Home

Bowlsby Takes Over Big 12 Reins, With Expansion, Longhorn Net Among Conference's Issues

Bowlsby Takes Over Big 12 Reins, With Expansion, Longhorn Net Among Conference's Issues

Published

Bowlsby calls himself a "young 60" and said he expects to remain on the job for 10 years
Bob Bowlsby on Friday “was officially introduced as the new leader of the Big 12, a league that lost a third of its original members in recent years but one Bowlsby says is now positioned to thrive,” according to Mike Finger of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. With all the changes in the conference, Bowlsby “wondered if he was interviewing for a temporary gig.” He said, "I, like many people, had a vision of this conference as unstable. I was very quickly put at ease." Oklahoma State President & Big 12 BOD Chair Burns Hargis said that the choice of Bowlsby “was an obvious one.” Hargis: "We were looking for a leader we thought could take the Big 12 to the next level in this new era of college athletics.” (CHRON.com, 5/4). Bowlsby said that he “wouldn’t have listened to the search firm that approached him or accepted the job unless he believed the Big 12 was good for the long haul.” In K.C., Blair Kerkhoff noted Bowlsby “once had a predator’s perspective of the Big 12.” Bowlsby said, “Obviously, I had some inside information about what was going on. It was hard during the middle of that process to not think, at least in the back of my mind, that it was like rats leaving a sinking ship. But cooler heads prevailed. I know the league has learned a lot from those processes” (K.C. STAR, 5/5). In Austin, Kirk Bohls wrote “Bob Bowlsby is his own man.” He has accepted “what some might say is a thankless task of trying to appease Texas at the same time he adheres to consensus-building to keep his conference solvent.” Bowlsby “has to rub elbows with Texas, which he aptly called ‘the 800-pound gorilla,’ but not be seen as a rubber stamp for Texas.” He "called himself 'a young 60' and said he intended to remain on the job for 10 years.” Bohls wrote the Big 12 “was not looking for a bold, get-on-board-or-else leader who has to reinvent his league, as [Pac-12 Commissioner Larry] Scott had to.” The league “wants political stability, but it can still use more equal revenue sharing and a common voice for all 10 members.” Bohls: “It's Bowlsby's job to keep Texas happy and keep the Big 12 together. That would make the other nine schools happy” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/5).

TACKLING THE ISSUES: Bowlsby said, "I think expansion is going to be an ongoing point of consideration for us. I certainly am not going to presume a direction we're going to go." He added that the “acrimony that contributed to the exits of Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and A&M ‘is in the past’" (CHRON.com, 5/4). Bowlsby said, “I think, though, as you consider expansion, it has to be expansion that has, as its roots, the enhancement of the league. There’s nothing magic about 11, 12 or 10 (members)." Bowlsby said of revenue sharing in the league, "Great competition every Saturday is the best thing you can have. One of the ways you do that is by making sure the rich don't get richer and the poor don't get poorer. I think it's really important to have something resembling equal revenue sharing” (INDYSTAR.com, 5/4). Bowlsby said of the Longhorn Network, “I think everybody wishes that they had the Longhorn Network available to them, and not everybody can do that.” He added, “It's a challenge going forward, but I think the presidents have given a lot of thought to how it fits together, and I was satisfied with what I heard from them along those lines.” On the addition of West Virginia, Bowlsby noted, “Football and basketball teams are playing all over the country, so it isn't a particular logistical challenge there, but for some of the non-revenue Olympic sports, it's going to be a challenge” (ESPN.com, 5/4).

A NEW CHAPTER: ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel  wrote Bowlsby becomes “the fourth commissioner in the league's 16-year existence.” As commissioners go, “The Big 12 has been the George Steinbrenner of employers.” Since the league started up in ‘96, the ACC, Big East, Pac-12 and SEC “have made one change at the top, and the Big Ten none at all.” Bowlsby said, “I'm concerned that we do the things in branding and messaging with our conference that demonstrates and proliferates the solidarity I have found in talking and interviewing with the people here” (ESPN.com, 5/4). In Oklahoma City, Berry Tramel noted Hargis “took time Friday to salute” outgoing interim Big 12 Commissioner Chuck Neinas. Hargis said Neinas "came into this conference in some fairly tumultuous times and has been a steady hand on the helm. We just really appreciate his expertise, his service and the ideas that he has brought, which frankly I think have solidified this conference in ways that few could have achieved.” Tramel: “It’s too much to say Neinas saved the conference. But no doubt he solidified the league” (NEWSOK.com, 5/4).

Home