DALLAS - Bob Bowlsby spent just a few sentences of his news conference Monday humbly highlighting the many successes the Big 12 witnessed during his first year as the conference commissioner. Most of his time and attention at the annual football media days here was aimed at the future.
Bowlsby said in more certain terms what his contemporaries in the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference have said, and what one can surely expect the commissioners of the Pac-12 and Big Ten will echo: The membership needs to reconfigure the leadership of the NCAA.
"I think we all have a sense that transformative change is going to have to happen," he said. "This is not a time when trimming around the edges is going to make very much difference."
More significantly, Bowlsby hinted at a consequence to the status quo when he suggested a fourth division of schools could break away and play amongst themselves. He hesitated to say that seceding from the NCAA was the best option, or even an option at all, but conceded it "possibly could" be considered if frustrations persist.
"I'm not hearing anyone say we ought to find another organization," he said. "I have not heard from a single commissioner or even athletic directors on an individual basis that they believe another organization other than the NCAA is the right approach for us.
"Why are we where we are? It's hard to say. I guess it's the cumulative effect of a long period of time, but I think what we've done essentially is we have tried to accomplish competitive equity through rules and legislative changes, and it's probably not possible to do that."
Bowlsby said the commissioners of the five major conferences met about six weeks ago to discuss the problems, and while there is no consensus on what needs to be done, it was clear they needed to push for changes. They no longer believe the structure as it exists will allow for the advancements that need occur.
"It's bad grammar, but a good concept: If we always do what we've always done, we'll always get what we've always got," he said. "That's kind of where we are right now."
Bowlsby believes the NCAA has made it too easy for schools to reach the Division I level, but that it is also guilty for making it too easy for those schools to stay there. The 2013-14 athletic year will have 351 Division I schools and Bowlsby said about 75 schools win 90 percent of the NCAA championships.
"We have a whole bunch of others that don't look much like the people in our (category), but yet through rule variation, they're trying to compete with us," he said, before stating later that Texas and Northern Iowa cannot be confused with one another.