"You are getting sleepy... Sleeeeepppyyyyy..." (Photo courtesy: Des Moines Register)
Bob Bowlsby, the Big 12's second-year head honcho, comes off like a pretty drab dude.
The former athletic director at Iowa and Stanford wears suits straight from the Brooks Brothers racks. He has a delivery that sounds tailor-made for hypnotism. I imagine he has a bowl of Cream of Wheat every morning for breakfast.
The presentation might have been characteristically bland, but the rhetoric coming from Bowlsby up at the podium today during his commissioner's address at the conference's media extravaganza was not.
Most notably, Bowlsby took direct aim at the structure of college athletics. He stopped short of calling for the big dogs to leave the NCAA – to the contrary, he indicated that there was no traction behind the idea of breaking away.
On the other hand, when Bowlsby says something like this, it's easy to read between the lines:
“I really think the time has come to think about federation by size and scope and equity brought to the system. 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."
His remarks about the need for "transformational change" fit right in with the gist of comments from the other power conferences about overhauling the organization.
To me, it seems clear where this is heading. Breaking away from the NCAA would bring tons of headaches for the power conferences in terms of the logistics of overseeing non-revenue sports. As Bowlsby indicated, however, some type of new division for the largest, richest schools sounds imminent.
Other notes and observations from the first day with the hacks:
*News flash: The Big 12 isn't expanding anytime soon.
*Invoking the Nature Boy will always draw admirers, but in keeping with the theme of straight shooting, the general lack of puffery in Bowlsby's characterization of Big 12 football was interesting to me. He pretty much conceded that everyone takes a backseat to the Southeastern Conference right now. Departure from the usual commissioner playbook.
*The plan to show highlights during media timeouts at Big 12 games generated some positive buzz from the Twitter punditry.
During TV timeouts, will have highlights of other games in B12 stadiums. Great idea to keep fans updated.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) July 22, 2013
Color me skeptical that it will stop the bleeding in attendance, though. If I want highlights, I can get them a lot easier from my couch than inside a stadium.
*Speaking of shooting straight, I'm assuming you heard that Kansas head coach Charlie Weis referred to his team as a "pile of crap." I'm guessing that his players did, too.
Yeah, we get it, Chuckles: You didn't recruit the guys who went 1-11 in your first year. What a waste of your abundant genius.
*Bill Snyder pulled the boss move of forgoing an opening statement during his general session with the media and getting straight to reporters' questions.
New Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury did, too – not as boss for a rookie. Who does he think he is?