Bob Bowlesby will step down as commissioner of the Big 12 conference later this year

Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlesby announced today that he will step down as commissioner later this year after a decade of leading the league and securing its long-term future as one of five major university athletics conferences. Bowlesby, a steady, influential voice for interuniversity athletics, will remain commissioner of the Big 12 until a new commissioner is appointed and then, at the request of the Conference, move to a new temporary role with the Conference, subject to mutual agreement between Bowlesby and the new commissioner.

“After more than 40 years of leadership positions in interuniversity athletics, including the last 10 in the‘ Big 12 ’, and given the major challenges that college sports in general and the‘ Big 12 ’will address in the next few years, I have achieved a natural transition moment in my tenure as Commissioner as well as in my career, ”Bowlesby said.

“The Big 12 will soon bring in our four new members and agree on a new agreement on media rights and rights. I truly believe that the Big 12 and our member institutions are in a strong position now and when we look to the future. So, it is time for me to step away from the role of Commissioner so that the next Conference Chair can take the lead in these important issues that will come to the fore before the expiration of my 2025 employment agreement to pave the way for Big’s continued continued success. 12 ».

Bowlesby was appointed commissioner in 2012, and under his supervision the Big 12 has achieved tremendous growth in its national brand, television exposure, revenue to be distributed to its member institutions and competitive success. Most recently, he led the accession to the Big 12 four future members, with BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston agreeing to join the conference no later than the 2024-25 school year.

During his tenure as Big 12, he won 25 NCAA national team championships, including winning the Men’s Basketball Championship at the University of Kansas. In 2020-21, the Big 12 captured 5 NCAA national team championships, including the Baylor University Men’s Basketball Championship. In addition, for four consecutive years the Big 12 brings the men’s basketball teams to the Final Four. In football the Big 12 throughout its seven-year history has put teams in the New Year’s Cup football college playoffs. The Big 12 is home to two of the last five Heisman Trophy holders and was the only conference that led the team to the four-finals and CFP semifinals in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

“On behalf of the Big 12 conference, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Commissioner Bowlesby for his outstanding leadership over the past decade,” said Lawrence Shovanek, chairman of the Big 12 board and president of the Technical University of Texas. “Bob has consistently contributed to revenue growth for Conference member organizations, remained strong in turbulent times in the world of collegiate sports, spearheaded innovation in university athletics and worked tirelessly to ensure the stability and future of the Big 12. Bob’s leadership contributed to opportunities that provided to our students and their success other than sports experience. The conference will continue and we are confident of an even brighter future. I appreciate that during this transition, Bob will continue to be a reliable resource for the conference in any relevant role that he and the new commissioner mutually agree on. ”

The conference conducts interviews and engages a consulting firm to find executives to assist it in the broad national process of finding a new commissioner, which will begin in the next few weeks.

As one of the first achievements during his stay at the Conference, Bowlesby completed a 12-year comprehensive media rights agreement with ESPN and FOX Sports, one of the most lucrative television deals at the College of Athletics. He subsequently led the expansion of ESPN’s relationship with the debut in 2019 of the Big 12 Now digital distribution platform on ESPN +, which hosts hundreds of additional Big 12 sporting events and original programs worldwide each year. Bowlesby played a key role in shaping the college’s football playoffs, which began in 2014-15, the first post-season playoff in the history of university football. In addition, under his leadership in 2017, the game of the Big 12 football championship was resumed.

In 2014-15, the Big 12 presented the “State of Athletics Athletics” forums to explore some of the pressing issues facing college athletics. Seven events were held in cities across the country, and participants from respected experts addressed topics such as Athletics Racing and Colleges, E-Sports on Campus, and Where We Are From Here: The Future of Student Sports. The award-winning Big 12 Champions for Life program, another initiative of the Conference, which is in its seventh year, presented more than 400 students and alumni of its participants in a series of government announcements highlighting the positive impact of athletics scholarships on their personal growth stories. and success.

On the national stage, he served as a member of the United States Olympic Committee from 2007 to 2014, is a member of the NCAA Presidential Task Force on Federal and State Legislative Affairs, and testified at congressional hearings on numerous issues related to collegiate sports. . He was a member of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee, including chairing the 2004 tournament in San Antonio and the 2005 tournament in St. Louis. He was appointed to the first NCAA Division 1 board in 2015 and served as chairman of the Football Oversight Committee, which oversees all aspects of collegiate football and reports directly to the NCAA Division 1 Board. He has also held senior positions on many other NCAA committees and task forces.

Prior to his role in the Big 12, Bowlesby spent six years as director of athletics at Stanford University, before that 15 years as a director at the University of Iowa and seven years in that role at the University of Northern Iowa.

The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics named Bowlesby Regional OD of the Year in 2001-02. The Sports Business Journal then selected him from four regional award winners as the National Director of Athletics of the Year, noting the commitment and positive contribution to the campuses and surrounding communities made by the recipients of this prestigious award.

“I have been honored to serve as a member of the Grand 12 Conference, and I am extremely proud of the incredible professionals in the conference office as well as in the extraordinary coaches and athletics departments of our member institutions that I have worked with to serve student athletes participating in our sports programs. members, ”Bowlesby said. “When my transition is complete, I will miss the daily interactions with these wonderful colleagues and student-athletes, but I will welcome the opportunity to spend more time with my wife, children and ten grandchildren. I have consistently strived to bring my professional actions to the best principles of higher education and interuniversity athletics. I am now looking forward to the next sections of my personal and professional activities, and when I do, I am very confident in the bright, very competitive and prosperous future of the Big 12 ”conference.

Please contact the inquiries of the Big 12 press to the Chairman of the Board Lawrence Schowanz at or (806) 742-2136.

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