Michael Crow has been Arizona State's president since 2002. While a student at Iowa State, he threw the javelin for the track team.
SI: You've been pushing a playoff in recent interviews. What kind would you like to see?
Crow: What I like more than the number of teams or whatever is the notion of an NCAA Tournament that produces one of the crummy little trophies that they give. Not fancy. That's what I want, yes. I want it to say "Division I Football Champion."
SI: Would you like to see it run by the NCAA?
Crow: No. What I'd like is a tournament that is like the other tournaments -- one that meets all our expectations. I'd also like to see the bowl games to return to regional, intersectional games in a sense. In the Rose Bowls of the past, Big Ten and Pac-10 teams would play in a traditional thing. So perhaps I'm an overly traditional person, but that's my thinking. If we have a playoff, I'm not so concerned about how it gets designed. But in terms of conditions, my thought was that it would be best if it was built around conference champions. I don't know enough about all those details to really comment. What I'm trying to do is operate more on a conceptual level. The conceptual level is one where let's design a playoff the right way to involve conference champions, and let's return the bowls to regional and intersectional play. Let's do it in a way where we give that wooden plaque out as the championship trophy as opposed to something encrusted in gold or crystal.
SI: When did the opinion shift on this issue?
Crow: Obviously, everybody's been talking about it. The BCS has been out lobbying in Washington to try to protect its position against folks who believe that it's not a very good system. Well, let's just build a better system and not have a system that so many people think is unfair.
SI: How do you feel about the cost-of-attendance stipend issue?
Crow: I support the full-cost-of-attendance scholarships. I had one of those scholarships as an undergraduate, but it was an ROTC scholarship. Thirty-nine years ago, that scholarship paid me $100 [per] month of spending money because that was the estimate then of what I needed to take care of my incidental expenses. And that was 39 years ago. This proposal is not dramatically different from that.
SI: Mid-majors feel this is a way for rich schools to gain another competitive advantage.
Crow: I think it's more complicated than that. The number of athletes who can have part-time jobs is small to none because they're so involved in their studies and they're so involved in their athletic preparation. Where are they supposed to get their incidental expenses from? We don't even treat them the same way we treat an academic scholar. An academic scholar gets the full cost of attendance. The athlete doesn't. It doesn't have anything to do with the other schools. It has to do with being fair to the athletes.