It didn’t take long for the Big 12 to confirm what was reported earlier in the week. Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby was taking the Big 12 commissioner’s job.
Bowlsby replaces Dan Beebe* who was fired last fall following the second straight year of near-annihilation as Texas A&M and Missouri left to join the SEC. Former Big 8 commissioner Chuck Neinas had been serving on an interim basis.
Speaking at his introductory presser today, Bowlsby said he was initially skeptical of taking the job because of the conference’s stability baggage. But apparently after talking to officials from the University of Texas, the long-time AD came around.
Bowlsby added that his reconsideration isn’t to be confused with playing favorites.
“I haven’t been very good at being a puppet,” said Bowlsby. “I have found (AD Deloss Dodds and president Bill Powers) to be very thoughtful and very team-oriented in terms of how they view the issues. I asked some probing questions along those lines because the University of Texas is always going to be an 800-pound gorilla in college athletics and that isn’t going to change.”
Beebe was accused of catering to Texas when the conference began showing signs of instability. Last year, Oklahoma reportedly listed two conditions that would keep the Sooners open to staying in the Big 12: make Texas tweak some details of the Longhorn Network, and force Beebe to resign.
Bowlsby is a great hire for the Big 12, and by all accounts had a good first press conference, but pardon anyone for being a bit skeptical about promises of equality; we’re talking about some big egos here.
If Bowlsby can bring home the new TV deal the conference is working on and extend the grant of rights well beyond six years, rest assured the perception of the Big 12 will increase dramatically. Only then will Bowlsby’s promise have real merit.
(* As Mark Ennis of The Big East Coast Bias points out, Bob Bowlsby’s initials are BB. BB. Beebe. #mindblown)