College Sports

Big 12’s Bowlsby opposed to any ‘pay-for-play’ model in college sports

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby doubled down on his stance that California’s “Fair Pay to Play” act will undermine college athletics.

More states have proposed similar legislation for student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness in the future, but Bowlsby said it’s not practical for college sports to operate under such laws.

“There are 16 other states and every one of them is different,” Bowlsby said from the Big 12’s basketball media day on Wednesday.

“We can’t operate a national recruiting, a national competition environment with 50 different rules in 50 different states. It’s not practical. It’s not possible. I don’t see it happening.”

Bowlsby is on the NCAA’s working group that is examining the legislation related to student-athlete name, image and likeness, so he refused to go too in-depth on the subject.

“I’m not at liberty to talk at length about what we’ve done or what we’re proposing, but it’s not going to be a short process,” Bowlsby said. “There are many more steps to the process.”

But Bowlsby made it clear that he’s opposed to anything that may be construed as “pay-for-play.”

“I don’t believe we will recommend anything that is a proxy of pay-for-play,” Bowlsby said. “If you want to think about where the boundaries are, anything that is a proxy for pay-for-play is not going to fly. That’s about all I can say.”

A reporter brought up a situation such as Katie Ledecky, an Olympic gold medalist swimmer who left Stanford early in order to turn professional and be able to accept endorsement money.

It would seem that college athletics would be better off if talents such as Ledecky stayed in school and competed instead of being forced to make a financially-based decision.

“They’re certainly topics you can talk about,” Bowlsby said, “But I just don’t see a time when we have professional athletes on our campuses.”



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