TULSA, Okla. — Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby announced Tuesday that he will step away from his position later this year after leading the conference for a decade.
Bowlsby will stay in his position until a new commissioner is appointed and will then serve in an interim role under whoever takes his place.
“After more than 40 years of serving in leadership roles in intercollegiate athletics, including the last 10 with the Big 12, and given the major issues that college sports in general and the Big 12 specifically will address in the next several years, I have reached a natural transition point in my tenure as Commissioner, as well as in my career,” said Bowlsby.
“The Big 12 will soon bring in our four new members and negotiate a new grant of rights and media rights agreements. I truly believe the Big 12 and our member institutions are in a strong position now and as we look into the future. As such, this is an appropriate time for me to step away from the Commissioner’s role so that the next leader of the Conference can take the reins on these significant matters that will come to the forefront before the end of the term of my employment agreement in 2025 to set the stage for the Big 12’s future ongoing success.”
His exit from the position in power comes less than a year after conference powerhouses Oklahoma and Texas decided they would leave for the SEC. The conference later announced the future additions of BYU, Central Florida, Cincinnati, and Houston.
Bowlsby is credited with establishing the conference's media rights agreements with ESPN and FOX Sports and bringing back the Big 12 Football Championship game in 2017.
“I have been honored to serve the Big 12 Conference membership, and I am tremendously proud of the incredible professionals in the Conference office and in the extraordinary coaches and athletics departments of our member institutions with whom I have worked to serve the student-athletes who participate in our member’s sports programs,” said Bowlsby. “When my transition is complete, I will miss the daily interaction with these wonderful colleagues and with the student-athletes but will welcome the opportunity to spend more time with my wife, my children, and my ten grandchildren. I have consistently sought to align my professional actions with the best principles of higher education and intercollegiate athletics. Now, I look forward to the next chapters of my personal and professional activities and, as I do so, I am very confident in a vibrant, highly competitive, and prosperous future for the Big 12 Conference.”
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