby: CFP Should Be "Slow To Change" Current Format

There have not been any serious discussions regarding the expansion of the College Football Playoff to eight teams, said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby today at the ’18 Learfield Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in N.Y. Bowlsby: “The playoff receives 80-plus percent approval from the public. Would they like it better if more teams were involved? Maybe they would, but we need to be true to the promises that we made initially, and also to be slow to change something that’s pretty good.”

CONFERENCE CHANGES: Bowlsby said the Big 12 has no regrets regarding not expanding in ’16, noting, “It was clear when we got to the end of the process there wasn’t one (school) that moved the needle in the way our presidents and chancellors hoped.” Bowlsby said he would “never say never” when it comes to expansion, “but it’s not a topic we spend any time talking about right now.” Bowlsby also said he has been pleased by the return of the Big 12 Championship Game, which was reinstated in ’17 after the conference’s realignment and the ’16 NCAA rule change to allow FBS conferences to conduct football title games regardless of their membership numbers. The Oklahoma-Texas matchup last weekend at AT&T Stadium had an attendance of 83,114, setting a new record for a conference championship game.

REVISITING ESPORTS: Bowlsby received a lot of criticism last year when he said esports is a “misnomer; it isn’t sports.” Bowlsby: “I’ve learned a lot about it, and the forum (the Big 12 recently held) was fascinating. I don’t know about the combability of it with other traditional athletics; it’s more egames than esports. Maybe there is a role for conferences and institutions in terms of how you organize it on campus.” While he noted the heavy investment in the esports space, Bowlsby said, “For me, frankly, the motivation of being able to cash in on the money doesn’t carry the day on the compatibility aspects of it.” He also noted there has been an esports trophy named after him in jest. “I haven’t been invited to present it,” he said, “but I’m aware of its existence.”