BIG 12 ATHLETICS: League commish suggests modern recruiting changes
IRVING, Texas — Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby believes now is a good time to look at modernizing parts of the college recruiting model.
“We haven’t looked at the recruiting model in its entirety for a very long time,” Bowlsby said Thursday at the conference’s spring meetings. “We haven’t really looked at how we recruit (with) the changes in technology.”
The commissioner suggested possibly using Skype or FaceTime for initial recruiting interviews.
“It’s just one example of an area where the world has changed and the architecture around college athletics hasn’t changed with it,” he said. “I think we need to constantly be reminding ourselves and each other, that there’s change afoot and it’s a good time to look at everything we’re doing in light of modern circumstances.”
Bowlsby also said that maybe it is time to allow recruits more than one paid official visit to a campus, and allow for the expenses to be paid for parents or family members to make visits.
The NCAA is working on a new governance structure that would allow autonomy for the five major football conferences — the Big 12, SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and ACC — to make some rules without the support of smaller Division I schools. The NCAA board of directors is expected to vote on restructuring in early August.
Bowlsby said he expects the Big 12 to seat a task force “within our league to spend time looking at the rules, thinking about the environment and beginning the process of putting an agenda together of things that we think we ought to take a good look at.”
The Big 12 board of directors meets Friday, when the 10-team conference will reveal its revenue numbers for the 2013-14 school year. That number is expected to exceed last year’s record revenue of $198 million.
Among other items discussed before the athletic directors finished their portion of the spring meetings Thursday:
—The structure of the Big 12 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which next March will be held in different cities and a week apart for the third year in a row. Bowlsby left open the possibility that the tournaments could be played in the same city again.
—Some Big 12 basketball teams could play their first conference games before Christmas.
—After being allowed to experimentally use eight football officials in games last season, the Big 12 expects to again use eight officials again this season.
“It was exceedingly positive. I think it was good in every respect I could name,” Bowlsby said. “We felt like it gave our referee and our umpire, particularly, a better opportunity to manage the game. Especially the flow of the game, the substitutions. ... With speed of the game, it makes some sense.”
—The conference finalized football television selections and times for those games the first three weeks of the season, plus its four Thursday night games that are part of its joint television agreement with FOX and ESPN.
Two Big 12 teams play season-opening games at neutral sites Aug. 30. West Virginia plays Alabama in Atlanta in the afternoon in a split regionally on ABC or ESPN2, and Oklahoma State takes on Florida State in Arlington, Texas, that night on ABC. Baylor’s first game in its new stadium will be a Sunday night kickoff Aug. 31, on Fox Sports 1. Texas’ home game against TCU on Thanksgiving night will be on Fox Sports 1.