MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

May 14, 2014

Castiglione: College model evolving

PLANO, Texas — The model for collegiate athletics is evolving. University of Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said on Tuesday the NCAA and its members should have been better at adjusting its model.

“Never before has college athletics faced such scrutiny. Quite candidly, some of it, we brought on ourselves,” he said at Sooner Caravan meeting at Gleneagles Country Club.

Last month, the NCAA proposed rule changes that will allow the schools in the Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, ACC, Pac-12 and Notre Dame more autonomy and the power to provide their athletes more benefits and resources.

A final vote is scheduled for August. The changes would allow the 65 schools in question to provide scholarships that cover the full cost of attendance, along with medical insurance and medical care after college as well as pay the expenses for members on trips.

The proposed changes come amid mounting lawsuits and the unionization vote by Northwestern’s football team.

Castiglione believes the current collegiate model is dated, but one aspect of college sports should not change.

“We are not professional sports,” he said. “All these great stories that you hear, we need to continue to celebrate. Those are some of the challenges, but there are opportunities about.”

Castiglione said OU’s athletic department budget was $106 million last year. He touted the program as one of only five NCAA athletic departments that operate without funding from the state or the school’s general fund.

He declined to discuss plans to renovate Owen Field or Lloyd Noble Center in the coming years. OU President David Boren told the Transcript last week he expects an Owen Field renovation proposal to be presented to the OU board of regents at its June meeting.

“Last fall we announced those plans were underway, and we’ve taken six to eight months or so for it to develop. I’m really excited about what’s transpired since then. It’s been a great project; a great experience. It’s comprehensive in nature,” Castiglione said. “There are two goals that we set out to try and attain through this process. One is to create world-class resources for our world-class student-athlete experience, and second was to create the experience that is second to none in the country. We are on our way to making that happen.”

Obviously, the top priority of the Sooner Caravan is to raise money. It has several more stops throughout the summer. OU football coach Bob Stoops, men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger and women’s basketball coach Sherri Coale attended the event. They did not field questions from reporters.

Castiglione said improved facilities will be essential in all OU coaches’ future success.

“What we do to attract the best and the brightest student-athletes is to give them all the resources they need to develop the special gifts that they have,” he said. “With that comes in the form of hiring and retaining great coaches, building a support staff, obviously the resources they need to pursue a degree to grow as a person and to develop their special athletic talents in state-of-the-art facilities.”

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