This was supposed to be pretty much the biggest thing going in college athletics on Monday. Again, media days aren't exactly earth-shaking events, but in July, with camps still a week or so away, it fills a void, which is why ESPN dedicated a bunch of time to the SEC media days last week and will do so here and in the ACC this week, as well.
And then the whole Penn State-crushed-by-the-NCAA thing exploded. So much for the spotlight.
Few here wanted to delve into the subject of the $60 million fine, a four-year bowl ban and the loss of 40 scholarships handed to the Nittany Lions, but there were some reactions, not the least of which was that of Bowlsby when asked if he was surprised at either the severity of the penalties or the speed with which the NCAA acted.
"Well, acting quickly and the NCAA are seldom mentioned in the same sentence,'' he said. "So I am a little surprised by that.''
While most coaches were stunned by the scholarship cuts (that's their wheelhouse, after all), Bowlsby wondered aloud about the immense fine, as well as the jurisdictional aspect.
"I don't presume to know all the details of it and I'd like to spend some time reading and talking to folks before I make a whole lot of comments about it," said Bowlsby, who spoke just an hour after the NCAA's announcement. "But the one piece that I was surprised at was the magnitude of the fine. I'd like to hear a little bit more about how that number was derived and just learn more about it.
"And I don't know that it is absolutely clear on what basis this becomes an NCAA issue. Having said that, there are certainly elements of our constitution and bylaws that go right to the heart of ethics, and clearly there are some ethical issues here. I think perhaps the lesson that will be taken away from it is that things can get pretty far afield when there are people running the show that don't ever get frank feedback and don't ever have anybody pushback against them in terms of recentering their decision processes. And it's obvious this was a pretty insular circumstance.''
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, the former Pitt defensive coordinator, called the scholarship cuts "devastating.''
"And probably if you asked the powers that be,'' he said, "that's what they were going for.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.