- Associated Press - Saturday, March 22, 2014

MIAMI (AP) - Bob Bowlsby took a seat inside a Miami hotel ballroom a few days ago, appearing as part of a panel tasked with forecasting how college sports may change over the next decade.

No one had any definite answers, of course.

But if Bowlsby got his way, the model would change - considerably.

Recruiting, admissions, enforcement, practice times, length of seasons - it’s all apparently on Bowlsby’s radar, and in this time where talk of changes and overhauls continues to sweep the NCAA landscape, the Big 12 commissioner offered a simple warning to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.

“We have a lot of work to do, folks,” Bowlsby said.

The Knight Commission was formed a quarter-century ago in response to a number of scandals that were rocking college sports at the time, with hopes that the emphasis would return to academic values at schools. The NCAA has a history of listening to the watchdog group and taking its words seriously, as evidenced by how it has implemented a number of its recommendations over the years.

Bowlsby’s remarks wouldn’t necessarily be considered proposals. More so, they were received as just a frank, straightforward view of what’s happening. Even to some on the inside, the NCAA still seems to be a massive, overly complex machine that few totally understand and is in desperate need of an overhaul.

“I thought an academic medical center was complicated … and then I got involved with the NCAA,” said Dr. Nathan Hatch, the president of Wake Forest and chairman of the NCAA’s Board of Directors, who happened to be seated next to Bowlsby on the Knight panel.

The blame, Bowlsby said, does not entirely lie with the NCAA, which has been under fire for the way it handled - or mishandled, some would argue - a number of high-profile enforcement cases in recent years, including the Miami case where investigators broke the association’s own policies by enlisting the assistance of an attorney and essentially using her subpoena power (a tool the NCAA does not have) to help probe the Hurricanes’ involvement with a booster.

“Quite frankly, the NCAA and whatever it is today, we made it that way,” Bowlsby said. “It isn’t this one-eyed ogre in Indianapolis. It’s the collective decisions that all of us have collaborated to make. And whatever it is or isn’t, and there’s been a whole lot more good than bad, we made it that way. And it’s going to take a little while to unwind it.”

And he’s up for plenty of unwinding.

He spoke of the realignment craze that swept Division I over the past couple years. (“It certainly wasn’t our finest hour. We commoditized institutions of higher education and I think time will tell a lot of bad decisions were made,” Bowlsby said.) He soon moved on to the power of the power conferences, another hotly debated topic of late. (“They also win 90 percent of the NCAA championships,” said Bowlsby, the former Stanford athletic director.)

With that, Bowlsby was just getting started.

He never raised his voice, but nothing was out of bounds, either.

He wondered why recruiting rules haven’t seemed to keep up with technology, wondering aloud if the current system tends to be counterproductive, especially when it comes to the highest-profile prospects.

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