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July 22, 2013

Bowlsby strong in State of the Big 12 Address





DALLAS, Texas - Changes in college athletics are a constant. Today, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed media members at Big 12 Conference Media Days in Dallas, Texas. In his remarks, Bowlsby praised the stability of his conference while explaining the innovation the Big 12 is instituting. Additionally, Bowlsby expressed all of the changes that needed to be made on a national level.

Beginning with the change, Bowlsby's biggest remarks of the morning came when talking about athletics on the national stage. While Bowlsby admitted there isn't an alternative to the NCAA, he wasn't shy criticizing the federation.

"I think we need to think a little bit about reevaluating our core purpose. The NCAA has gotten to be an organization that has very broad ranging responsibilities and oversight," said Bowlsby.

The former Stanford Athletic Director, Bowlsby, feels leadership needs to be reconfigured and put in the hands of people who deal with student-athletes.

"I don't think we can at this point in time move forward, and we certainly haven't been able to configure an agenda that made the changes we need to make," said Bowlsby, "I think we need to reengage practitioners, ADs, commissioners, people that work in athletics every day."

On his league Bowlsby made it clear, he has been very happy about his first year in office. TCU and West Virginia are now established as members of the Big 12 Conference, the league stands with ten strong members. And in 2013, for the first time as commissioner, Bowlsby is excited that he isn't worried about realignment.

"I think it's been a very productive year for us. I think it is a growing measure of trust among all of our member institutions," said Bowlsby, "It really feels like we're beginning to settle down a little bit."

Settling down for Bowlsby also means putting talk of expansion to rest. Bowlsby, a big advocate and believer of the ten team, Big 12, cited the round robin football schedule creating stronger rivalries and larger television revenue per school as to why a Big 12 is at an advantage.

After reflecting on the strength, Bowlsby detailed the plans for the Big 12 Conference moving forward. New for the Big 12, as a conference, is an equal partnership with two bowl games. That is something that hasn't happened across college football yet according to Bowlsby.

Additionally, the Big 12 will become the first conference in college football to show taped highlights and pieces of live games during television timeouts inside the stadium. Bowlsby feels this will help college football as a whole increase attendance.

"College football has experienced declines in overall attendance over the last four or five years, and I think bringing highlights in will take into account and help one of the things that really is getting to be a challenge for us," explained Bowlsby, "We put together all of these multimedia deals, but with that comes the interminable 2:30 and 2:45 television time out, and during those time outs in Big 12 stadiums this year, we will have highlights from other games."

As far as on-field play goes, the Big 12 will be the only league experimenting with an eighth official. The official will stand behind the backfield on the offensive side. Finally, the league will also be putting RF Chips inside player shoulder pads to track velocity of hitting speed in order to improve player safety.


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