I sat down with fourth-year KCAC commissioner Scott Crawford for an in-depth interview Friday afternoon in downtown Wichita and we discussed what the future might hold for the KCAC regarding a lot of different things, including possible expansion, giving the league’s schools more autonomy in their spending for scholarships and, most importantly, the immediate changes that are being made regarding the KCAC’s Sports Regulations Initiative (SRI), which received final approval from the KCAC Board of Presidents last week. What’s the SRI? Only the biggest step forward towards being more competitive on the national level that the league has made in my lifetime — expanding the schedules to fit the maximum allotment from the NAIA where, in the past, the KCAC has played less games than were allowed.
The biggest impact, in my opinion, will be seen in football, where teams get an 11th regular-season game and a SPRING GAME. You’ll probably be able to see results in basketball pretty quickly, too, as teams will get to play the maximum 32 games instead of 30 in the upcoming season. Trust me, that’s all a big deal.
Here’s the portion of the interview Crawford did exclusively for Sunflower Slate:
Sunflower Slate: First things first. Any truth to the rumors that the KCAC has reached out to KU and K-State regarding expansion?
Crawford: (Laughing) That’s pretty funny, because that was actually on a poll in The Hutch News regarding what KU and K-State’s best options were. I think we got like 74 votes.
Is there anything small-college conferences can learn from what’s going on with the major colleges shifting conferences? Any lessons that apply to you guys?
I think there is. Mainly, that you always need to be pro-active when thinking about your future. For us, that means trying to get our own webcasting network going. That’s not for money or for revenue, though, that’s for exposure.But for the bigger schools, that money is too much to turn your back on. I thought Gene Wojciechowski had the best quote regarding the whole thing, something like “greed built the Big 12, and greed killed the Big 12.”
You just completed your third season as the KCAC commissioner, is there anything that really stands out to you from the past school year?
Not just from the last year, probably, but from the last two years with the KCAC finally being able to get direct qualifications for the NAIA national tournaments … that has been great for our league. However, until the NAIA breaks some of the single-entity sports up into divisions that have to do with scholarship availability, like they do in basketball, it’s going to be hard for us to win national championships. Right now, we just hope to get to the national tournament and win more than we lose. We’re glad to be part of the party.
Is there anybody you lean on for advice, for making big decisions?
I report directly to the KCAC board of presidents, and my direct contact has been Dr. Biff Greene at Friends, which has been a great experience. I also rely on our executive committee, which is made up of Friends athletic director Joe Zimmerman, Ottawa athletic director Arabie Conner and Tabor athletic director Rusty Allen. They’re all helpful.
How long do you plan on doing this for? Is this something where you can see yourself doing this for 20 years?
Going into my fourth year, I feel like I’ve just scratched the surface of things I want to get accomplished. To have a major impact, just to be able to accomplish the goals I have for myself, would take at least another 3 to 5 years. There’s a lot of work still to be done.
We’re out. TA