Bob Bowlsby Named Big 12 Conference Commissioner

May 4, 2012

Courtesy of

Introductory Press Conference (

IRVING, Texas – Big 12 Conference Board of Directors Chairman Burns Hargis has announced the unanimous selection of Bob Bowlsby as Commissioner of the Big 12 Conference. Bowlsby is recognized as one of the most respected athletic administrators in the nation, having spent the last six years as director of athletics at Stanford University.

“The institutions of the Big 12 wanted a Commissioner that could take us to the next era as a conference with the addition of TCU and WVU, and we unanimously agreed Bob is that leader,” said Hargis, who is president of Oklahoma State University. “The search committee looked for a candidate that has a vision for the next generation of college athletics, and his credentials and ideas exceeded this. He understands enhancing athletic competition among conference schools, the challenge of balancing academics and athletics for our student-athletes, and working with our broadcast and bowl partners.”

In accepting the offer to become the fourth Commissioner of the Big 12, Bowlsby stated, “I am proud to have been selected to lead the Big 12 Conference as its Commissioner. The member institutions represent the best in competitive intercollegiate athletics and they occupy a prominent place in the history of sports in America. I am excited to work with a very talented and committed group of Presidents and Chancellors to advance the Conference on the national sports landscape. Additionally, the directors of athletics, senior woman’s administrators, faculty athletics representatives, coaches and conference office staff are among the very best in the country. The future is exceedingly bright and I look forward to engaging with my colleagues to achieve great things in the years ahead.”

Bowlsby will begin his duties June 15, succeeding Acting Commissioner Chuck Neinas. “All of the institutions of the Big 12 want to recognize Chuck’s great contributions as acting commissioner, helping us during a challenging time and providing a stabilizing force to lead us to today’s announcement,” said President Hargis. “We cannot thank him enough for his efforts.”

Since 2006, Bowlsby, a Waterloo, Iowa-native, has directed a Stanford University athletics department that sponsors 35 varsity sports and has claimed an unprecedented 17 consecutive Learfield Sports Directors Cups, emblematic of the top overall athletics program in the country.

Throughout his career, Bowlsby has emerged as a national leader in intercollegiate and amateur athletics. He was appointed to the United States Olympic Committee Board of Directors in 2007. In 2002, President George W. Bush chose Bowlsby to be a member of the Commission on Opportunities in Athletics.

Bowlsby has previously served as president of the NCAA Division I-A Athletics Directors’ Association, chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee, and chaired the NCAA Management Council. In addition, he has also chaired the NCAA Wrestling Committee, served on NCAA committees on Financial Aid and Amateurism, the Special Committee to Review Amateurism Issues, and the Special Committee to Review Financial Conditions in Athletics.

In 1991, Bowlsby was named athletics director at the University of Iowa, a post he held until moving to Stanford. Prior to his stint overseeing the Hawkeye athletic department he served the same role for seven years at the University of Northern Iowa.

Comment from University of Kansas Director of Athletics Sheahon Zenger
“I am especially pleased we have chosen one of the country’s most respected athletics directors to lead us. Bob Bowlsby has a solid vision and tremendous leadership qualities. This is a great day for the Big 12. There are a lot of good things happening in this conference, and he is the right person to lead us as we begin a new era of competitive and academic excellence.”

Big 12 Commissioners
1995-97 – Steve Hatchell
1998 – Dave Martin (Interim)
1998-07 – Kevin Weiberg
2007-11 – Dan Beebe
2011-12 – Chuck Neinas (Interim)