Big 12 News

Bob Bowlsby Faces Tough Questioning on Adidas, Kansas Trial

NCAA Basketball: Big 12 Basketball Media Day

Kansas City, MO. – Bob Bowlsby had his hands full on Wednesday morning at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. He was asked extensively about the court case involving Adidas, Kansas and the NCAA.

“The NCAA has intentionally stayed out of the way in deference to the federal process and that’s the way it out to be. Once that happens [get to the end of the process] KU in particular has said it would have comments… but beyond that I don’t have any inside information. I don’y have the dpeth of knowledge to make intelligent comments on it,” Bowlsby said on Monday morning.

But Bowlsby admitted that these accusations are a big deal, adding, “Any time there are accusations made, we take them very seriously. The integrity of our conference is vitally important and it goes right to the heart of the conference itself. I certainly am not going to prejudge any outcomes, there are lots of things that get bantered around in the media or anecdotally come up and don’t have anything to do with what goes on in the court room.”

Bowlsby and a reporter got testy with each other, when the commissioner didn’t want to dive into the details of the case and speculate, even when he was pressed about the fact that, “both sides agree the payment happened.”

Bowlsby was confident that when the court case is settled, which coincidentally it was on Wednesday afternoon, after Media Day had unofficially wrapped up, the commissioner said he “fully expects” the NCAA to open its own investigation.

Bowlsby was also pressed on the competitive nature in the league and the fact that KU has won the conference 13 years running. The commissioner brought up the depth, saying, “Well our competitive results would suggest that there is. We’ve had everybody play in the NCAA Tournament in recent years, we’ve had seven of our teams in the Sweet 16 in the last three years.”

He went on to say he does not recall discussing the trial with any of the athletic directors or chancellors in the Big 12 Conference.

“All the best parts of college athletics and all the worst part of college athletics are in college basketball… there’s lots of outside intervention and there has been for a long time. It’s a risky environment. The fact that the federal government is involved is indicative of that. But there’s still a process that we have to go through and we’re not at a point where athletic organizations can get involved in it,” Bowlsby added.

But he did go on to point out he fully expects a follow up investigation.

Bowlsby has deep ties NCAA Basketball and doesn’t believe this Adidas trial means that college basketball is a broken sport and system, saying, “I don’t have a better way to express it other than I spend two years as the chair of the men’s basketball committee and I was very close to college basketball in all the positions I worked at. i think its easy to paint all of college basketball with a dark brush and that’s not fair. there’s lot of great kids and lots of great coaches and terrific schools involved in it. Are there bad operators out there? Yea there are bad operators out there… but it isn’t everybody and it certainly isn’t the majority… I think it’s very easy to say everything is wrong with college basketball, everything is not wrong with it.”

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