For the Tuesday Oklahoman, I wrote about Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby’s declaration that “cheating pays” in the NCAA, with the organization’s inefficient enforcement division. You can read that column here.
I asked several of the Big 12 coaches Monday about Bowlsby’s comment. Here are the responses I received:
OSU’s Mike Gundy
“This is a huge can of worms and I really hate to say anything. I don’t know what’s going on with them. I think there’s a lot of uncertainty in different areas. He knows a lot more about it than I do. He has a lot of experience in dealing with situations and groups like this. I have heard him say that before, not publicly. Can’t say I disagree. It’s gotten so big, I’m not sure there’s enough people out there to police it.
“I think head coaches have to police their program and their organization. If you make mistakes, you text somebody you’re not supposed to, return a call, there are certain things that are obvious mistakes. And there are certain things that are blatant violations. Cheating. What I have told the guys on our staff is, if you fall in the second category, we’ll dismiss you. We can’t handle the ramifications, period. It’s not worth it. That’s the way we handle it at Oklahoma State. I really believe that in our conference, the coaches do that. I really believe that.
I’m not sure it happens that way everywhere in the country. But in our conference, our coaches do a good job of following the rules and doing what’s right for college football.”
TCU’s Gary Patterson
“Here’s how I’ve always looked at it. Whether it’s coaching or any other part of business, everybody in that profession knows how they do their business. I’ve said to our AD, we were able to, in other conferences that we’ve played in, if you took it for tax purposes, you would say we were able to do the short form and still win. Now you’re in a league where you have to do deductions. Deductions still means there’s loopholes in the system and there’s still by the rule, but whatever you can do as a university, you have to do it. I don’t think you have to go outside of that. Usually why that all happens is because people don’t want to work as hard at it. If you want to go out and outwork people, there’s still a way to do that.
“Everybody wants the easier way. Not just in recruiting or athletics, it’s everybody wants instant right now. How do you go about that? Instant right now is not always the right way. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. You just gotta decide how you want to sleep at night. I sleep well.”
Baylor’s Art Briles
“I think their force level has diminished, because of lawsuits. Maybe they’re not as quick to keep kids from playing. To me, they’re our governing body. So I listen until they tell me who else to listen to. Only frustration I would have is maybe on transfers and summer camps, the leniency of some of those things we have seen over the last 2-3 years. There is not a lot of teeth in what can happen in some of those instances, maybe because of the way the climate of the world is, with the NCAA. They still row my boat, I promise you that.”
Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury
“I probably haven’t been around enough to even answer that. Most of the coaches I know try to do it the right way. I don’t know if I’d be able to answer that. I know we try to do the right thing in recruiting, do it up front, worry about the players we get and don’t worry about the players we don’t get.
“Fair or not, if they’re a part of your fan base and your university, you’re deemed responsible for their actions as well. Your compliance and football programs have to be on the same page and work together and keep that in mind as much as they can.”
Kansas’ Charlie Weis
“First of all, the commissioner knows a lot more than I do. Without me hearing exactly the content/context of what he said it would be tough for me to comment. I’ve been in multiple places, and the places I’ve been I just haven’t seen it. So maybe I’m oblivious. I hear about it all the time. There’s things that annoy me sometimes at other places. But really, I just try to speak for Kansas. And I certainly would not want to respond to something that the commissioner said without knowing fully what his intent was.”