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Mountain West coaches respond to 'cheating pays' comments

Reported by: Amber Dixon
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Updated: 7/24 6:46 pm

LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3 & AP) -- The allegations Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby made Monday about cheating in college football is still on the minds of commissioners and coaches across the country.

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson says cheating is not a problem. UNLV's head coach Bobby Hauck says in his experience recruitment practices are "clean."

The types of cheating Bowlsby was talking about were illegal recruiting practices and fixing games for betting.

Nevada's head coach Brian Polian says he's seen illegal recruiting happen, not as a head coach, but as an assistant coach.

Commissioner Bowlsby blames the NCAA for lack of enforcement.

"You're going to hate it going forward," Bowlsby said. "There's a lot of change coming."

During his opening address at Big 12 football media days, Bowlsby talked about growing financial constraints athletic programs face going forward and the "strange environment" that exists with class-action lawsuits against the NCAA and its member schools.

Bowlsby said he's doesn't think there is a real understanding of how much lawsuits - which he numbered as seven and "growing all the time" - could radically alter things.

The NCAA board of directors is set to vote Aug. 7 on a proposal to give schools in the highest-profile conferences more influence over college rules. The proposal also would give athletic directors and athletes bigger roles in the legislative process, and give the power conferences autonomy to make their own bylaws.

That vote will come a day after the Big 12 sponsors in New York the first in a scheduled series of forums on the state of college athletics.

When addressing potential unionization of football and basketball players, Bowlsby said "student-athletes are not employees. They should never be employees. It's not an employee/employer relationship."

Bowlsby also said the NCAA is "headed down a path of significant financial difficulty" with revenues from television packages going up about 2 1/2 percent a year while expenses are increasing more than 4 percent annually.

That includes schools paying $1 million or more per year under new rules to start providing unlimited food and nutrition to student-athletes. Plus, future scholarships could provide more money to cover the full cost of attendance.

"I think that's great. I think there are ways that it costs more than room, board, books, tuition, and fees to go to school," Bowlsby said. " But even in an environment where we have some additional revenue coming in from television resources, primarily, it is going to be very difficult for many institutions to fund that.

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