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Bob Bowlsby calls secession from NCAA a 'last resort'

Bowlsby demands liberty from the morass that is the NCAA governance. He says something must change in the organization that serves Ohio State and Mount Union, Alabama and Southern Nazarene.
by Berry Tramel Published: July 22, 2013

“Look at Division I. There are programs that have $3 million budgets and programs that have $160 million budgets. How do you begin to try and do things that are good for one that are also good for the other?”

If you're confused, Bowlsby offered an example. Lots of talk over the years has centered on how to be Title IX compliant in terms of scholarships.

One solution is offering more scholarships in women's basketball, women's softball and women's volleyball.

“If you do that, the major schools get all the players, and the schools that were mid-majors that were competitive previously, now all their best players are sitting on major schools' benches. It's a great solution for one set of schools, it's a lousy solution for another set of schools.”

This is not a new rallying cry. Thirty years ago, the College Football Association was formed for many of the same reasons today.

And some things changed — although the primary issue, school television rights, were via the courts.

“It's easy to see the issues and the problems,” said K-State coach Bill Snyder, one of the few people still around from those saber-rattling days. “Solutions are harder to come by.”

Bowlsby doesn't claim to have a solution, either. Says he hasn't even drawn up a model for what is being called Division IV. But Bowlsby said something must change.

“I don't know how you go about solving problems other than getting like-minded people together and try to come up with solutions,” Bowlsby said.

Bowlsby's counterparts have not been as forceful as he. Perhaps that's by design. Bowlsby is a sharp cookie. A superb communicator.

Wouldn't surprise me if the five commissioners — Big 12, SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Big Ten — voted Bowlsby to ignite the revolution.

Plus, he's not a rabble-rouser.

Bowlsby has talked to the athletic director at his old school, Northern Iowa's Troy Dannen.

“Some of the things that would likely happen under some sort of amended process would likely not be favorable for mid-majors like Northern Iowa,” Bowlsby said.

“I know that perspective, I understand it, but I don't know how to get my arms around it from the standpoint of being able to make change, because Northern Iowa and Texas aren't much alike.”

No, they're not. Which is why the nuclear option has to be discussed, if not threatened. If Northern Iowa and Texas aren't that much alike, should they be together at all?

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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