Football season is underway, with Bob Bowlsby giving the opening address. As you'd expect, much of his statement was entirely a public relations exercise. Bowlsby began with a brief mention of the ongoing legal action against the NCAA, and referenced the upcoming State of College Athletics forum on August 6.
Bowlsby then discussed the creation of the conference's new branding, making a crack about the league being "numerically challenged" as a response to the hypothetical question of why the Big 12 has ten teams. He said that the new logo tested well with the 18-35 demographic. And then he presented three new short promotional videos, including this one with the coaches which is pretty creepy:
The conference seems to be hitting several linked catchphrases this year: Explosive Offenses, Aggressive Defenses, Exciting Outcomes, Passionate Fans, College Football's Top Venues.
Bowlsby then returned to the lectern, trying to sell the strength of the Big 12's non-conference schedule. He noted that the schedule includes 11 bowl teams from last year, which fails to account for the fact that going to a bowl game isn't particularly stellar as an accomplishment these days; 11 bowl teams out of 30 opponents is substantially less than the percentage of teams that actually go to bowls. Bowlsby did, however, note that both teams which participated in last year's BCS Championship Game are on the conference's schedule.
Of course, that's because neither of those teams came from the Big 12, which Bowlsby noted by stating, "It's been a little while since won a championship, and I think we all think it's about time that we did."
In reference to competition matters, Bowlsby noted that helmet-to-helmet contact would continue to be a major focus for the officials, and also announced that on September 6, when Southeast Missouri State visits Kansas, the Big 12's first female official (Catherine Conti) would work the game. A nice progressive announcement.
Bowlsby then returned to the collegiate model. "We don't exist for the purpose of preparing professional athletes," he said, adding that he feels there is much more right than wrong with college athletics. He expressed concern about the loss of Olympic sports as a result of ongoing litigation.
There was a moment when Bowlsby seemed to drift into trying to lean on leftist economic theory to defend the NCAA's policies regarding player compensation. He also expressed concern about the NCAA's own enforcement procedures: "Enforcement is broken... it's not an understatement to say that cheating pays."
Bowlsby then went on a long spiel about the autonomy of the Big Five, and vaguely expressed the sentiment that if the Big Five didn't receive that autonomy something drastic might occur.
Questions from the press came next. Bowlsby defended the league's "One True Champion" mantra while admitting that co-championships will still happen. Obviously, the point is that if there's a two-way tie, you know who the "champion" is, but what about a three-way tie? That wasn't addressed.
Asked about four-year scholarships, Bowlsby predicted a national rule in favor of that model.
The final question to Bowlsby called him back to the "cheating pays" comment. Bowlsby addressed the near-impossibility of enforcing the NCAA's own rules due to the lack of subpoena power. Naturally, he doesn't think there's any cheating in the Big 12.
Next up: Art Briles and the Baylor contingent.