Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week it's easier for athletic programs to cheat these days because the NCAA has become overwhelmed with other legal issues that occupy its time and energy.
"Enforcement is broken," Bowlsby said Monday at Big 12 football media days in Dallas. "The infractions committee hasn't had a hearing in almost a year, and I think it's not an understatement to say that cheating pays presently. If you seek to conspire to certainly bend the rules, you can do it successfully and probably not get caught in most occasions."
Bowlsby, a former athletic director at Iowa and Stanford, is the third of the five "power league" commissioners to speak at football media days this summer.
He followed SEC head Mike Slive and John Swofford of the ACC, with Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott and the Big Ten's Jim Delany to come later this week.
Bowlsby sounded very concerned about the state of college athletics in what has been dubbed the "Summer of Change." Pending court decisions involving player marketing rights (The Ed O'Bannon case) and possible unionization at Northwestern threaten to unravel the student-athlete construct.
Bowlsby was encouraged that the NCAA steering committee proposal released last week likely paves the way for more autonomy for the major football conferences. Bowlsby, though, warned that additional revenue funneled to football and basketball programs could force schools to eliminate some sports.
"There is change afoot and some of it is going to be unhappy change," Bowlsby said of possible cuts to non-revenue sports." And I think that's an unfortunate byproduct of the lawsuits that are out there right now."
Bowlsby still believes in the collegiate "model," but said "we have lots of challenges on our hands. I don't think there's any question that none of this is going to go away soon. I expect to be in court most of the rest of my career."