Big 12 commissioner Bowlsby rips NCAA, says ‘cheating pays’

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed the media in Dallas on Monday to begin the league’s Media Days event, and he took the opportunity to put the NCAA on blast.

Bowlsby took the current model for enforcement to task, saying "cheating pays" in college sports.

“[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.”

Bowlsby continued on the enforcement staff: “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.”

The commissioner expressed his serious concerns with the NCAA’s future, saying, "If you like intercollegiate athletics the way it is, you’re going to hate it going forward. There’s a lot of change coming.”

He outlined a difficult financial future in which expenses grow almost twice as fast as revenues. With autonomy — a concept that’s becoming more likely by the day — among the Power 5 conferences, of which the Big 12 is included, more money will be required for better medical care for athletes, long-term educational opportunities and additional benefits. These, Bowlsby argues, will put significant pressure on athletic departments, and the result will likely be a net loss.

“Coaches and athletic directors aren’t likely to take pay cuts,” Bowlsby said. “Over a period of time what we’ll find is that instead of keeping a tennis program, they’re going to do the things that it takes to keep the football and men’s and women’s basketball programs strong.

"In the end it’s a somewhat zero-sum game. There’s only so much money out there.”