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:College Sports Capsules: Commish says Big 12 feels good at 10 teams – Brownsville Herald: National :
GRAPEVINE (AP) ,Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby says the 10-team league feels good about where it is right now while still keeping an eye on what is happening with other conferences across the country.
“We continue to watch the landscape,” Bowlsby said Wednesday at the NCAA convention. “Until we’re persuaded that larger is better, we feel pretty good about right where we are.”
The league’s athletic directors have a regular meeting later this month in Dallas. Bowlsby said part of their discussions will include the advantages of staying with their membership, plus the advantages and disadvantages of possibly adding to that.
“If you get bigger,adidas shoes, do you have to get to 16, Do you get all the benefits at 14, Do you get them at 12,” Bowlsby said. “I just think there’s a real shortage of empirical evidence that can guide our decisions.”
But what if it became evident that the league needed to try to add schools,
“We could be proactive,” Bowlsby said. “I think there are some ways we could.”
Bowlsby, who became the Big 12 commissioner last May, didn’t elaborate on how.
The Big 12 has undergone significant changes to get to its 10-team configuration.
Nebraska and Colorado reduced the league from 12 members when they left after the 2010-11 school year. When Texas A&M and Missouri officially became SEC members last summer, they were replaced by TCU and West Virginia.
In September, the Big 12 announced a new $2.6 billion, 13-year deal with ESPN and Fox Sports. That agreement also allows the Big 12 to retain the media rights and accompanying revenue of any school that leaves the conference.
Another possible topic when the Big 12 ADs meet will be to determine if there would be the desire for the league to have a championship game again in football ,”We haven’t talked much about it,” Bowlsby said.
NCAA rules allow only leagues with at least 12 teams to have championship games, but that could change.
“In a period of deregulation, does it make sense that the association is describing the manner in which we create our champion,” Bowlsby said, adding it wasn’t his league that initially asked for reconsideration of that rule.
“There was some thought the reason they were asking is because we want to play a 13th regular-season game, which is not accurate,” he said. “We don’t have any intention of doing that.”
NCAA Convention
O’Neal: NCAA players should stay more than one year
GRAPEVINE (AP) ,After being introduced to the NCAA convention as Dr. Shaquille O’Neal, the four-time NBA champion jokingly asked that his scholarly resume be repeated before he opened with a public confession to the group’s president.
“From 1989-92 I committed numerous NCAA infractions,” O’Neal said, referencing his time as an LSU player. “I used to get a free bowl of jambalaya right before every game.”
NCAA President Mark Emmert laughed, saying that the statute of limitations had run out on that.
That was the start of a more than 30-minute question-and-answer session Emmert conducted with O’Neal during the keynote luncheon Wednesday on the opening day of the NCAA convention.
O’Neal said earning his doctoral degree in education, which he received last May from Barry College in Florida, was harder than anything he ever did athletically. He also talked about the importance of education, saying in the age of one-and-done basketball players that they should have to stay in school at least three years before going pro, such as the rule for NCAA football players.
“A lot of guys do it because of their financial situation and they need to do it. That’s the only way to provide a better means for their family. So when you look at it from that aspect, I understand it,” said O’Neal, who then told Emmert that if up to him the rule would “probably say three-and-done.”
For players who do leave early, O’Neal’s advice is to make sure they go back and finish their education. He said it’s not a matter of how much money they will make, but how much they’re going to keep.
O’Neal, who called his three years as an LSU player the best time of his life, recalled spending “$1 million in about 30 minutes” after he got his first check as the NBA’s first overall pick in 1992. He quickly realized he wasn’t as smart as he thought about money despite a few business and accounting classes.
Emmert is the former LSU chancellor who in 2000 presented O’Neal with his diploma for general studies after the NBA player had gone back to complete his undergraduate work. O’Neal added an online MBA from the University of Phoenix in 2005, and soon after that began work on his doctoral degree.
O’Neal said he always promised his family he would get his degree from LSU. He then challenged himself more and kept educating himself to help with his business pursuits, which today include owning 42 health and fitness clubs and 155 hamburger restaurants.
“I’m sure the aura of doing business with Shaquille O’Neal was there,” he said. “I needed them to know that they were doing business with a businessman, not doing business with an athlete.”
He also thought it was good for his six children to “see me educate and challenge myself.”
Having O’Neal as the keynote speaker was somewhat of a departure for the NCAA, coning a year after U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan was the speaker. The former basketball player was entertaining, insightful and humorous during his appearance.
Emmert will deliver his state of the NCAA remarks Thursday.
The NCAA Board of Directors meets Saturday, the convention’s final day. The board is expected to approve a sweeping set of changes that will include eliminating rules about how coaches communicate with recruits, how often they communicate with recruits, and allow college and high school players to accept money for travel expenses and prize money at non-scholastic events.
Along with questions posed to O’Neal by Emmert, there were some submitted by student-athletes in attendance.
When asked about star athletes being role models, O’Neal said he preferred the term “real” model.
