Big-12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby Addresses FBI Scandal

Bob Bowlsby Extension Photo | Big-12

Big-12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby addressed the ongoing FBI scandal on Tuesday at the 2017 Big-12 Media Day.

“We really wish we had a fair amount more information on it,” said Bowlsby on the FBI investigation. “I don’t have anything more than what all of you have. We certainly have always known that all of the best parts of college athletics and all the worst part of college athletics are imbedded in the sport of men’s college basketball.”

Bowlsby, whose contract was extended through June 2025 last month, spoke about the long-term repercussions of the FBI scandal, as he said, “This is going to be around for a while.”

“[There are] lots of high-risk academic people and high-risk social people and lots of third parties that are involved,” said Bowlsby. “I think it’s impossible to know at this point how far this goes and who might be involved.”

Last month, 10 men — including a top Adidas executive and four assistant coaches at power-conference programs — were charged with using hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes to influence star athletes’ choice of schools, shoe sponsors, and agents.  James Gatto, director of global sports marketing for Adidas, was arrested on the same day as the four coaches and placed on leave from the company.

“One thing about it, when DOJ and the FBI get involved they have both the power of subpoena and the weight of perjury which the NCAA doesn’t have at its disposal,” said Bowlsby. “As a result I think this is going to be around for a while, and I think we are likely to be in the same situation we’re in now, and that is that we don’t know very much information, aren’t going to get heads-up before things happen; and as a result of that, it’s a period of some discomfort.

Bowlsby also confirmed that the first and second round of the 2018 Big-12 tournament will be held in Dallas from March 15-17. He spoke about the tournament.

“Obviously, I think that this is the best college basketball tournament in the nation,” said Bowlsby. “It’s the best attended. I think it’s the most competitive. The balance from top to bottom is truly remarkable; and, so I think, you know, we will have a wild time between now and the time we’re back here in March again.”

With the ACC going to a 20-game league schedule next year and the Big-Ten “toying with the idea” Bowlsby also addressed the possibility of following suit, as he said, “Well, we would have to have some play three times to get to 20 with ten members, so 18 is really sort of our max.”

“I think the implication it has for us is that it probably makes non-conference scheduling a little more difficult with those two leagues. They made the changes in both cases to accommodate more network inventory and were we in the same position we might have made the same decision.”

In other news, Bowlsby announced that the Women’s Big-12 Tournament will return to Kansas City in 2020 after spending the next two years in Oklahoma City.


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