MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

OU

June 6, 2014

Reasons for split in NCAA 'legitimate, maybe' says Stoops

TULSA — College athletics has gone through many changes over the last four years. Starting in August it will go through another. Athletes on scholarship will receive full cost of tuition in addition to unlimited food.

The NCAA’s decision to change the rules regarding both expenses was based on a push from the five power conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) and the massive increase in revenue they’ve seen over the last decade.

OU coach Bob Stoops was asked on Thursday at the Sooner Caravan stop at the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa campus if there’s still a push for the major conferences to simply form their own division within the NCAA.

“There’s legitimate reasons for it, maybe,” he said. “It’s like a lot of things. Everything evolves. Morphs into certain, you know, what people want. What everybody else feels is the right thing to do for our student-athletes. For what the public wants. So we’ll see.

“There’s some legitimate reasons it makes sense. But again, I think the amateur model in what we’ve been doing for such a long time is incredibly positive. Look at our TV ratings. So let’s be careful in how we proceed.”

The amateur model is something that’s being heavily debated. The NCAA is currently in court fighting a legal challenge brought forth by former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon that argues players are entitled to compensation for use of their likeness and image during their college days.

The schools in the major conferences — and Notre Dame — have the financial means to pay more money.

Stoops is on course to make over $4.5 million this season and sources have told the Transcript he will receive a raise and extension later this month.

Yet, his salary is $2 million per year less than deal Alabama announced its coach, Nick Saban, has signed.

Is it too much?

“When you compare it to what maybe they bring in, probably not,” Stoops said when asked about Saban’s new deal. “Compare it to what they (Alabama) were bringing in before he got there and before the program’s doing what it is now. I don’t know. Business is business. I don’t think anybody pays something that they’re not able to afford, or that doesn’t put them in a positive position. That’s in all businesses.

“For instance, in our case, I don’t know, we’ve given roughly 40 to 44 million dollars to our academic programs and the university as a whole over the last 10 years. That seems to be a pretty positive business model. When before Joe Castiglione and President (David) Boren got here, I think they were losing money. (University) was funding the athletic program. So, listen, numbers are numbers. Those numbers seem to be pretty positive.”

The major reason behind the Sooner Caravans is to raise money for the athletic department. Stoops was joined at Thursday’s event by men’s basketball coach Lon Kruger and women’s coach Sherri Coale.

Head coaching duties extend well beyond simply coaching and recruiting. Fundraising is a major part of it.

Boren told the Transcript last month that a renovation proposal for Owen Field is expected to be presented to the school’s board of regents this month.

The plans will call for millions of dollars in renovations that must be raised through the athletic department.

Stoops said he has no problem with that part of the job after 16 seasons at OU.

“I’m fortunate that going on 16 years I’m very good friends with so many of these people that it isn’t to me so much fundraising as this is my view and our view and what we’d like to do,” he said. “I can’t say that I’m any kind of lead fundraiser my any means. I think, and I’m confident, our people get what has to continue to happen.”

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