Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby had a hard time painting a rosy picture for the future of college football.
“If you like intercollegiate athletics the way it is, you're going to hate it going forward,” he said during Big 12 media day on Monday. “There's a lot of change coming.”
While many of Bowlsby’s points revolved around the lawsuits the NCAA is currently facing from former athletes, autonomy and changes to scholarships and how that will affect Olympic sports, he also used his opening statement to rail against the NCAA, which he said, has been lax in its enforcement.
“(NCAA) 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 cheating pays presently.
“They're in the battle with a BB gun in their hand. They're fighting howitzers. We have to find a way to make progress on it. It undermines the confidence of the system.”
Bowlsby isn’t the first conference commissioner to express his displeasure with NCAA enforcement. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told CBSSports.com that he thought NCAA enforcement was “overmatched.”
Too often, the NCAA seems to wait until they read about a possible violation in the media and then act. However, even when the NCAA does open an investigation, it takes months, sometimes years before anything gets settled and that’s only if the investigation isn’t bungled like it was with the Miami case. More often than not, the punishment hurts players that had nothing to do with the violation.
That’s why the five power conferences — Big 12, Pac-12 Big Ten, ACC and SEC — want enforcement to be under their autonomy umbrella so they can figure out more efficient ways to identify rule-breakers and dole out timely and appropriate punishments.
And Bowlsby took it a step further by saying he wouldn’t object to the federal government getting involved in enforcement in collegiate athletics, which would allow investigators to issue subpoenas, something that’s not currently available.
“I am really not very far of being of the mind that some form of federal statute is not a good idea,” he said. “You could say it's against the law to influence where a student athlete would go to school, influence the outcome of a contest, to provide a benefit that is outside of the rules.”
Such a proposal would change the way collegiate athletics operates and strike fear into those who are cheating the system and getting away with it.
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