“A lot of people, they play roles,NBA Jerseys. When you play a role, and it catches up with them, we all figure out they’re not who we thought they were. So with me, what you see is what you get,” O’Neal said. “As we’re seeing now, there’s a lot of people out there selling a lot of fake products. You’re hearing people confess. … To me, image is reality.”
There were no direct references to anybody in particular, but O’Neal’s comments came the same week disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey in an interview to air later this week that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. His confession comes after a decade of denial.
O’Neal went on to say that athletes have the responsibility to be good role models.
“I don’t think you get a choice,” O’Neal said. “I think we do have a social responsibility to do the right things, say the right things and behave correctly.”
Asked about who he looked up to, O’Neal talked about Magic Johnson for “what he did on and off the court” and remembered being told by Johnson as an 18-year-old kid that sports wouldn’t last forever and it was important to get the education to move into life after basketball. He mentioned Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and Donald Trump as smart businessmen he watched.
Since earning his doctorate last year, O’Neal has mentioned going to law school and owning his own firm.
“That’s my smart guy talking,” he said, smiling. “I thought about it, but probably not.”
— Stephen Hawkins
Emmert prefers NCAA’s more common-sense approach
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ,Mark Emmert is trying to make common sense a common practice in college sports. Two years ago, he presided over one of the most scandalous years in college history.
On Thursday, when the NCAA president speaks at the organization’s annual convention in suburban Dallas, he’ll try to explain why the image of college sports is improving thanks to tougher academic standards, tougher penalties for rule-breakers, an expedited enforcement process and the possibility of a revised rulebook.
It’s all part of a grand plan.
“You can’t legislate common sense, good judgment and discretion,” Emmert told The Associated Press this week. “When we’ve done that in the past, we’ve ended up with these highly enforced rules that become scofflaw. It’s become a cat-and-mouse game between teams and the enforcement of rules that are, frankly, of minor importance. Whether you’re using text messages or email isn’t really a consequential issue. The size of the envelope and color of paper you send to recruits isn’t that important.”
Instead, Emmert wants athletic departments to focus their attention on two key premises: Fair play on the field and academic success off of it.
And Emmert is willing to throw away the traditional book, literally.
He supports a package of sweeping rule changes that would allow college athletes and recruits to accept more money to cover expenses for non-scholastic events, earn more prize money and allow schools and conference officials to pay for medical expenses of athletes. The proposals also include the creation of a uniform recruiting calendar for all sports, eliminating regulating how coaches communicate with recruits and how often they can contact them outside of no-contact periods, which will remain in place.
The board of directors is expected to pass the entire package Saturday. If approved, the new rules will effect Aug. 1.
“The entire (rules) working group has done an amazing job of going through the rulebook with a clear and concise eye of eliminating those things that are unenforceable or aren’t as germane to the issue of fair play as we thought,” Emmert said.
Clearly, the NCAA can’t legislate everything.
When Emmert acknowledged 2012 was a far better year for colleges in terms of scandals, he cautioned that he continually worries another could pop up.
The latest chapter came Wednesday when Notre Dame announced a story about the death of Manti Te’o’s girlfriend was in fact a hoax perpetrated on the Heisman Trophy runner-up.
Still, Emmert is doing everything he can to create a new image for the NCAA.
He remains supportive of rule changes that delve into financial aid, playing seasons and practice times. Those could be passed later this year.
Emmert also wants athletes to have a chance at receiving stipends of up to $2,000 toward the full cost of attendance. That proposal was passed by the board of directors in October 2011, but was put on hold two months later when enough schools signed an override petition,Adidas Jeremy Scott. Most of the school’s objections fall into four categories ,they disagree with the NCAA’s philosophical change, are concerned about additional costs, when those costs will appear on budgets and Title IX compliance.
“It’s one thing for the Michigans or Ohio States or Southern Cals that are generating a lot of revenue to do this. For the other schools, I think that’s going to be tough,” said Matt Mitten, a law professor and director of the National Sports Law Institute at Marquette University in Milwaukee. “I think a lot of this will be determined internally with smaller schools saying we can’t afford it.”
NCAA leaders have been trying to devise a new model for the stipend that the members will support. The board is scheduled to hear three possible concepts this weekend and Emmert hopes there will be a vote on a formal proposal this summer.
Despite the changes, Emmert’s overall philosophy of the NCAA has not changed.
It still has to set guidelines and enforce rules.
But with a broad rulebook to keep the focus on the NCAA’s bedrock principles rather than ticky-tack infractions, penalties that are tough enough to dissuade cheating and updated operational guidelines, Emmert believes the NCAA can become more effective and efficient at doing its job ,even if everything isn’t perfect right away.
“We’re not chiseling out the Ten Commandments here,” Emmert said. “I’ve told them to get it is as right as you can (on rules) and bring them (members) along with you. Right now, I couldn’t be happier with where we are in terms of that agenda.”
— Michael Marot

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