Collected Wisdom of Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky

COMPILED BY BERRY TRAMEL, Staff Writer, btramel@opubco.com Published: September 14, 2013
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photo - Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky speaks at a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. Banowsky talked about the conference and the addition of Middle Tennessee, which begins July 1. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Conference USA commissioner Britton Banowsky speaks at a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. Banowsky talked about the conference and the addition of Middle Tennessee, which begins July 1. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

There are a lot of problems that we have to try and solve. Like the issue of compensation packages for student-athletes, enhancing some of those in the revenue sports, trying to figure that out. That's tricky. We have major issues around health and safety and concussions and those kinds of things. So we haven't been able to tackle those things. Seems like we're always working on conference realignment. Maybe some of those issues are getting out of alignment. We've gotta figure out a way to get together and figure it out.

I don't feel like there's a line cut that's going to happen above us, other than the market place line that's already been drawn. The revenue in college athletics has been primarily captured by those conferences in that grouping you described. So I think the rest of us actually work pretty well together and share some of the same values and ideas about how we can make college athletics a better place.

At some point, what we can't let happen is institutions, probably not football centric, that don't share the same values, and set fundamental objectives for athletics, drive the agenda. I think that's all they're saying. The agenda needs to be driven from the top. Which makes a lot of sense.

I can envision certainly a circumstance where those five conferences have a stronger voice, a little louder voice in the way their problems get addressed. Because I think that's frankly appropriate. We need their leadership right now. Starting another organization, and doing those kinds of things, I'm not hearing that as a possibility that is immenent.

The fascinating part about this is we have contracts. We just entered into a 12-year agreement for the college football playoff. That's 10 conferences and Notre Dame,, saying basically we're in this deal for 12 years. I think the frustration is how do we create a system that can solve the problems? How do we put our best minds and our best leadership in places where they can actually help us tackle the problems, because we all want to see college athletics continue to prosper but also continue to remain aligned with the values of our universities.

Conference USA, we're going to do what we're going to do. We have a set of values that are important to us. We're going to operate with integrity. We want to graduate our student-athletes. We want to win and be competitive and we want our fans to feel good about what we're doing across all of those value planks. So we're going to keep doing that. That's what we're going to do. We're going to have games, we're going to have television, we're going to have fans, we're going to promote each other, We're going to promote the accomplishments of the student-athletes.

College athletics have been our campuses in some cases for 100 years and it's going to continue to be on our campuses. We're still going to be part of the system, a system that hopefully shares our values and a system that can we can be part of the solution to some of these problems.



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