SBD/May 4, 2012/Colleges

Big Man On Campus: Bob Bowlsby Formally Introduced As New Big 12 Commissioner

Bowlsby (r) is expected to earn around $1M a year as the Big 12 Commissioner
Stanford Univ. AD Bob Bowlsby was formally introduced as the new Big 12 commissioner Friday at the league office in Irving, Texas. Bowlsby will start at the position on June 15 (Big 12). In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff reports Bowlsby, who replaces acting commissioner Chuck Neinas, is “expected to earn around $1 million annually.” Praise for the hire was “spread across the Big 12." Univ. of Oklahoma President David Boren said Bowlsby is the “ideal selection.” Kansas State Univ. AD John Currie said the selection committee “hit a home run.” Kerkhoff reports Bowlsby is “seen as a leader in the college ranks, having served as chairman of the Division I men’s basketball and wrestling committees." Bowlsby is “something of a non-traditional hire” for the conference, as he is the league's "fourth full-time commissioner but the first to come directly from a university" (K.C. STAR , 5/4). In Dallas, Chuck Carlton notes the task facing Bowlsby “is as direct as it is challenging.” Completing a 13-year, $1.3B TV rights deal with ESPN “would send a message of stability,” as would “persuading members to grant TV rights to the conference for the life of the deal instead of the current six years.” The conference then “can decide whether 10 teams is enough and where it wants to position itself” in a four-team playoff BCS (FT. WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 5/4). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel writes Bowlsby is "not a powerful personality, necessarily, but the Big 12 never has sought a powerful personality, at least not until Chuck Neinas’ interim term these last seven months, so no reason to think it would change now.” Bowlsby has “no apparent ties to any of the Big 12 schools, which is a good political development in a league that has been very volatile” (, 5/3).

WHO’S NEXT AT STANFORD? In S.F., Tom FitzGerald reports Stanford Provost and acting President John Etchemendy “will lead a search for a replacement" for Bowlsby, though it was "not immediately known if there would be an interim AD. Among the "possible candidates" to replace Bowlsby are Yale AD Thomas Beckett, Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Exec Dir Gary Cavalli, Univ. of California-Irvine AD Mike Izzi, West Coast Conference Commissioner Jamie Zaninovich and West Virginia Univ. AD Oliver Luck (S.F. CHRONICLE, 5/4). Another “intriguing possibility” is former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Stanford has “never had a female AD” and the university “considered hiring" North Carolina State Univ. AD Debbie Yow before it hired Bowlsby (, 5/3).
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