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Bowlsby rips NCAA, claims 'cheating pays'

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Jul 22 2014 09:28:14 AM MDT
closeup of football laces

iStock/joecicak

DALLAS -

The NCAA is in a dire situation.

That is how Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby put in during a 45-minute state of the league address with reporters at conference media day on Monday. Bowlsby touched on the seven lawsuits facing college athletics, college athletes and unions, the possibility of cutting men's Olympic sports and the inability of NCAA enforcement to nab rule breakers.

"It's not an understatement to say that cheating pays presently," Bowlsby said. "If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions."

Bowlsby painted a bleak picture of the present, and a dark forecast of the future of the NCAA. He said the organization as it stands likely won't exist in the future and that several "Armageddon" situations could arise from lawsuits like the O'Bannon case, where former NCAA athletes are suing for compensation over the use of their likeness, or the fight for college athletes to unionize.

"If you like intercollegiate athletics the way it is you are going to hate it going forward," Bowlsby said. "There is a lot of change coming and I fear that we will get past the change and then will realize all the gymnastic programs."

Bowlsby said men's Olympic sports could be cut as a response to the O'Bannon case. Bowlsby also said the NCAA is on "a path of significant financial difficulty" because the organization's annual revenue growth is about 2 ½ percent while growing at about 4 percent a year.

Bowlsby wants NCAA reform and change and is working with fellow commissioners and athletic directors to bring it about, including in NCAA enforcement, where Bowlsby suggested it may be best for the federal government to take it over because of its ability to issue subpoenas.

"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."