DALLAS -- Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby took the stage at Big 12 football media days on Monday and addressed questions from all areas of college football, including the new four-team playoff, third-tier rights, the Champions Bowl and the scandal at Penn State.
You mentioned putting more of an emphasis on early-season tough games. But with a nine-game conference schedule, how do you plan to have a tougher September with a playoff down the road?
BOB BOWLSBY: "Well, don't mistake what I'm saying. I think September is a part of the season that teams use to get ready for the rest of the season. Playing a steady diet of Top 25 teams is not what any coach wants to do, and in most cases, is not required for a team to get ready for a conference schedule. That's not what is going to be encouraged in the context of a postseason playoff. Having said that, putting together a schedule that never takes you off your campus or creates matchups that are significant for media and significant in terms of comparison of the best teams in the country... The complete absence of that will likely be penalized."
From the announcement regarding Penn State, I have two questions. One, are you surprised at the severity of the sanctions, and also, are you surprised the NCAA stepped into a murky situation and acted quickly?
BOWLSBY: "Well, 'acting quickly' and 'NCAA' are rarely mentioned in the same sentence, so I am a little surprised by that. I don't presume to know all the details regarding it so I'd like to spend some time reading before I make many comments about that. I was surprised about the magnitude of the fine. I'd like to hear a little bit more about how they came up with that number. I don't know if it's clear on what basis this becomes an NCAA issue. Having said that, there are certainly elements of our constitution and bylaws that go straight to the laws of ethics and clearly there are some ethical issues here."
Can you talk about third-tier rights in this conference? Obviously they were a huge point of concern for Texas A&M and Missouri, and yet they could also be an inducement if this conference ever expanded. What are your thoughts?
BOWLSBY: "That's a great question. That's something we are continuing to work our way through during the course of the negotiations. Our model is unique, just as the SEC model and Big Ten model are unique. I was involved in the Pac-12 model and it was different as well. We think there is an opportunity to monetize third-tier rights. We also think there is an opportunity for institutional exposure that is substantial. Each institution has its own aspirations and opportunities. We have some disagreements, but they aren't substantial. I have no doubt we will have a plan put together. I agree with you, it can be an attractive part of others coming to our league. It's a constantly evolving argument within our conference and nationally
I think we're in a position of maximum flexibility. I like where we are and the opportunities it presents for us going forward."
Can you explain the status of the Champions Bowl and what your highest hopes are for what that bowl can become? What's your timetable for getting that hammered out?
BOWLSBY: "We expect an RFP to go out jointly from the Big 12 and SEC within the next two weeks. That's the RFP for hosting the event. We believe there is significant interest in hosting the event and that includes both current bowls and other sites that might be interested going forward. We are pretty par down the path on the television aspects of it. We expect this game to be slotted on New Years Day after the Rose Bowl
We expect the game to be as big as any game in college football and that's our aspiration."
Regarding the football playoff timetable, what has to happen first with the selecting of sites, TV contracts, and selection committee... How is that going to unfold?
BOWLSBY: "We've been working behind the scenes since the meeting in June when the four-team playoff was announced. We still have some work to do on revenue sharing and selection process. I think we have framework for both of those. We've been spending some time on branding it and how it will be put together. I think the Rose Bowl and Champions Bowl are going to be involved in the process, and we expect the Orange Bowl to be as well. But it's unknown who the other three bowls are going to be at this point in time. I think most of this will be up and running in the next 60 days as far as getting the documents out
I would be disappointed if by the first of the year, we didn't have a pretty good idea on all the things I've mentioned and an idea of a site for the first national championship game."
Will the initiation of the four-team playoff bring expansion to a halt?
BOWLSBY: "Great question. I think a period of calm would be highly advantageous for college football and college athletics in general. I think the effect that it will have is it will allow everyone to see the cards on the table. It'll allow everyone to see the competitive upsides and downsides. I think part of the reason for the mad scramble in conference alignment was fear of the unknown, and I think this diminishes the fear of the unknown. I think that's a positive thing. If I had to take a stab at it, I think it will have a positive effect, but that remains to be seen."
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