In efforts to improve sportsmanship and enhance postgame safety, Big 12 officials passed measures Wednesday to tighten penalties on schools that allow fans to rush the court or storm the field after games.
Penalties will be up to the discretion of Commissioner Bob Bowlsby and could include a fine or loss of a future home game for a school found to be in violation of the league’s sportsmanship standards.
“I’ve been given broad prerogatives to deal with those issues and the tools necessary to manage it. I don’t know that there’s anything off the table in dealing with those issues,” Bowlsby said at the conclusion of the first day of the Big 12 spring meetings.
Bowlsby said representatives from each host school will be expected “to safely escort the visiting team to their locker room or their bus” after games. That did not happen following Kansas State’s 70-63 upset of No. 8 Kansas during last season’s men’s basketball game in Manhattan, Kan. Wildcats fans stormed the court, making contact with Kansas players and pinning Jayhawks coach Bill Self against the scorer’s table until he could be protected by K-State coach Bruce Weber.
K-State athletic director John Currie apologized the next day and the school received a verbal reprimand from Bowlsby. A similar occurrence in the future could trigger more than a reprimand, based on Wednesday’s action.
Although Bowlsby said league administrators have “encouraged our football coaches and ADs to play FBS opponents” during nonconference play to strengthen schedules and maximize playoff opportunities, he said no steps have been taken to prevent Big 12 teams from scheduling FCS schools in future seasons.
“We haven’t found the imperative to do that,” Bowlsby said, noting that many FCS schools within the Big 12’s geographic footprint rely on revenues from such contests to fund their programs. “Would we ever get to that? I suppose it’s possible.”
Bowlsby said league administrators remain satisfied with their decision this month to eliminate football co-champions by strengthening league tiebreakers that will be approved Friday by school presidents. Bowlsby said he is not concerned about the next Big 12 champion being left out of this year’s CFP playoff field, as 2014 co-champs TCU and Baylor were, for lack of playing a league championship game.
“I don’t think a year makes a trend,” Bowlsby said. “We aspire to compete at the very top of the nation and if you can win our league with a full round-robin [schedule], you’re a good football team. We might find out, with a long history, that we like our size and our path to the playoff just fine.”
Texas athletic director Steve Patterson reiterated his stance that his school is “an international brand” and will continue to schedule occasional games overseas. The men’s basketball team opens this season with a game against Washington in Shanghai, China. Patterson said Wednesday he remains open to playing a football game at an international destination but did not elaborate.
Tournament venues for future men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, as well as the Big 12 baseball tournament, were discussed Wednesday. An announcement on sites for 2017-2020 is expected Thursday.
Dallas is bidding to host the Big 12 women’s tournament in all four of those years, as well as the men’s basketball tournament in 2019 and 2020. If successful, the American Airlines Center would be the venue for those events. Moving the men’s tournament away from Kansas City, where it has played to sellout crowds on a regular basis since 2010, will be difficult.
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760