Mar 2nd, 2022 |
100: Bob Bowlsby’s Musings on Athletes as Employees
On Friday, February 25, 2022, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby spoke at an Aspen Institute forum on college sports and the possibility of athletes as university employees. Bowlsby’s comments provide insight into the difficulty in-system stakeholder beneficiaries now face in articulating a forward-thinking, coherent position on the future of college sports, particularly regarding the fundamental relationship between athletes and their universities. While acknowledging that college sports are in unchartered waters after the hurricane of 2021, his comments consistently landed with worn-out NCAA/Power 5 talking points used in 2019 and 2020 to preserve the pre-Alston/NIL/transfer market status quo. Bowlsby’s detached perspective belied his position as one of the most influential individuals in college sports. As with so many discussions on the path forward for college sports, Bowlsby’s thinking begs a fundamental question in college sports voluntary regulation: who the hell is in charge?