Bob Bowlsby Calls out NCAA, Talks Pay for Play and More at Big 12 Media Days

Sean FryeFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2013

In a headline-making 45-minute press conference at Big 12 football media days in Dallas, Texas on Monday, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby talked about a variety of issues, including compensating student-athletes, player safety issues, conference realignment and even how the NCAA is structured. 

He also said he was in favor of the different sports in the NCAA being governed in a "federation" style. 

"I really think the time has come to think about federation by size and scope and equity brought to the system," Bowlsby said. "There are about 75 schools that win 90 percent of the championships in the NCAA, and we have a whole bunch of others that don't look much like the people in our league, but yet through rule variation they're trying to compete with us."

Bowlsby also pointed out that different sports should not be regulated by the same set of rules. 

"It's probably unrealistic to think that we can manage football and field hockey by the same set of rules," he said. "I think some kind of reconfiguration of how we govern is in order."

The commissioner also addressed the pressing issue of player safety in college football. He talked about the concussion issue, which has garnered more attention with former players suing the NCAA over its handling of the injury, per a report report by the Associated Press. 

"Head injuries are obviously a real challenge," Bowlsby said. "We need to have prevention reflected in the rules. This is certainly not an attempt to, as some hosts said, sissify college football."

Bowlsby is in favor of the recent rule changes that involve player safety, including the automatic ejection of a player for targeting. 

"We need to have the rules reflect the right way to play the game, and we need to make sure that it's a game you can play safely and not compromise the rest of your life in the process of excellence," Bowlsby added. 

In addition to talking about player safety and how the NCAA is governed, Bowlsby also addressed the growing issue of paying student-athletes. He supports the idea of somehow getting student-athletes more support. 

"I happen to think that there's a good case to be made for some form of additional support for student‑athletes. Personally, I favor some sort of need basis above basic education expenses, but others who agree that there ought to be some distribution disagree on how it ought to be established."

With the commissioner of one of the automatic qualifying conferences making such bold statements, ripples throughout college football are sure to be felt. 

 *All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted