Big 12’s Bowlsby warns that ‘change is coming’ to college athletics

Posted Monday, Jul. 21, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Change is coming to college athletics, and it may be disappointing for some, Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Monday in the opening press conference of media days.

“If you like what you see in intercollegiate athletics right now, you’re going to be disappointed when the change comes,” he said. “The scholarships are going to change. The relationship between student-athletes and their universities is going to change.

“I expect significant change will come in the area of recruiting from the very earliest stages through campus visits and the declaration and signing of the national letter of intent.”

Bowlsby said it will be the result of the lawsuits, particularly the O’Bannon lawsuit, that the NCAA is defending itself against.

“There is change afoot, and some of it is going to be unhappy change because I think it will ultimately reduce the number of opportunities for young people to go to college and participate in sports,” he said. “And I think that’s an unfortunate byproduct of the lawsuits that are out there right now.”

Bowlsby said he believes the NCAA is facing a financial crisis, and “Olympic” sports will suffer.

“I think all of that, in the end, will cause programs to be eliminated,” he said. “I think you’ll see men’s Olympic sports go away as a result of the new funding challenges that are coming down the pike. I think there may be tension among and between sports on campus and institutions that have different resources. I think it’s really unknown at this point what the outcomes will be.”

‘Cheating pays’

Bowlsby said the “high-visibility” conferences, or the “Power 5,” may have to take some matters into their own hands, like transfers and enforcement, if the NCAA can’t get a better handle on it.

“Enforcement is broken,” Bowlsby said. “The infractions committee hasn’t had a hearing in almost a year, and I think it’s not an understatement to say that cheating pays, presently.

“If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions.”

Bowlsby noted that a steering committee report last week was largely silent on the issues of enforcement and transfer waivers.

“If we can’t come to a resolution that is satisfactory on enforcement and on transfers, then those become autonomous items about which the five high-visibility conferences can go our own way and devise our own system,” he said.

Kingsbury high on QBs

Texas Tech’s prized quarterback recruit Patrick Mahomes will be able to move the football if he has to play because he can at least use his athleticism to make up for how raw he is, coach Kliff Kingsbury said.

“He’s got to be ready to play,” Kingsbury said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. Still raw, still learning the position, a guy who was a three-sport star in high school; never focused on quarterback.

“But tremendous upside, playmaking ability. And a guy that can really extend plays, which is good as a true freshman because half the time, they don’t know what they’re doing.”

Mahomes will back up Davis Webb, who Kingsbury said is working on cutting down his turnovers.

“Statistically, as a true freshman, he had a pretty amazing year,” Kingsbury said. “Just have to cut down on the turnovers. And that’s something that he really did a good job of in the spring. I’m excited to watch him take that next step and be a leader of our football team.”

Petty for Heisman

Baylor coach Art Briles said he was personally and professionally “a little upset” that quarterback Bryce Petty was not a Heisman finalist last year.

“I certainly felt like he should have been in New York, without question,” Briles said.

Petty threw for 4,200 yards, 32 touchdowns and three interceptions in leading Baylor to its first Big 12 championship.

“Do those numbers again this year, he’ll be in New York,” Briles said. “Might win it. But that’s the whole deal. His perception, his image is different than a year ago because he had nothing.

“Now he’s got substance, he’s got something people can believe. What he can bring this year is an attitude of ‘when I talk, people are going to listen a little bit.’ 

OSU’s Hill plan

Oklahoma State will use Tyreek Hill at running back and receiver and try to get him 15 to 20 touches per game, in addition to special teams, coach Mike Gundy said.

“We’re learning more about him each day,” Gundy said. “We’re hoping that Tyreek gives us the ability to use him as an inside runner or put him on the outside and use his speed in the receiving game.

“We’re learning more about him each day as we go through August and see what he brings to the table and how much he can handle mentally.”

Hill, a junior college transfer, was named the preseason newcomer of the year in the media poll last week.

Oklahoma State does not list running back Devon Thomas on its roster. Thomas was charged with three felonies in an alleged armed robbery in June.

New style for KU

Kansas is using a spread offense this year because it doesn’t have the offensive line or receivers to play with a drop-back quarterback, coach Charlie Weis said. Quarterback Montell Cozart will be allowed to use his athleticism to run or pass.

“The only position we had you can arguably say was Big 12-caliber has been the running back position,” Weis said. “When you have a drop-back quarterback with a marginal offensive line, marginal receivers, marginal every position except running back, you get exposed.”

Kansas will also get to pair Cozart with an experienced receiver, Miami (Ohio) transfer Nick Harwell.

Tuesday schedule

The second day of the conference media days features the coaches and players from Oklahoma, Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas State and Texas. The first coach is Bob Stoops at 10 a.m., followed by Paul Rhoads 30 minutes later, then Dana Holgorsen, Bill Snyder and Charlie Strong.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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